American Nurseryman Magazine - Horticulture Magazine and Horticulture Books - Great Groundcovers - May, 2013 - FEATURES

American Nurseryman Magazine - Horticulture Magazine and Horticulture Books - May, 2013

FEATURES

Great Groundcovers

True groundcover roses can fill modern spaces and withstand the toughest challenges of Mother Nature.
By Kyle McKean

Groundcover roses have grown increasingly popular over the last several decades. They are essentially a more compact, sprawling version of a landscape shrub rose; they have been bred to be more petite and more floriferous, but often can still reach heights of 3 to 4 feet.

Among the most floriferous of
groundcover roses, Peach Drift® offers soft
peach blooms that cover the plant from midspring
to the first hard freeze of late fall.

Among the most floriferous of groundcover roses, Peach Drift® offers soft peach blooms that cover the plant from midspring to the first hard freeze of late fall.
Photos courtesy of Star® Roses and Plants

In 1941, Star® Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle introduced The Fairy, a low- to medium-spreading shrub rose with tons of seashell pink blooms. In 1963, Star® Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle introduced Seafoam, a sprawling re-blooming groundcover rose that is low-maintenance and winter hardy. Compared to the classic and high-maintenance hybrid tea roses that were so popular during this time, the concept of easy care ground- cover roses was a very welcome one.

In 2006/2007, a new kind of groundcover rose was introduced by Star® Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle: Drift® Roses are considered the only true groundcover roses. Reaching heights of about 1½ to 2 feet, they will not get oversized and leggy. Drift® Roses are a cross between full-size groundcover 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.

Pink Drift® is low-growing with distinctive
mounded flowers that reach 1½ feet in
height with a 3-foot spread. Deep pink flowers
feature a soft faded center.

Pink Drift® is low-growing with distinctive mounded flowers that reach 1½ feet in height with a 3-foot spread. Deep pink flowers feature a soft faded center.

Continuously blooming from spring to early frost, Drift® Roses are naturally dwarf, with very attractive foliage. The low, spreading habit of Drift® Roses makes them perfect for small gardens and combination planters. Drift Roses® complement any garden in any landscape. They brighten up borders, fill in empty spaces, and spread delicately around your favorite established plants. Try using them along walkways or in mass along a hillside.

Drift® Roses are winter hardy to Zone 4 and, like The Knock Out® Family of Roses, which Star® Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle also introduced, they are virtually maintenance-free. They have excellent resistance to rust, powdery mildew and black spot. They require no spraying (except in the most black spot prone areas). Trim them back to about 6 inches in late winter/early spring for best performance. Drift® Roses have been tested in a wide range of zones throughout the country and are proven to thrive from coast-to-coast.

Drift® Roses were bred in France at Meillland International in response to increased consumer demand for smaller, ever-blooming plants. Drift® Roses fit a special niche in today's shrub rose market as consumers are looking for plants that offer more reward with less work.

Red Drift® has the most petite flowers
of all of the Drift® Roses, making it perfect for
use in front of border plantings. It also makes
a beautiful statement when it drapes naturally
over a rock wall or edge. Mature height is less
than 1½ feet with a wider spread.

Red Drift® has the most petite flowers of all of the Drift® Roses, making it perfect for use in front of border plantings. It also makes a beautiful statement when it drapes naturally over a rock wall or edge. Mature height is less than 1½ feet with a wider spread.

As our industry goes through constant change, and as consumers grow more selective and demanding, hybridizers and breeders will continue to respond with even more innovative solutions giving us excellent plants to grow and sell.

In today's smaller landscapes, many roses are too rampant and too vigorous to use in mass plantings. Groundcover roses are an extremely effective and beautiful solution that has evolved over several decades to meet our changing needs.

Kyle McKean is Director of Marketing, Star® Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle. She can be reached at kmckean@starrosesandplants.com.