About Drift Roses

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This article provides information about Drift Roses
by Brent Wilson · Zone 3A · -40° to -35° F to Zone 11 · Above 40° F · Roses · 5 Comments · April 11, 2011 · 22,841 views

The Drift Roses

*Scroll below to see a review of each Drift Rose variety

Over the past three years, I have planted every variety of Drift Rose in my landscape here in mid-Georgia. All are performing exceptionally well, even throughout the longest and hottest summer on record we experienced last year. I've seen no serious pest or disease problems.

Drift Roses are repeat-bloomers that are tough, disease resistant, winter and summer hardy and virtually maintenance-free. They are a cross between full-size groundcover roses and miniature roses. From the former they kept toughness, disease resistance and winter hardiness. From the miniatures, they inherited their well-managed size and repeat-blooming nature. They are winter hardy to zone 4 and thrive all the way down to zone 11!


The low, spreading and/or mounding habit of Drift Roses makes them the perfect choice for smaller spaces. I've used them in many applications: to brighten up borders, fill in empty spaces, along walkways or paths, and to spread delicately around larger established plants throughout my landscape. I've tucked them in throughout the landscape to provide season-long color.

Culture & Care

Soil - Drift Roses aren't too finicky about soil type, provided it is well-drained, but not too dry. Moist, well-drained, somewhat fertile soil is best. If you're soil is heavy clay mix in some organic matter and/or soil conditioner to loosen the soil. If the planting area does not drain well take steps to improve drainage. To test drainage, dig the planting hole and fill it with water. If it drains within an hour or two this is sufficient.

Sun - They'll grow in full, all-day sun or in morning sun with afternoon shade. Morning sun is a must to dry dew from leaves.

Pruning - I prune Drift Roses lightly between blooming cycles and heavy in late winter - to about 6 inches above the ground.

Fertilizing - I fertilize Drift Roses in early spring and again after every heavy bloom cycle with a mild, natural fertilizer or slow-release rose food.

The 7 Varieties...

Red Drift®Red Drift Rose

Red Drift has the most petite flowers of all of the Drift Roses. The flowers are a deep red and are borne in profusion, repeating from mid-Spring to frost. It is perfect for use in front of border plantings. Red Drift makes a beautiful statement when it drapes naturally over a rock wall or edge. Grows 1-2' tall by 2-3' wide. Red Drift Rose Plant File

Sweet Drift®Sweet Drift Rose

Clear pink double flowers seem to float in clusters atop dark green glossy foliage. This is the most double-flowered of the Drift Roses and has the most natural shape. A great choice where a more old-fashioned look is desired. I have them planted on a slope in front of my 1930's cottage style home. Grows 1-2' height by 2-3' wide. Sweet Drift Rose Plant File

Coral Drift®Rose Coral Drift

An abundance of bright coral-orange blooms repeat from mid-spring to frost on dense, mounding shrubs. Out of all the Drift Roses, Coral Drift has the most vibrant flowers that catch your eye from anywhere. Mix and match with similar or contrasting colors to really wow. Grows 1-2' tall by 2-3' wide. Coral Drift Rose Plant File

Apricot Drift®Apricot Drift Rose

Apricot Drift exhibits a true groundcover habit and offers a fresh look to the series. Double apricot colored flowers begin flowering in spring and repeat until frost. Perfect for small gardens or along paths and walkways. Grows 1-2' tall by 2-3' wide. Apricot Drift Rose Plant File

Icy Drift®Rose Icy Drift

Icy Drift produces abundant clusters of pure white double blooms that form from late spring to frost above trailing plants. The dark green foliage consists of smaller, shinier leaves than some of the other Drifts. Icy Drift is doing very well in my landscape on an embankment that receives morning sun with afternoon shade. Grows 1-2' tall by 2-3' wide. Icy Drift Rose

Pink Drift®Pink Drift Rose

Pink Drift produces masses of very eye-catching deep pink, single flowers with a white eye zone atop dense, mounding plants from mid-spring to frost. If I had to pick a favorite, this one might be it. Grows 1-2' tall by 3' wide. Pink Drift Rose

Peach Drift®Peach Drift Rose

Peach Drift is one of the most floriferous dwarf roses available. When flowering, Peach Drift looks as though it has several colors of flowers on the same plant. Flowers emerge a peach color then fading to a light peach and finally to light pink. Grows 1-2' tall by 2' wide. Peach Drift Rose Plant File

You can buy Drift Roses at GardenerDirect.com or click here to find a garden center retailer near you.

