I’ve been growing Roses in my South Florida garden for over 5 years, and I’m still learning. I learn new things every year but its still very much a challenge in my hot, humid, sandy-soiled, South Florida garden. But having some success, even with many failures, keeps me going. Therefor I decided to pay a little tribute to the roses that have inspired me to continue this difficult albeit highly rewarding hobby. When roses fail to thrive and I feel like giving up, I just think of these beauties that continue to give me joy and know that one day, I can and will have the rose garden of my dreams. Here are the roses that every South Florida gardener should have in their garden:
Easy Does It:
Move over Knock Outs! Easy Does It is the rose for South Florida. It has been my absolute best performer. It’s very much at home in our climate. Grafted on Fortuniana this is one of the few roses that actually performs like a rose should. It has large flushes with multiple blooms, big vibrant blossoms, and disease resistance like no other shrub I have grown. It can actually thrive without a spray program and continues to perform admirably with very little care. If you could only grow one rose in South Florida, this should be it. Even the ever-popular Knock Out series does not compare to the easy care and vigor of Easy Does It. Why this rose is not grown more often around here is just a mystery. Even the chili thrips don’t seem to bother it.
Duchess De Brabant:
Known as an Earthkind rose, Duchess De Brabant is an old garden tea rose that is extremely resilient (not to be mistaken with Hybrid Tea roses), even on its own roots. Earthkind roses were given this classification after vigorous testing proved they could be grown without pesticides. Many of the Earthkind roses do well in South Florida but this one is the best of the lot for our hot, humid climate. Duchess will grow into wide, bushy shrub with lots of globular pink blooms and is essentially care free once established. It blooms in flushes throughout the season and is rarely without flower. Duchess is also known as the Teddy Roosevelt rose as it was said to be his favorite.
Another wonderful Earthkind rose, Belinda’s Dream is really a dream for those who wish to grow rose without fungicides. Unlike Duchess De Brabant, Belinda’s Dream produces roses that are very much hybrid tea in form. Its blooms bare a sweet raspberry scent and it makes an excellent cut flower for the vase. This rose does well both on her own roots and on Fortuniana, but will grow much bigger and faster on Fortuniana. She may occasionally get leggy in the early fall, but a light pruning will get her back in shape in no time.
Out of all the David Austin roses I grow in my garden. Pat Austin is by far the most carefree one. Grafted on Fortuniana it grows rapidly and steadily, providing tons of bright orange, cupped blooms with a sweet, fruity scent. It will form a large bush with arching canes or can be grown as a small climber where her colorful blooms will nod gently downward. Pat Austin may get some disease, but shakes it off with her rapid growth quickly replacing her leaves and blooming continually. Chili thrips may attack it, but do not seem to slow it down.
Another David Austin rose that does wonderfully here in South Florida is Evelyn. Not only is she vigorous, strong and resistant to disease, she provides some of the largest, most fragrant blooms of all the roses in my garden. Its only downside may be its leggy habit, but grown as a small climber on a fence or trellis will keep it looking attractive and nothing can take away from its sumptuous blooms. This is my absolute favorite rose and growing her on Fortuniana will ensure that it provides years of amazingly fragrant bouquets.
The Drift Series:
The Drift Roses are a collection of small, ground cover roses introduced by Star Roses and Plants. They remain small at about 1.2 feet squared and are wonderful for growing in planters or tucking into the small parts of the garden where a full sized rose would not fit. The best thing about these little guys is they are practically care free once established and they are almost always in bloom. I particularly like Sweet Drift. Its small blooms look like perfect tiny hybrid-teas in deep pink fading to light pink. I find all the drift roses are extremely resilient despite our sandy soil and do well even partial shade. Drift roses should be in every South Florida garden.
Iceberg is probably the most commonly known rose next to the Peace rose. It practically grows wild in the west coast. But, Icebergs do well here in South Florida as well. Few roses are as carefree and bloom as abundantly as the Iceberg rose. Because of its qualities, Iceberg has been an important parent in the rose world; particularly in the breeding of English roses such as Graham Thomas, Heritage and Belle Story. Iceberg also does wonderfully well in a container. Those planted in the ground however, should be grafted onto Fortuniana.
Speaking of English roses. Heritage is one of the best English roses for the South Florida garden, producing lots of blushing pink, fragrant blooms. Heritage prefers morning sun and afternoon shade, and is more shade tolerant than most other roses. Its resistance to disease and vigor make it an ideal rose for our hot, humid gardens. Heritage has even been known to do well on its own roots when grown in well-amended soil.
Don Juan is another South Florida loving rose that does well in the heat and humidity. It may not be the most consistent bloomer, but it can be left relatively to its own devices and still produce large, deep red blooms with little or no care. However, when given a bit of TLC, Don Juan will reward you with a gorgeous show. This climbing rose does adequately on Dr. Huey rootstock, but will be a better performer if grafted on Fortuniana.
A strong and vigorous rose that is very compact and well behaved, Europeana has some wonderful attributes that make it a good choice for the South Florida garden. An ample bloomer with good vigor, it keeps on going even if black spot does infect its leaves. Europeana makes a great tree rose and is well suited for containers. If grafted on Fortuniana, Europeana is bound to give you years of cheerful color in a compact, well-rounded shrub.
We hope that you enjoyed our list of great roses for South Florida. These 10 roses are sure to do well with basic care and even perform admirably with a little TLC. They are easy to grow and thrive in our heat and humidity. Some take a while to really start showing their best but all are well worth the wait. Give them a try!