Earth-Kind roses are low-maintenance options

Richard Bogren, Huffstickler, Kyle, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.

President Theodore Roosevelt's favorite rose, Duchesse de Brabant, was awarded the Earth-Kind designation in 2007. The rose was first introduced in 1857. (Photo courtesy of Mike Shoup/Antique Rose Emporium.)

News Release Distributed 02/25/11

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

Growing roses in Louisiana is a challenge for landscape professionals and home gardeners alike. A major problem in rose production and landscape performance is disease (blackspot and powdery mildew, primarily) brought on by environmental conditions of our region. Heat and humidity have an adverse affect on many rose varieties we grow in Louisiana.

The growing popularity of landscape shrub roses has stimulated new interest in roses over the past few years. Traditionally, modern roses – such as hybrid tea, floribunda and grandiflora varieties – have dominated the market. Landscape shrub roses in the modern-rose category were a small percentage of the modern rose market in the 1990s, but that has totally reversed. This trend has been driven, in large degree, by the tremendous success and popularity of the Knock Out rose varieties.

One of the major rose evaluation projects under way at the LSU AgCenter is participating in evaluation of Earth-Kind roses and varieties that are candidates for this program.

The Earth-Kind project was initiated about 15 years ago by Texas A&M University. One of the initial goals was to locate the best “yellow rose of Texas.” But now it includes the goal of testing and recommending roses for low-maintenance landscapes. This includes the evaluation of numerous rose varieties, particularly those classified as shrub roses.

Characteristics considered in these evaluations are low irrigation requirements, minimum pruning requirements, desirable flowering characteristics, minimum insect susceptibility and resistance or low susceptibility to blackspot and other devastating rose diseases.

There were eleven original Earth-Kind rose varieties: Belinda’s Dream, Caldwell Pink, Carefree Beauty (also called Katy Road Pink), Climbing Pinkie, Else Poulsen, Knock Out, Marie Daly, Mutabilis, Perle d’Or, Sea Foam and The Fairy. In the initial evaluation process conducted in Texas, these were the best-performing. In 2006, Spice and Duchesse de Brabant were added, and in 2007, Ducher and Georgetown Tea joined the list.

Two new Earth-Kind roses continue to be added to the list each year. More recent Earth-Kind rose varieties are Madame Antoine Mari and New Dawn in 2008 and La Marne and Souvenir de St. Anne’s in 2009. The 2010 Earth-Kind roses are Cecile Brunner and Reve d’Or, and Mrs. Dudley Cross and Monsieur Tillier were Earth-Kind roses for 2011. This brings the total number of Earth-Kind roses to 23.

A new Earth-Kind rose planting is underway at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station. The AgCenter is an official university partner with Texas A&M University in the Earth-Kind rose program.

These rose varieties may have limited availability in Louisiana, but some can be found at independent retail garden centers around the state. If you find them, you should have great success with these plants.

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 and

Rick Bogren

2/25/2011 8:58:22 PM
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