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Great Roses for Small Spaces

Posted by Chloe Smith

 Roses are an iconic landscape plant, but who has the space? Actually, we all do! With the release of several new series of great roses for small spaces, the beauty of landscape roses can be enjoyed by everyone! 

     Roses are a classic flower. Their iconic role in Valentine’s Day and romance in general have made them a staple in the floral design industry. Recent introductions of reliable, florific, disease resistant, and compact varieties of rose bushes have enabled them to be a staple in the landscape industry as well. Size has become a very important consideration for roses, and landscape shrubs in general. As yards shrink, maximizing space in a landscape becomes very important. Luckily, plant breeders are working to fill this demand. There have been several great varieties of strong performing, disease resistant roses that take up less space in the landscape.

     Over the past few years, the Drift® series of groundcover roses have been gaining popularity with home gardeners and commercial landscapers alike. At our operation, we have seen a steady incline in Drift® rose sales accompanied by a steady decline in Knock Out® rose sales. If the trend continues at the same rate, Drift® rose sales will surpass Knock Out® rose sales by 2020. Perhaps this is because Drift® roses are a significantly smaller size. Drift® roses are about 1.5’ tall and anywhere from 2 to 3’ wide, while Knock Out® roses get about 3-4’ tall and wide. Not only are they small, but their blooming capacity is astounding. During the summer, Drift® roses are completely covered in blooms all the time. They start blooming in April, while Knock Out® roses don’t start blooming until June. Another thing I have noticed about Drift® roses is that the bees love them! If they are blooming, they are buzzing. This makes them a great addition to a pollinator garden. Here at Home Nursery, we grow all 9 varieties, ranging in color from orange to yellow to white to red. Here are a few great varieties for those tight spaces in your landscape.

rd_1Red Drift®

If you are more drawn to the classic red rose, this red Drift® rose is for you. While it is technically more of a deep pink color, it still conveys the classic red rose look. This variety gets 1.5’ tall and 2.5’ wide, leaving plenty of room for companion plants such as Leucanthemum Amazing Daisies® Daisy May® which is an equally prolific bloomer.



POP_2Popcorn Drift®

This is a great variety of yellow rose, staying 1.5’ tall and 2.5’ wide. The buds start off as a buttery yellow and lighten to an almost white color as they open giving the illusion of buttery popcorn kernels. The yellows are subtle, and create a nice delicate look which I think pairs nicely with a the bright dominating purple of a Nepeta or Pervoskia.



Apricot Drift RoseApricot Drift®

This is one of my favorite cultivars of Drift® roses. The buds come on as a bright, yet subtle orange and opens up to a light blush pink color. I don’t know if there is any validity in this, but from what I have seen, the bees seem to favor this color of Drift® rose, as do I. I would pair this color with a nice dwarf miscanthus, like 'Little Kitten, and let the beautiful apricot flowers be the star of the show.


     Another great series of compact roses are the Oso Easy® roses from Proven Winners®. The size of Oso Easy® roses have a wider size range from anywhere between 1’ to 4’ tall. Contrary to Drift® roses, Oso Easy® roses are more a shrub rose as opposed to a groundcover rose. Here are two great selections to try in your landscape.

oso_easy_double_pink_rose_1Oso Easy® Double Pink

This cultivar saves space at only 1.5-2’ tall and wide. It begins blooming early in April and continues into early fall. This is a double-flowered rose giving the flowers a nice full-petaled look. The flower is a bright bubble gum pink with yellow stamens that give it a prominent yellow eye. The color combo is bright and cheery, making an excellent addition to any landscape.



oso_easy_italian_ice_rose-5734Oso Easy® Italian Ice®

This is a very unique cultivar in that its petals fade from pink at the tips to white to yellow at the center of the flower. The plant is compact measuring at 1.5-2.5’ tall and wide. It blooms slightly later than Double Pink, starting in June and continuing through August.



     A new series of roses we are trying for the first time in 2019 are Kordes’ series of Kolorscape® roses. As far as height goes, this series isn’t especially short since they are the same height as Knock Out® roses: 3-4’ tall. However, they are a bit thinner measuring 2-3’ wide compared to the Knock Out® roses which are 3-4’ wide. Kolorscape® roses also bloom earlier than Knock Out® roses beginning in June and continuing until September. Of the 7 varieties that Kordes has introduced, we are trying 4 this year. We are excited to learn more about them and see how they are received by our customers. Here are 2 varieties with bright colors that would make a nice addition to any landscape. I won’t say very much about these 2, since I have not had any first-hand experience with them. If you have personally grown Kolorscape® roses, please leave us some feedback in the comments about your experience!

KARDINAL_KOLORSCAPE_KORsixkono_v20(14)Kardinal Kolorscape®

Unlike the Red Drift® rose, these flowers are a true red color. According to the Kordes website, the flowers hold their color without fading.




LEMON_FIZZ_KOLORSCAPE_KORfizzlem20(37)Lemon Fizz Kolorscape®

This variety of yellow rose is very bright and vivid. Once again claiming to be a non-fading flower, this rose is perfect if you are looking for that undeniable bright lemon yellow.




     Roses are classic. With modern advancements in rose breeding, it is now possible to have every color of rose in your landscape. Roses are now smaller than ever maing it easier to find multiple spots in your landscape to host a cute little rose bush. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from.

If you are interested in a complete list of roses for small spaces sold by Home Nursery, contact your sales representative or Chloe at sales@homenursery.com!

Works Cited

“Drift® Roses.” Drift® Roses, www.driftroses.com/.

“Kolorscape®.” Kordes, www.kordes.us/collection/kolorscape.

“Oso Easy®.” Proven Winners, www.provenwinners.com/plants/series/oso-easy.



Tags: Plants, Branded Plants, Shrubs