Drift Roses

Jeb Fields, Edwards, Ashley, Kirk-Ballard, Heather

Rabbiteye header.png thumbnail

Drift Roses

  • Recommended Use: Woody shrub/hedge
  • Exposure: Full sun to part sun. Eight hours of direct sunlight is recommended.
  • Size: Height: 2 to 3 feet; width: 3 to 4 feet
  • Habit: Compact, mounding, spreading
  • Bloom Time: Ever-blooming
  • Maintenance Category: Low maintenance
  • Water Use: Average to low
  • Highlights: Very reliable, low-maintenance shrub in all areas of Louisiana. Tolerates heat, humidity and drought well with long-lasting, dense, colorful blooms.

Primary Photo for Front PageJPG


Roses are the most recognizable and popular landscape shrubs in the country, with legendary flowers and aromas. Drift roses are some of the toughest and most tolerant shrub roses in Louisiana, making them the perfect addition for the busy gardener. Drift roses are low-maintenance, compact spreading landscape roses that naturally hold form and have densely packed, eye-catching blooms. Moreover, many of the varieties have a delightful fragrance that many people seek from roses. Drift roses are tough in the landscape — similar to the well-known Knock Out roses, but much more compact. Drift roses are good for border plants and look amazing in containers. Drift roses can also be used as large ground covers because of their low mounding and spreading nature. For these reasons, Drift roses were chosen as Louisiana Super Plants in 2013 and have been continuously gaining traction ever since.

Drift roses compilationpng


  • Adjust the soil pH to 6.5, the ideal soil pH for roses.
  • Requires full sun throughout the day, a minimum of six to eight hours. Morning sun is a must to help dry foliage.
  • Drift roses perform best in well-prepared landscape beds with ample drainage. Roses do not perform well in wet soils.

Growth Habit

  • Compact landscape roses that grow 2 to 3 feet tall and can spread more than 4 feet wide.
  • Space 4 to 5 feet apart to allow for long-term growth.
  • Drift roses are labeled for use in hardiness zones 4 to 11, and they thrive throughout the entire state of Louisiana.

Care and Maintenance

  • Drift roses do not need to be fertilized the first year of planting while the roses are establishing. If desired, fertilize with an all-purpose or rose-specific fertilizer after the first bloom of the year. Do not fertilize in the fall. A balanced controlled-release fertilizer in the spring with a second application in the late summer may be acceptable.
  • Drift roses do not need deadheading as they will continue to bloom throughout the warm season; however, deadheading will not hurt and may be done to keep the form or remove faded blooms.
  • Drift roses are dense bloomers, and up to five flower cycles a year have been observed in trials at the Hammond Research Station.

Drift roses are less susceptible to most disease and pest damages than most roses, with minimal Cercospora leafspot in wetter years.

Rose rosette disease has been observed in Drift roses in northern parts of the state. Rose rosette disease is spread through mites. If found, plant material should be removed and destroyed right away.

Drift roses make attractive container plants. If grown in containers, additional care may be needed to keep the shrubs “contained.”

Varieties for Louisiana Landscapes

Currently, there are nine varieties of Drift roses, including, Apricot Drift, Coral Drift, Peach Drift, Pink Drift, Popcorn Drift, Red Drift, Sweet Drift and White Drift. The blooms of the different Drift colors vary in style and appearance, giving each a unique look that is sure to impress. Moreover, Popcorn, Sweet, Apricot, Peach, and White Drift have fragrant blooms that are often desired in roses.

2/5/2020 8:49:23 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture