Gardening with Allen

Disease Resistant Roses

I love roses but have just about given up growing them because I don’t have time to spray them regularly for diseases. Are there roses available which are disease resistant and bloom all summer?

There are a number of recent varieties of shrub roses which are very disease resistant and continue to bloom throughout the summer. These varieties are often referred to as landscape roses because they are planted for their landscape beauty and not for cut flower use. Flowers are not as double as cut flower roses and flower stems are shorter.

Their biggest advantage is their disease resistance which means that the leaves stay green and healthy without frequent spraying. Plants are available now in containers for summer planting. They vary in size ranging from 2 to 4 feet in height and width.

The Flower Carpet roses were developed in Australia. They are available in a full range of colors. Three of them received awards from All-America Rose Selections. Although referred to as ground cover roses, most of them will reach 2 to 3 feet in height by late summer.

Knockout and Easy Elegance are two series of roses developed in the U. S. that have become popular in recent years. Plants grow to 3 to 4 feet in height and width. Flowers are more double and have longer stems than Flower Carpet varieties which makes them more suitable for cut flowers. Both series have become widely used in group and mass plantings.

Landscape roses have deeper root systems and need less frequent irrigation than annual and perennial flowers. Established plants can go three to four weeks between irrigations during summer dry weather. They bloom continuously all summer. Typically they bloom in flushes with a smaller number of flowers between flushes. Although they are more attractive if dead flowers are removed, they are very attractive without any dead heading.

These landscape or shrub roses are well adapted to the Pacific Northwest. I have two plants that I planted 3 years ago. I prune them back by about half in the winter and usually have to prune again in the summer to keep them within 4 feet diameter. I have not dead-headed them or sprayed them for insects or diseases.

 

Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture. Additional gardening information is available on his web site: naturalpruningnw.com under "how to guide". A monthly email garden newsletter can also be signed up for on this site or by sending a request to allenw98663@yahoo.com.

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