The Drift Rose

By Richard Flowers, ACCNP Green Thumb Nursery- Ventura

A plant for multiple uses and a problem solver:  The Drift ® Rose

Do you want a plant that can be used as a ground cover for erosion control on a slope?  What about something that can be integrated with almost any type of planting and look awesome in your garden? How about a plant that doesn’t get diseases, is not fussy or messy? Did you know that there is a plant that doesn’t get too tall, blooms almost continuously from spring to first frost, and is super easy to grow?  I want to introduce to you the Drift® Rose.

This Rose is not like all your other roses, because it is less problematic with diseases like powdery mildew, rust, and black spot, meaning it does not need to be sprayed with harsh fungicides. Drift® Roses come in a multitude of different colors from peach, red, white, coral, and so forth and gives you lasting color in your landscape for an extended period of time.

These incredible roses always look good most of the year and blend well with just about any plant in your garden. You can grow them in containers, have them billow over a wall, place them along walkways, under trees, situate them between other plants as fillers, or grow them signally as a mass planting. They look splendid with ornamental grasses, Rosemary, Sages, and Lavender.

Try mixing them with other shrubs creating a layered look by placing them in front of tall screening plants and behind small border plants. They work well around pools, mail boxes or just as a natural planting among perennials.  The possibilities are endless, just be creative.  Another awesome benefit is that these amazing plants are heat and drought tolerant and can take freezing temperatures once established.

The Drift® Rose is a hybrid between a miniature rose and a shrub rose called Knock Out. The Knock Out Rose gets 6-7 feet tall and the miniature rose gets 1-2 feet tall. Now comes the Drift® Rose, which only gets 3-4 feet tall and wide and was bred to stay at a manageable size, grow superior, and bloom abundantly.  They have glossy, very dark green, disease-resistant foliage with large doubled flowers. These easy to grow plants are described as having very bushy, compact, and rounded form making them a perfect candidate to mix in with other plants harmoniously. These repeat-blooming roses will bloom every 5-6 weeks or so. They brighten up borders, fill in empty spaces, and meander around established plants.

To thrive, Drift® Roses likes all day sun. When pruning, do so in early spring, never in the fall or winter. Check your rose bush from time to time as spring moves along and when you start to see new shoots growing from the canes which is a good sign that it is time to prune. Your rose bush will usually triple in size after pruning therefore it is recommended to cut it back by about 2/3. When a flush of rose blooms start to lose their luster, you may find yourself wanting to trim out these less than attractive, spent blooms. Although it isn’t necessary since Drift® Roses are self-cleaning (they do all the work for you!). Deadheading is an easy task and can be done whenever you feel like tidying up. When deadheading, look for the blooms that have turned brown and crunchy and cut off the ugly flowers just above a five-leaflet set. These roses will perform beautifully even without fertilizing! However, if you choose to give them an additional boost, it’s very important not to fertilize new plants until after the are established and go through one bloom cycle. Use a balanced fertilizer or fertilizer formulated for roses. I prefer to use Grow Power Plus and apply after the first wave of flowering making sure the soil is moist before you fertilize to avoid burning the roots. Do not fertilize late in the summer as this is the time the rose should be preparing themselves for dormancy and you do not want to create unnecessary new growth that will likely die back from the first hard frost.

Now is a good time to plant these hardy, attractive, and versatile Drift® Roses. You can plant them in the spring, summer or fall. Planting in summer is always more stressful on plants as temperatures are typically hotter and conditions are drier. If you choose to plant in summer, be sure to water thoroughly and consistently to help your plant get established.

If you are going to plant these special roses in nice decorative containers on your deck or patio, I suggest planting into a container 2 sizes larger than the pot the plant is currently in to give it room to grow. Also be sure to keep them well watered as containers dry out much faster than in ground plantings.

I encourage you to check out these marvelous and easy care Drift® Roses as well as other fantastic plants at your favorite Green Thumb Nursery.

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