Proper Care of Drift Roses

Drift roses were created in response to increased consumer demand for smaller, everblooming plants. These plants fit a special niche in the shrub rose market. While Drift roses are not “everblooming,” they sure do produce an abundance of flowers during their blooming cycles from early April through November. They’re from Conard-Pyle/Star Roses, the same folks that gave us the Knock Out roses.

Drift roses are a cross between full-size ground cover roses and miniatures. From the former they kept toughness, disease resistance and winter hardiness. From the miniatures, they inherited their well-managed size and repeat-blooming nature. The low, spreading habit of Drift roses makes them perfect for small gardens and combination planters.

Planting and Caring for Drift Roses

Drift roses can be planted at any time of the year. Choose a sunny location; these roses love sunlight so do best planted where they will get 6 – 8 hours of sunlight a day. The more sun, the more flowers. Choose well-drained soil enriched with organic matter and maintain a 1 – 3-inch layer of mulch. The ideal soil pH for roses is between 6 – 6.5. To keep your rose bushes full & vibrant all season long, prune them between late winter and early spring before new growth begins. You will want to take off roughly one-third to a one-half of the plant. Fertilize your drift roses in the spring with a slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer. Adding an additional application in late summer will encourage prolific fall blooms.


When pruning, do so in early spring, never in the fall or winter. Check your rose bush from time to time as spring moves along and when you start to see new shoots growing from the canes which is a good sign that it is time to prune. Your rose bush will usually triple in size after pruning therefore it is recommended to cut it back by about 2/3. When a flush of rose blooms start to lose their luster, you may find yourself wanting to trim out these less than attractive, spent blooms. Although it isn’t necessary since Drift® Roses are self-cleaning (they do all the work for you!). Deadheading is an easy task and can be done whenever you feel like tidying up.

When to Plant

Spring is a good time to plant these hardy, attractive, and versatile Drift® Roses. You can generally plant them in the spring, summer or fall. Planting in summer is always more stressful on plants as temperatures are typically hotter and conditions are drier. If you choose to plant in summer, be sure to water thoroughly and consistently to help your plant get established.

If you are going to plant these special roses in nice decorative containers on your deck or patio, We suggest planting into a container 2 sizes larger than the pot the plant is currently in to give it room to grow. Also be sure to keep them well watered as containers dry out much faster than in ground plantings.

The drift rose is an easy-care shrub that only grows to about 2 feet tall. They are compact plants that fit into any landscape. You will get color nearly year round. They are available in many color ranges from red to coral, pink to peach and more. A great fit for any style landscaping, a drift rose can provide a classy look.

Commercial or residential, Taylor Anthony is prepared to help you manage your landscape by providing the right solution for your situation, call us today at (904) 230-3386.