Brent Wilson

Meet The Author

Brent Wilson - Brent Wilson is an avid gardener and one of the co-founders of Gardenality. He is also co-owner of Wilson Bros Nursery & Garden Center in McDonoguh

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About, Drift Roses, Groundcover, Rose, Dwarf

Plants related to 'About Drift Roses':

Nancy Badertscher

Nancy Badertscher · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
We got some peach drift roses that were planted in Jan. Quite a few of the buds seem to be dying before they bloom, and today I found what looks like tiny worms on one group of the leaves. Should I bring them in for someone to look at? I have red drift roses that were planted at the same time and none of them have this problem. The red ones get the morning sun; the peach ones don't get sun until after noon, but then have it the rest of the day.

2 years ago ·
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Brent Wilson

Brent Wilson · Gardenality Administrator · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Hi Nancy - The buds dying on the Peach Drift Rose could be caused by a couple of things.

One, it could have to do with soil moisture. If the soil is too dry or too wet it could cause this problem. While the rose is becoming established during its first season, monitor the soil moisture to keep it damp but not wet. When the weather is real hot and dry there's a tendency to water too much, like every day...but this much water is usually not necessary. If the soil is wet, hold off on watering until it dries out somewhat before watering again. Then water deeply. It's better to water deeply more frequently than to just splash with a little water every day. Doing this will also let you know how often the rose will require watering. When established, the Drift Roses won't require as much supplemental water, especially if there is average or near average rainfall.

Sometimes, when a rose bud develops and then dies before opening it could be caused by thrips. These are small insects that burrow into the bud. Look for small holes where the bud and stem meet. If it is thrips, these can be controlled with the use of Neem oil, insecticidal soap, or a product containing pyrethrin. You can also use blue or yellow sticky traps placed around the garden to monitor the activity and any adult thrips will be attracted to those sticky traps and caught.

Sometimes, to control these and other pests or disease, I simply remove any affected clusters of buds and blooms and discard them. The pruning will usually stimulate new growth and, with this new growth, more buds. Monitor the new buds closely for insects and treat if necessary.

Regarding the worms on the leaf. Without seeing a picture it's difficult to know what these are. If they're very small it could be moth worms. Are the worms doing any damage to the foliage or buds, such as stripping the leaves? If so, you could probably remove them by hand, making sure to check on the underside of leaves, or use Dipel Dust to control them.

If you could ask this question in Ask Experts and then upload a closeup picture of the buds and of the worms, this might help for identification. Click on the green Ask Experts tab in the main menu towards the top of this page. Then, after asking your question, upload a picture to the question by clicking on the Upload A Picture link that will appear to the right of your name in the question. If you do this, I and others will get notification of such and will look at the pictures and offer solutions.

2 years ago ·
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Mary Luehrmann

Mary Luehrmann · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
I have had coral and peach drift roses for 2 years. This year the peach are blooming reddish coral with white underneath - ruins my whole color scheme. What can I do to return them to the beautiful peach with yellow?

1 year ago ·
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Brent Wilson

Brent Wilson · Gardenality Administrator · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
This is the first I've heard that a color actually changed on any of the Drift Roses. So far, all the one's in my garden have stayed true to color. The only one I haven't been satisfied with is the 'Sweet Drift.' It grew too large for the space it was intended to fill and the foliage was deformed last year. Will replace them with the Pink Drift Rose...my favorite in the whole family of Drift Roses. Not sure what if anything can be done to change the color back on your rose? I would suggest contacting Conard-Pyle, the owners and distributors of the Drift Roses, and bring this to their attention. This is information they need to know about. They might want to visit your garden and take cuttings to start a new variety...or you can keep it to yourself and maybe have the only one in the world. Here's a link to their contact page:


1 year ago ·
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Mary Luehrmann

Mary Luehrmann · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thank you - I will let them know and probably enjoy them as they are :) adding peach with other plants.

1 year ago ·
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