Floribundas offer lower-maintenance rose option

Richard Bogren, Huffstickler, Kyle, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.  |  1/21/2011 9:27:31 PM

News Release Distributed 01/21/11

By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists
Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings

Landscape shrubs roses like the popular Knock Out varieties are all the rage in the rose world right now, but we have a number of other great landscape shrub roses that can be considered. The LSU AgCenter evaluates roses at the Hammond Research Station in Hammond and at Burden Center in Baton Rouge. We also have rose plantings at Louisiana House in Baton Rouge.

Some of the recent All-America Rose Selection (AARS) winners are good performers for us in Louisiana. While most roses now sold fall into the landscape shrub category, we have some nice floribunda roses available that have been released in the last five to 10 years that merit increased use.

2010 saw only one AARS winner – Easy Does It. This variety is a floribunda from Weeks Roses. The flower color is a mango, peach and apricot blend. Petal count is 25-30. Easy Does It performed very well in the AARS display garden at Burden Center in 2009. In addition, it was named a People’s Choice award winner at the LSU AgCenter’s landscape horticulture field day held at the Hammond Research Station in 2009.

A new floribunda for 2011 and an AARS winner for this year is Walking on Sunshine. Tight clusters of bright yellow buds burst open with an anise aroma. This plant’s super-glossy, disease-resistant foliage contrasts beautifully with the cheery, eye-catching flowers. Walking on Sunshine is easy to care for and great for beginners. It’s a floribunda with fantastic bloom production and great vigor. Walking on Sunshine was hybridized by Keith Zary of Jackson and Perkins Wholesale.

In addition to the two floribunda roses that are AARS plants for 2010 and 2011, some of the other newer, good floribunda roses are Cinco de Mayo, Julia Child, Easy Going, Hot Cocoa, Livin’ Easy and Moondance.

Cinco de Mayo has lavender flowers with a hint of rusty red-orange. Plants are maintained at a height of 3 feet. Uniqueness of bloom color is what sets Cinco de Mayo apart from other roses. The variety has some blackspot susceptibility when over-irrigated or when rainfall exceeds normal amounts.

Julia Child has obtained good popularity the past few years. It’s another floribunda rose that’s very accepted by nursery professionals. The plant has a medium-size growth habit. Flowers are buttery gold, have 35 petals and are fragrant. Julia Child is a former AARS winner and performs well in Louisiana.

Easy Going was introduced in 1996 and is sold at garden centers in Louisiana. In the past, it has done well in the AARS display garden at Burden Center in Baton Rouge. It has a yellow bloom with a little bit of golden bronze. Flowers sit tightly on top of the foliage.

A chocolate-orange-to-dark red-flowering floribunda is Hot Cocoa. It is an AARS winner from 2003. Flowers have a deep rusty orange reverse. Good bloom size is also characteristic of this rose variety.

Livin’ Easy is an older floribunda rose. It was released as an AARS winner in 1996 and has ruffled, apricot-orange flowers with 22-28 petals. The flowers have a fruity fragrance.

Moondance is a Jackson and Perkins floribunda rose of the year. It has sweet, raspberry-scented, creamy white flowers. It has received good “roses in review” ratings from Gulf District members of the American Rose Society. A taller-growing rose, this variety reaches 5 feet tall in the landscape. It is a much more beautiful rose than its parent, the popular, white floribunda Iceberg.

Some floribunda roses generally are lower-maintenance plants when compared with hybrid tea and grandiflora roses. They may take a little more care than landscape shrub roses, however. They also can be grown under low irrigation and need less pruning and fertilization. Typically, shrub and floribunda roses also have reduced susceptibility to blackspot disease.

Roses need good bed preparation, full sun and a soil pH of 6.5. Give some of these a try.

Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse and www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.

Rick Bogren

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