Roses At Spring Peak In Louisiana

Allen D. Owings, Merrill, Thomas A., Claesgens, Mark A.  |  5/17/2005 1:44:04 AM

Gardens and landscapes across the state are flush with the springtime peak of blooming roses like this one spotted recently at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center in Baton Rouge.

News Release Distributed 05/16/05

Roses provide spectacular displays in home landscapes across Louisiana this time of year, according to LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Allen Owings, who says there’s no exception to that rule now.

Many modern rose types appear in gardens today, such as hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, shrubs, miniatures and ground covers. Owings says gardeners also are becoming more interested in the older garden and antique roses – because of their less demanding maintenance requirements.

The LSU AgCenter horticulturist says spring normally is the best blooming period for roses in Louisiana.

"Depending on weather conditions and when plants were pruned in February, many rose varieties show flower color 40-45 days after pruning, with peak blooming about seven to eight weeks after pruning," Owings says, adding, however, "Some flowering also will continue through the late spring and summer."

Owings explains roses have a tendency to "cycle" in and out of flowering, so removing old flowers will bring roses back into flower faster.

Such regular maintenance during the summer blooming period also lessens the amount and degree of pruning that should be done in August, he says. An August pruning will be about one-third to one-half the degree of a late-winter pruning and will produce a nice fall bloom in October, according to the expert.

"Also keep in mind to control blackspot disease with a regular application of a fungicide spray during the rose growing season," Owings says, noting that some varieties are much more susceptible to blackspot than others.

"Insects and spider mites also can be troublesome on roses, so scout your roses every seven to 10 days for these problems and control as needed," the LSU AgCenter horticulturist advises, adding, "Continue fertilizing through the growing season, and keep the plants mulched with a good layer of pine straw or similar material."

The LSU AgCenter is actively involved in rose research. Projects being conducted at its ornamental and turfgrass research facility at Burden Center in Baton Rouge include a cooperative study with Texas A&M University on Earth Kind roses.

Earth Kind roses are those varieties, primarily consisting of old garden types, which are being recommended by Texas A&M University for landscapes because of their low maintenance requirements and reduced susceptibility to powdery mildew and black spot.

Some varieties included in this effort are Spice, New Dawn, Louis Philippe, Nacogdoches, Puerto Rico, Georgetown Tea, Mrs. Dudley Cross, Reve d'Or, Ducher, Marie Pavie, Carefree Beauty, Belinda's Dream, Mrs. B. R. Cant, Bon Silene, Maggie, Mutabilis, Isabella Sprunt, The Fairy, Pinkie, Perle d'Or, Cecile Brunner, Caldwell Pink, Kirsten Poulsen and several others.

Another study in cooperation with Jackson and Perkins rose retailers is comparing roses grown on Dr. Huey rootstock with roses grown on their own roots. Some rose growers now are marketing "own root" rose bushes instead of "budded" or "grafted" bushes because of the possible positive effects this growing method will have on landscape performance.

Looking for new rose varieties? Every year All-America Rose Selections (AARS) has new winning plants. The 2005 winners are DayDream (shrub, fuschia pink), ELLE (hybrid tea, shell pink), About Face (grandiflora, yellow/orange-red bicolor) and Lady Elsie May (shrub, coral pink).

Another extremely popular rose right now is Knock Out. This variety is a modern landscape shrub rose that has tremendous resistance to blackspot. Experts say it requires minimum care and produces cherry-red flowers continuously from April through the first killing frost. New colors also are available – Knock Out Blush and Knock Out Pink - both introduced at garden centers this spring and still available in limited numbers.

You can view roses in Louisiana at AARS display gardens located at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center in Baton Rouge, the Botanical Garden at City Park in New Orleans and at the American Rose Center in Shreveport. Other rose gardens around the state also are open to the public. An excellent site is the rose garden at Independence Park in Baton Rouge maintained by the Baton Rouge Rose Society.

For more information on roses, landscaping and related topics, click on the lawn and garden link at the LSU AgCenter home page:


Allen D. Owings (225) 578-2222 or
Mark Claesgens (225) 578-2939 or
Tom Merrill at (225) 578-5896 or

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