Anybody who’s tried to grow roses knows they can be frustrating, plagued by everything from once-a-season blossoms and black spot to beetles, mites, yellowing leaves, and more.
Unless you’re a purist who’s determined to keep up the fight, the answer is repeat-blooming, or recurrent, roses. So, here are some tips on which species to choose and how to keep them colorful and healthy.
Among some of the best species you can find at well-stocked nurseries and garden centers are rugosa, The Fairy, flower carpet, and tree roses, as well as the Knock-Out family of roses. They’re winter-hardy, mostly disease-free, and will cause you very little trouble as long as they get several hours of full sun per day.
These beauties produce hundreds of buds from late May until the first frost sets in. While you’ll see some of these species thriving in sandy soil by roadsides, it’s best to use well-worked, organic-rich soil mixed with composting material and aged cow or horse manure. Generally, repeat-bloomers will live up to their name without much help. But, if the gardener provides a little assistance in the form of pruning and dead-heading roses after they’re spent, it will induce quicker growth.
Each species has its own strengths: Rugosa roses, for instance, are an upright-growing, vigorous shrub mostly known for their canes, or stems, which are tightly packed with hundreds of thorns.
The Fairy rose is an old-fashioned shrub rose dating to 1932. Reaching three-to-four feet in height, it looks best when lining walkways or driveways.
Flower carpet roses are low-growing hybrids that serve well as ground cover. They come in deep red, pink, white, and yellow, and the canes of the carpet rose are strong and thorny with dark green, shiny leaves.
The Knock-Out family of roses are among the strongest, healthiest, most prolific roses around. A hybrid shrub with pale pink, yellow, or deep red open blooms, they fill out nicely after the first year of planting.
Tree roses (or rose standards) are hybridized and come in many colors. They are strong bloomers and have become very popular with owners of town houses, where container gardening can work in a limited space. It’s important that tree roses are exposed to full sun and are planted in extra-large containers with organic-rich soil and good drainage, as constantly soaked roots attract diseases.