How to take care of drift roses

Drift roses are beautiful flowers that are often used in bouquets and centrepieces. They are easy to care for, but you will need to learn how to take care of drift roses if you want them around for a long time. Drift roses have many different colours, so it’s important to know which ones do well in your particular area.

Drift roses were developed to meet growing customer demand for smaller, more perpetual blossoming plants. These shrub roses fill a unique place in the market. While Drift roses aren’t “everblooming,” they do produce an extraordinary number of blooms during their flowering cycles, which extend from early April through November. They’re made by Conard-P

Drift roses are a hybrid between full-size ground cover roses and miniatures. They inherited their well-controlled size and repeat-blooming nature from the miniatures, as well as their robustness, disease resistance, and winter hardiness. They also retained their treelike toughness, disease resistance, and hardiness from the former.

This article provides tips on how to take care of drift roses:

drift roses snippet image

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Table of Contents

Drift Rose Planting and Maintenance

Drift roses may be grown at any time of the year. Choose a sunny location for these roses; they enjoy sunlight and perform best in locations with 6 – 8 hours of sunshine each day. Flowers grow better in direct sun. Mulch should be maintained at a 1 -3 inch layer to keep weeds from growing underneath the soil and causing rot.

Roses need a soil pH of 6 – 6.5 to thrive. Prune your rose bushes at the end of winter and early spring before new growth begins to keep them full and colourful all season long. Remove around one-third to one-half of the plant. In the spring, fertilize your drift roses with a slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer instead of applying it once in late summer. Fertilizing your drift roses in late summer with an extra dose will encourage abundant fall blooms.

rose blooms start

Pruning drift roses

Pruning these types of roses is different from pruning other types of roses. For drift roses, you will want to cut them back to a main stem or cane that is about knee-high. You should also remove any dead wood and weak growth.


Water your drift roses regularly, but do not over water them as this can cause root rot. Watering once a week is usually sufficient, but more may be needed during periods of drought. If the leaves on your rose bush start to turn yellow, it means you are watering too much and need to reduce the amount of water you are giving your plants.


Weeds can compete with drift roses for nutrients and moisture in the soil, so it’s important to keep an eye on them and remove them when necessary.


When the lustre of rose flowers begins to fade, you may feel compelled to remove these less-than-gorgeous, spent blooms. Although this isn’t necessary since Drift Roses are self-cleaning (they do all the work for you!). Deadheading is a simple procedure that can be done at any time.

We wrote a great article on the best time to prune roses in the UK.

rose blooms

When to Plant

Drift Roses are an excellent choice for spring planting. They can generally be planted in the spring, summer, or autumn. Planting in the summer is more challenging on these roses since temperatures are usually higher and conditions are drier. If you want to plant in the summer, make sure you water your plant thoroughly and often to assist in its growth.

If you’re going to put these unusual roses in beautiful ornamental pots on your deck or patio, we recommend planting them into a container two sizes larger than the original pot to allow room for growth. Also, make sure they are watered consistently since containers dry up much quicker than ground plants.

A small-sized, easy-care shrub, the drift rose only grows to a height of about 2 feet. They are compact plants that blend in with any garden. Colour may be found nearly all year round. They come in a variety of colours, ranging from red to coral, pink to peach and more. Drift roses are ideal for any style landscape because they offer a classic look.

Related Questions

How tall do drift Roses get?

Drift roses can grow up to about two feet tall.

Can I fertilize my drift Roses in the fall?

If you want your drift roses to have an abundance of blooms next fall, go ahead and fertilize them with a slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer in late summer. This will give them the nutrients they need right when they start their bloom cycle.

How often should I water my drift Roses?

Watering once per week is usually sufficient for drift, but more may be needed during periods of drought. If the leaves on your rose bush start to turn yellow, it means you are watering too much and need to reduce the amount of water you are giving your plants.

Do drift Roses require deadheading?

No, drift roses do not require deadheading; however, if you choose to do so, it can be done at any time. Deadheading is simply removing the spent blooms from a plant.

dead heading drift roses

Do drift roses have thorns?

Drift roses are typically less than 2 feet tall, with a 4-foot spread. Drift roses are an easy-care option for floral beds since they have a modest growth habit, colourful blooms and a long blossoming season. Drift rose varieties come in a variety of colours.

What pairs well with drift roses?

Drift roses pair well with a variety of perennials and annuals, grasses or ornamental plants. Drift roses have relatively low water requirements; drift rose varieties are drought-tolerant.

What eats Drift roses?

The eggs of sawflies, which breed on the undersides of rose leaves, are laid on the underside of rose leaves by larvae. These pests damage the leaves of drift roses, leaving holes in them. Rose slugs can cause a decline in plant health and vigour, as well as wilting and leaf drop in severe cases.

Want to learn how you can get rid of greenfly on your roses? Make sure you read an article that we wrote that covers this

sawflies on roses

Are drift roses and knockout roses the same?

Although drift roses are sometimes referred to as “knockout roses,” they are not the same. Drift roses have a more relaxed growth habit, with lower-maintenance foliage and blooms that last longer than knockout varieties. Drift rose varieties come in vibrant colours, including reds, pinks and oranges.

Which Drift roses are fragrant?

Drift roses are usually not fragrant, but some drift rose varieties have a sweet smell such as ‘Coral Drift’ and ‘Sweet Drift.

Do drift roses get rosette disease?

Drift roses are susceptible to rosette disease, which causes the leaves on drift roses to have a bright yellow hue and curl inward.

Which Drift rose is best for hot climates?

‘Salmon Drift’ drift rose can tolerate average heat well; however, it has an increased chance of sunburn damage in hotter regions. ‘Coral Drift,’ with its coral-red flowers, blooms earlier than other varieties — from May through August.

drift roses that grow best in hot climates

Do drift roses attract pollinators?

Yes, drift roses are pollinated by bees and other insects.

Why do my knockout roses look so bad?

One common problem with knockout roses is that they can be infected by a number of diseases, including black spot, powdery mildew and rust. These diseases can cause the leaves to turn yellow, brown or black; exhibit lesions or spots; and have a general decline in plant health. If you are experiencing problems with your knockout roses, take a sample of the affected foliage to your local garden centre for diagnosis.

You can read about how to get rid of black spots on your roses in an article that we wrote.

Do drift roses get witches broom

Yes, drift roses can get witches broom, a fungal disease that causes the branches of the rose bush to grow in all directions. This often results in an unsightly and tangled mess of foliage. If your drift roses are infected with witches broom, you will likely need to remove and destroy the affected plant parts.

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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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