Recently, I wrote a post about the Rhode Island rose show, in which I ranted – briefly – about the plants’ chemical requirements.
I received a comment from rosarian, Angelina Chute, co-author with her husband, Mike, of a book on sustainable roses. Angie had many suggestions of roses that don’t require hazmat suits and toxic chemicals to grow, so I asked her if she’d write a guest post for this blog.
Here it is. Thanks, Angie!
When Dirtynailz invited me to write a Guest Blog about roses that don’t need chemical pesticides, I was happy to say yes. So many gardeners seem to think that roses are too difficult to grow and need a lot of care. When my husband Mike and I present programs about roses, we tell our audiences that with so many new, disease resistant (sustainable) varieties being introduced by rose breeders each year, it’s easier than ever to grow roses. Knowing what varieties have above-average disease resistance to black spot and other fungal diseases is the real secret to successful rose gardening.
There have always been sustainable roses such as species or wild roses that flourish and grow without any tending – you’ll see them growing on bike paths and in old railroad beds. There are also old favorite roses such as ‘Ballerina’, ‘Carefree Beauty’, ‘Chuckles’, and ‘Dortmund’ that have been around for many years because they are disease-resistant. No need to suit up in protective gear to keep these roses healthy!
What we have now, though, are more and more new roses that don’t need chemical pesticides to stay healthy and attractive. These roses are not only easy-to-grow but have beautiful form, many petals, and lovely colors. Most gardeners are already aware of the Knock Out roses. In addition to the original red Knock Out rose, there is a whole family of Knock Outs to choose from, including ‘Pink Knock Out’, ‘Double Knock Out’, ‘Sunny Knock Out ‘and ‘White Out’. A small climbing rose by the same hybridizer of the Knock Out rose is ‘Brite Eyes’. We have been growing it for the past two years in our sustainable rose garden and so far it seems to be very disease resistant.
In addition to the Knock Out series of roses, there are other roses that show great resistance to fungal diseases. When doing research for our book, Roses for New England, A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening, we found hundreds of varieties that are disease resistant as well as winter hardy. Unfortunately, I don’t have room here to go into descriptions, but I’ll mention some varieties that we recommend to gardeners who want easy-care roses.
On the top of my list are ‘All the Rage’, ‘My Girl’, ‘Yellow Brick Road’, ‘Yellow Submarine’, ‘Centennial’, and ‘Super Hero’. These varieties are all part of the Easy Elegance series and very disease resistant. An added bonus is that they have flowers that grow on stems long enough to cut and display in a vase.
Then there are the Brownell roses, hybridized in Rhode Island in the 1940’s and 50’s. Varieties such as ‘Rhode Island Red’, ‘Nearly Wild’, ‘White Cap’, ‘Golden Arctic’, and ‘Scarlet Sensation’ are winter hardy and disease resistant.
Other easy to grow roses that we chose to plant in the Chet Clayton Sustainable Rose Garden at the University of Rhode Island include the fragrant ‘Julia Child’, ‘Pretty Lady’, the climber ‘New Dawn’, ‘Bonica’, ‘Carefree Delight’, ‘Home Run’, and ‘Lady Elsie May’. They are all growing well with no pesticides.
As you can see, there are many varieties of roses that are disease resistant, easy to grow and don’t need any chemical pesticides. All you have to do is know what varieties to choose.
If you would like more information about sustainable roses visit our website at www.rosesolutions.net
Thank you, Angie, for such an informative response – you and Mike are so generous.
Glad that you mentioned the Chet Clayton Rose Garden (across from the Fine Arts Bldg on Upper College Rd). June offered spectacular bursts of color there. Plus, rose garden maps (each specimen identified) are located on a post in the garden.
If you haven’t visited – you’re missing a treat. We enjoy visiting in the evening and walk through the entire botanic garden.
And quick thanks to Dirtynailz b/c this post addressed a question that’s been bugging me.
Thanks for popping in, GP. I am forwarding all comments to Angie so she can respond.
Glad you enjoyed the blog.
The Chet Clayton Rose Garden is a great garden – volunteers take care of evrything and do an excellent job. Mike and I always mention it when we present one of our programs on sustainable roses.
Thanks for the tips on which knockout roses to try. I have only one, and it’s not doing so well. Maybe I’m not fertilizing it enough. How often should we fertilize a knockout rose that’s in a container instead of the ground. It’s a pink one, btw, but I can’t remember its name.
Wow. I thought all the Knockouts were more or less bullet proof. Maybe Angie wil be able to shed some light on this.
Great post! Thanks for all the terrific information. I’ve grown very fond of roses, constantly looking for a new one to add, so this really helps!
Glad you enjoyed the post.
Some roses don’t do well if grown in containers. Large shrub roses, like Knock Out, aren’t good candidates. Better choices for containers are floribunda roses or miniature roses – those that have a small habit.
If you want to grow a rose in a container make sure it’s large enough so it doesn’t get root bound. We grow a lot of roses in containers and use a liquid fertilizer. To keep the nutrient level consistent Mike fertilizes them once a week and cuts the monthly dosage into four. If you wanted to feed every other week, cut the dosage in half.
We fertilize our roses in the ground starting in May, then again in June, July and August. Container roses are also fertilized starting in May.
Great advice. Thanks for taking the time to reply, Angie!
Thank you! I do have other roses in containers and they do a better job. I’ll move the knock out into the ground and see if that gets it to smile. I hope so. It sure is pretty when it blooms.