Carpet roses are a beautiful alternative for a garden shrub ground cover. As they say a rose by any other name is still a rose…
That certainly is a truism when you mention the Flower Carpet Series. Developed by rose breeder Dr. Werner Noack in 1988, the easy-to-care for carpet roses now come in nine different colors. Like the eight others in the series, the Amber blooms profusely, is disease resistant and after 2 to 3 years of growth, can give you 1000+ blooms. These shrubby ground cover roses have incredible blooming power (they bloom in clusters). They rest for a couple of weeks in between blooming and well worth the wait. They are disease resistant (powdery mildew and black spot), have rich green foliage and are reasonably fast growing. They are a gardeners dream come true!
From direct experience I can tell you that the leaves remain dark green, leathery and shiny. Although a few of the tiny green worms have called the underside of the leaves home, I continue to rub them off with my fingers.
Planting Flower Carpet Roses
Make sure that the hole is larger than the inside of the container/pot that the rose came in.
Make sure that you have amended the soil with organic matter, (two parts organic/soil to one part peat) peat moss, a little bit of sand (a handful) for drainage.
Make sure that you put at least 8″ to 10″ of the amended mixture into the hole before you set in the rose.
I also add a hand full of bone meal to the hole before I set the rose.
Make sure that the bud union (the nub) of the rose is slightly below ground level. In my zone 3, I set mine 3 1/2″ below ground level.
As you fill in the sides with the rest of the amended soil, press down firmly to make sure there are no air pockets and water as you go along.
When at ground level, press down firmly. Some gardeners make a circle well around the shrub, about 3″ away from the main stem. This is for watering. Make sure that you keep the rose well-watered.
Even though they do not require deadheading, I still snip off the spent blooms to keep the shrub looking tidy. These bushes grow to an average of 2 feet (60cm), however mine have grown to almost 4 feet tall. They can spread between 4 to 6 feet (1.2-1.8m). If your planting them in a flowerbed garden, plant about 3 to 4 feet apart to allow for good spreading. They also grow great in containers. The above planting information works for me. Other gardeners may do different. So far I am very successful, no matter what variety I decide to plant.
Care for Flower Carpet Roses
Water regularly until established.
Bushes are dry tolerant once established, however they still need the regular weekly watering.
Feed only in spring. Fall feeding produces more foliage and makes it harder for the plant to survive the cold.
Add organic matter to help hold in the water and to give the extra nutrition. I also add a thin layer of shredded bark mulch at the base (not too close to the main stem). This helps hold in the moisture.
Make sure the drainage is good. The plant will rot if it sits in water.
Pruning is not required, however if you want your shrubs a certain shape, then prune as desired.
Plant in full sun for the most blooms. It will tolerate some shade but you might get less blooms. It takes about 2 weeks in between bloom time for mine.
If you are trying to grow this variety in a Zone lower than Zone 5, you must protect the plant for the winter. The Flower Carpet Rose is recommended for Zone 5 and in a Zone 5a (here in Chicago) covering of leaves is sufficient. Otherwise plant deeper and cover well for the winter. If aphids or the tiny green worms attack, simply spray with insecticidal soap or do what I do…pick off with your fingers or wash them off with a hose sprayer. Remember to feed every spring (Osmocote 14-14-14).
There are other carpet roses on the market such as the Little White Lies. No fragrance, but repeat single petal white blooms. The Rugosa rose can be up to a Zone 3 hardy ground cover. I was told that if you prune them within 4 inches of the ground, they will sucker to make a flowering ground cover. The pink Dick Balfour, as pictured below, is a repeat bloomer. It has a slight fragrance, is compact and has tight foliage. Can be planted in the ground or in pots.