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, and definitely not constantly soggy. 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 - Drift Roses grow best in full sun to mostly sun, however will tolerate some afternoon shade. As with all other roses, the Drifts require morning sun to dry the morning dew from their leaves. The densest growth and best flowering occurs with at least 5 hours of direct sun per day from spring through early fall, when plants are actively growing.
Immediately after planting deep soak the soil in the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development, consider watering your newly planted Drift Rose with a solution of Root Stimulator. Root Stimulator reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants. During the first growing season, water only as needed to keep the root ball and surrounding soil damp to moist. Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. Roses planted during the winter dormant season, when they are not actively growing and evaporation is much slower, will require much less water. When established, Drift Roses are quite drought tolerant plants. If you see new leaves wilting or the tips of new stems bending over during dry weather this could be a sign your roses could use a good deep soaking.
Pruning - I prune Drift Roses lightly between blooming cycles and heavy in late winter - to about 6 inches above the ground.
Fertilizing - Drift Roses are fast growers and heavy bloomers that will benefit from fertilization. I recommend feeding Drift Roses right after the late winter pruning and then every 6 weeks or so during the growing season with a rose food or an organic plant food. Cease fertilization 2 months prior to the average first-frost date in your area.
The 7 Varieties...
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. See Red Drift Rose Plant File
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. See Sweet Drift Rose Plant File
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. See Coral Drift Rose Plant File
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. See Apricot Drift Rose Plant File
Popcorn Drift Rose is the very latest addition to the Drift Rose Series, and features a wonderful pastel bloom and a nice fragrance. Popcorn Drift produces nice, tight creamy yellow buds which open as a nice light yellow color at first, then gently fade into a creamy white with faint yellow accents - many times also showing tinges of peach as well. Popcorn Drift Rose Plant File
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. See Pink 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. See Peach Drift Rose Plant File