By Susan Albert
Navigating the world of roses in the South Central region can be daunting, but it’s really just a matter of how much care you want to give them. Not much? Then go with trouble-free shrub varieties such as the Knock Out series or Easy Elegance collection. With season-long beauty in a compact size, you can’t go wrong.
Later you may want to experiment with hybrid tea roses—the large, romantic, florist-type roses—which typically require regular fungal sprays to prevent disease.
Shrub roses, such as floribundas, grandifloras and polyanthas, are vigorous growers, with plentiful flowers borne in clusters. Generally they’re low maintenance.
Tree roses are bush varieties budded onto tall understocks. Often they are semihardy, requiring winter protection.
There are several types of climbing roses. Some bloom all summer; others only in spring and fall. They are useful for training on trellises, fences, or arbors. Avoid hybrid tea climbing roses if you’re looking for low maintenance.
The Drift groundcover roses are low-growing, spreading roses that come in a variety of colors and are virtually maintenance free. They bloom continuously all summer in coral, peach, apricot, red, and popcorn.
Commonly roses require full sun and well-drained soil. Start fertilizing in spring, using a complete fertilizer, or one specifically for roses, and continue till late summer. Water when the soil becomes dry using a soaker hose or drip hose. In spring, before new growth starts prune roses by removing dead or diseased wood first, then shape with light to moderate pruning. You can cut back Knock Outs to 2 ft from the ground; hybrid teas from 6–24 in.
Disease-Resistant Roses to Try
- Carefree Wonder shrub rose — Pink with reverse white, hardy, 4 ft tall and wide, fragrant
- Yellow Submarine Easy Elegance shrub rose — Yellow aging to white, 3 ft tall and wide, hardy
- Double Knock Out shrub rose — Red double blooms, 4 ft tall and wide, hardy
- Rainbow Knock Out shrub rose — Coral-pink single bloom with yellow center, 4 ft tall and wide, hardy
- Sunny Knock Out shrub rose — Yellow, 4 ft tall and wide, hardy, fragrant
- Coral Drift groundcover rose — Coral orange, 2 1/2 ft wide by 1 ft tall, hardy
- Belinda’s Dream shrub rose — Very pink double blooms, hardy, 5 ft tall and wide, fragrant, bred in Texas to withstand heat
- ‘Marie Daly’ shrub rose — Pink double blooms, 3 ft tall and wide, hardy, fragrant
Take a chance and try an easy-care rosebush this season!