Hardworking and undemanding, ground cover roses package the beauty of the cherished flower in a plant that spreads and spills across the ground. These roses typically offer easy-care natures with disease-resistant leaves and continuous flowering throughout the growing season.
These short, sprawling plants usually grow from 1-3 feet tall and spread wider than their height (from 3-6 feet or more). Some ground-cover roses lack fragrance, but flower number more than makes up for lack of scent.
Choose a sunny site – the more sun, the more flowers.
Make sure soil drains well.
Amend soil with organic matter.
Space roses according to label recommendations.
Many traditional ground covers, such as Vinca, Pachysandra and English Ivy, form a thick mat that defeats weeds. Ground-cover roses don't blanket soil with weed-smothering foliage, even at the height of the growing season. (And in the dormant season, stems may be completely leafless.) Weeds frequently poke through spreading stems and often emerge near the base of the rose. To deter weeds:
Consider planting through landscape fabric available in nurseries and garden centers. Install drip irrigation on top of the fabric.
Maintain a mulch layer on soil (or landscape fabric) beneath sprawling stems.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to planting beds in early spring and fall to interrupt weed seed germination.
Hardworking ground-cover roses fill many roles in the landscape. Add these rugged beauties where you want low-growing, continuous color. Choices might include:
Edging a path or planting bed
Massed in a bed to create a swath of color
Covering a slope
Cascading over a wall
Forming a low barrier to foot traffic
Along a driveway, where low growth won't block sight
Planting rose as ground cover should be done carefully. Don’t forget, these plants will be leafless and a bit on the rangy side during the dormant season, and they do need the same care as regular roses. Start with a small planting, say three, five or seven plants and judge the results.
Tip: Meidilands are more aggressive, vigorous roses – an excellent choice for covering a hillside. Not for small spaces.
Shorter roses with a more mounded, bushy form (rather than spreading). Varieties include Gourmet Popcorn (white/yellow center), Rabble Rouser (yellow), Teeny Bopper (red and white) and What a Peach (apricot).