Many gardeners love roses but don’t want the fuss of taking care of them. Hybrid tea and floribunda roses, in particular, require regular fertilizing, pest control, and winter protection in cold areas. The solution is to grow landscape or shrub roses. This relatively new class of roses features plants bred to be hardy and tough, and to grow like shrubs in the landscape. They flower all summer in a multitude of colors and can be used as hedges, foundation plants, or anchors in a perennial flower border.
Some of these landscape roses have been around for a number of years, while new groups are being bred almost yearly. They all grow best in full sun. Fertilize in spring with compost, and prune to remove dead or diseased branches and stems, and to keep the plant’s shape. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular landscape roses:
- Meidiland Series: This group of French-bred roses are tough. I’ve grown Bonica (a pink-flowering type) for years with little care and dieback in my Zone 5 garden. Look for white and red versions as well.
- Carefree Series: This series is well-known for the popular Carefree Wonder (double pink). It grows 3 feet tall and wide. Carefree Beauty is an older selection that grows up to 5 feet tall and wide. Carefree Delight has pink flowers and is a low-growing, groundcover rose. Carefree Sunshine grows 4 feet tall and wide with single, pale yellow flowers.
- Knock Out Series: This group has been around for a few years now. The original Knock Out rose features semidouble, red flowers on disease-resistant, heat-tolerant, hardy plants. Now there are double-flowered red versions as well as pink, white, and yellow ones.
- Drift Series: This new series features roses that are a cross between a full-size groundcover rose and a miniature rose. From the groundcover roses, they get toughness, disease resistance, and winter hardiness. From the miniatures, they inherit a well-managed size and repeat-blooming habit. This group is great for growing in small spaces and planters.