Although they may have had a reputation for high maintenance in the past, roses have experienced a renaissance, of sorts. Modern varieties have attractive qualities for modern and busy gardeners, such as hardiness in cooler climates, drought resistance, self-cleaning (which means no dead head is required!), and greater resistance to ailment. Selecting low-maintenance roses for an established or new perennial garden, or even for a hedge, will add vibrant color and interest to the chosen space-hassle-free.
To show you great examples and tips for selecting low-maintenance roses, we have partnered with the Knock Out ® rose family. These flowering and easy-care shrub roses come in quite amazing hues ranging from white, yellow and peach to a spectrum of pink. (I have to give Rainbow a little cry, with its coral pink petals and yellow center.)
What to look for when selecting low-maintenance roses
Keep an eye on the following traits when selecting which roses-or any perennial, for that matter-to add to a low-maintenance garden. Some of the features will be listed on the plant label, while others may require a small search before the shopping trip or a quick search when you’re at the garden center.
Selection of low-maintenance roses for ailment resistance
Ailment resistance is a major factor when selecting a rose bush to plant, as it allows you to garden organically, without the need for chemicals to cope with the ailment. It also saves you from having to spend time trimming ailmentd foliage. Part of what made the original Knock Out ® rose so buzzworthy was its resistance to black spot, a common fungal condition in roses.
Healthy, ailment-free roses have also improved pest resistance, as they are healthy and vigorous, and less welcoming to leaf-munching insects.
Choosing low maintenance roses with hardiness
Green thumbs living in areas of low hardiness can get excited about the ability of modern rose varieties to withstand harsh winters. For example, Knock Out ® roses have robust varieties up to zones 4 and 5 (and up to zone 11). If you live in a particularly harsh winter climate, your roses will get a little winter protection. Add about two to three inches of mulch, leaves, and pine or fir branches around the base of the plant. Be sure to remove any excessive mulch in the spring.
Conversely, these modern varieties of roses are also heat-resistant, which leads to the following attribute.
Selection of low maintenance roses with drought tolerance
Since weather conditions are inconsistent from year to year, when choosing roses and perennials, it makes sense to plant drought-resistant varieties that will be able to withstand long periods without rain. Low-maintenance varieties of roses are drought tolerant after establishing themselves in the garden. Add a layer of shredded hardwood mulch around your plants (avoid stacking it too close to the base of the plant to prevent rot), which will help keep the soil cooler and retain moisture.
Low-maintenance roses have a long flowering period
Another advantage and bonus of low-maintenance roses, such as Knock Out ® roses (which will bloom again every five to six weeks), is their long flowering period. These roses are not minted wonders that bloom in June, and then call it a season—they will bloom from the beginning of spring until the first frost. This is an excellent attribute to consider when planting for a long season of interest. And when choosing the color of your roses, also look at what the shade of the foliage is! Leaf shades can range from moss green to purplish green to almost black, which is also nice to consider when choosing the color for the garden.
Look for self-cleaning, low-maintenance roses
Of course, any perennial will be better if you give it a little refreshment, here and there, but these modern, easy-care rose varieties are self-cleaning, which means that once the flowers wither and die, they will naturally fall off the plants. In addition, they will continue to bloom throughout the season. This means that you may just want to collect the spent petals at the base of the plant to keep the garden neat. If you have time to deadhead, this will make the plant sharper. Simply cut the flower at its base.
Low maintenance rose planting
Roses can be planted in spring or autumn and prefer neutral soil. When planting, make sure that the place you have chosen matches the light requirements that you will find on the plant label. Roses need at least six to eight hours of sun a day to thrive. Dig your hole twice as wide as the container and water before planting. When you take the rose out of its plastic pot, loosen the lower roots a little with your hands. The room was very clean and comfortable. Backfill the hole with the soil you dug mixed with compost. Water around the base and add a layer of mulch around the plant to keep weeds down and improve drought tolerance.
Fertilize low-maintenance roses
The selection of low-maintenance roses does not mean that you can completely neglect your plants. Be sure to fertilize once the plant is established and has gone through a flowering cycle. Look for a rose-specific fertilizer (or a balanced formula) and follow the instructions on the label to find out how much to use. Apply the fertilizer on damp soil after this first wave of flowers. Avoid fertilizing after in the summer because this is when your rose bush begins to prepare for dormancy and you do not want to promote new growth.
Caring for low-maintenance roses
Water your rose bush at the base of the plant, as needed. It will benefit from a deep drink, rather than sporadic sprinkles.
Proper pruning, using sharp secateurs, in the spring after the passage of any threat of frost, will stimulate new growth. Cut the plant to about 12 inches. This maintenance should grow your rose to about three to four feet tall by the end of the season.
Roses had fallen out of favor due to their heavy dependence on chemicals and general agitation. William Radler, was at the forefront of low maintenance rose breeding, when he created the original Knock Out ® rose, which was released to the public in 2000. These types of roses now influence the rose garden collections that you will find in botanical gardens. My local garden, the Royal Botanical Garden, has ripped out its rose garden to replace traditional species with modern low-maintenance varieties, alongside plants from other families, which will not require chemical intervention. The same type of revision was also recently done at the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden of the New York Botanical Garden after the introduction of a no-spraying policy.
We love the abundance of flowers and the fact that we can add low-maintenance roses to our gardens and let them show off their attributes without having to be a parent of the helicopter plant.