April’s Gainesville Landscaping Plant: Drift Rose

What makes this plant win the ‘Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month’?

The drift rose is a prolific bloomer throughout the year that adds bright color to any Gainesville landscape. Few plants with it’s striking color also are perennial and handle our North Florida winters well, too. Whereas many other Gainesville landscaping flowers (Lantana, Firespike, Daisies, Begonias) freeze back in the winter, the Drift Rose may not be in full bloom, but at least offers a healthy green low-growing shrub.


How big do they grow?

Drift Roses tend to grow in a spreading habit, (hence the name ‘Drift’) which is very different from Knockout and Tea Roses. They grow 2-3’ tall at maximum but spread out to 4’ wide.


Where in the landscape do they grow best?

They grow best in a full sun area of the landscape. When we use them in Gainesville landscape renovations, we use them to draw attention to a certain area such as the entry of the home or a prominent bed due to their bright colors. We typically put them in front of the bed as well, due to their low growth habit.


What are their maintenance needs?

They don’t like to be over-watered, but they certainly need regular waterings -especially when used in their best setting, which is full sun. They don’t need any deadheading to keep blooming, but pruning back their oldest branches a couple times of year allows them to regenerate new growth allowing a more full look over time.


What season are they at their best?

Drift Roses are similar to Knockouts in that they can bloom throughout the year, but their peak season is May-August. They will have the most growth and color in that late spring-summer time frame, however many of ours were still in bloom on Christmas Day!


Do any Gainesville lawn pests attack them?

Drift Roses are relatively problem free in many areas and have excellent disease resistance to rust, powdery mildew, and black spot. However, they can be susceptible to chili thrips if they aren’t cared for on a lawn pest program.


What colors and/or varieties are available?

Drift roses are available in multiple colors - popcorn, coral, white, and different shades of pink.

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