Drift roses are great for clustering around trees,
shrubs or, in this case, palms.
you drive down our entryway to the Andrews Visitor and
Education Center both sides of the drive are lined with
large sweeps or drifts, if you will, of hot coral
colored roses. It seems every time I look at them they
are blooming which can’t possibly be true.
roses I am referring to are Coral Drift roses. If you
have love Knock Out roses I promise you will relish the
opportunity to grow Drift roses. In fact, they come from
Conard-Pyle/Star Roses, the same folks that brought us
the Knock Out roses.
Drift roses come in a variety of colors, Red Drift, Pink
Drift (double pink), Apricot Drift, Coral Drift, Peach
Drift, White Drift, and Popcorn Drift which is a
white/yellow blend. In addition to our entry drive, we
use Drift roses in a more formal rose garden where they
are combined with Knock Outs and a couple of
floribundas, the yellow Julia Childs, and the
Drift rose was chosen as a Louisiana Super Plant,
generating about five bloom cycles during the trial,
according to LSU horticulturist Allen Owings. These
bloom cycles started in April and concluded in October.
Here in Savannah our entryway was in full bloom the
first week of March and now face a little challenge of a
couple of hours below freezing. Regardless, the Drift
roses will rebound with next week’s warm weather
will love the low growing spreading habit of Drift
roses. They typically reach 2 to 3 feet tall with a
spread of 3 to 4 feet. They produce their flowers in
dazzling clusters with each blossom about the diameter
of a tennis ball, some slightly smaller. You will
treasure the fact that these are among the most disease
resistant roses for the landscape or mixed containers.
need six to eight hours of direct sun each day. Morning
sun is essential, but a little afternoon shade is
tolerated. Good air movement helps the dew and rain dry
quickly, further enhancing the inherent disease
resistance so space 4 to 5 feet apart. Before you plant
your roses, get the beds prepared by incorporating three
to four inches of organic matter and tilling to a depth
of 8 to 10 inches. The ideal soil pH for roses is
between 6.0-6.5. Planting on raised beds further
maximizes good drainage. By all means, finish your bed
or planting with a good layer of mulch.
roses with a slow release or controlled release
fertilizer according to formula recommendation. Apply at
the start of spring growth and again in mid-summer.
Prune your Drift roses in late winter to early spring
just before new growth resumes. Typically the roses will
triple in size after pruning so plan on cutting back by
the landscape, your options seem to be endless. We are
clustering them around palms, in front of evergreen
shrubs like viburnums, and in combination with grasses
like bamboo muhly. Be bold, plant enough to make a
landscape impact using them with your favorite
perennials and a few splashes of annuals. The Drift
roses put a whole lot of fun into your spring gardening.