(News article for December 11, 2021; edited)
Among low-maintenance roses, many people are familiar with the Knock Out name. Since the original cherry red-flowered plant came on the market, there are now ten more varieties in the Knock Out series of shrub roses.
Another group of low-maintenance roses is the Drift series. Drift roses are groundcover roses. Like Knock Out roses, they bloom over a long period (between April and November), but they remain smaller than Knock Out roses do. Roses in the Drift series were named Louisiana Super Plants in 2013.
Plants are evaluated for the Super Plant program without spraying for diseases or insects, so ones that achieve Super Plant status can be expected to be relatively low-maintenance in these respects. While many roses get the fungal disease black spot when grown in our hot, humid climate, Drift roses experience little trouble with this. Some are occasionally affected Cercospora leaf spot or powdery mildew.
Roses in the drift series include Apricot Drift, Coral Drift, Peach Drift, Pink Drift, Popcorn Drift, Red Drift, Sweet Drift, and White Drift. (One, Lemon Drift, is not recommended here.) Flowers of Apricot, Peach, Popcorn, White, and Sweet Drift roses are fragrant.
It’s often the case that plants grow larger than plant tags suggest that they will, when they’re grown here in Louisiana. Drift roses can grow to approximately 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 (or more) feet wide. It’s suggested that they be planted 4 to 5 feet apart in the landscape, so that they’ll have enough room in the long-term.
Because of their low-growing habit, Drift roses are good options for large container gardens, as well.
If they’re given adequate space, pruning is typically not needed. They continue blooming even if they aren’t deadheaded.
Roses should be planted in full sun (8 or more hours per day) for maximum flower production, and they need good drainage. Soil pH should be around pH 6 to 6.5. Spread mulch in the landscape bed to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.
Let me know if you have questions.
Contact Mary Helen Ferguson.
Coral Drift rose. (Photo by A.R. Edwards)
Peach Drift rose. (Photo by A.R. Edwards)
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture