Ground cover rose plants

Ground cover roses, as I would like to call them again here, are often used for public greenery. There they have to survive without much attention. Breeders have created their own rose class especially for such locations and conditions, the members of which are particularly impressive in parks and on roadsides with their abundance of flowers, plant health and poor care. Some of these undemanding varieties are also good for the home garden. What these roses usually lack is fragrance. With all the good properties it fell by the wayside.
As with all other rose classes, a distinction is made between bare-root and potted roses (container roses) for ground cover roses. They are planted in a number of ways.

Ground cover rose plants.

So that roses can develop well and delight us with their beautiful flowers, an optimal location, the right substrate and good care are necessary. It doesn’t take much to have beautiful roses. You have to choose the roses that suit the garden conditions, provide them with good soil, sufficient fertilizer at the right time, water in the event of prolonged drought and you have to cut them correctly. Nothing more is necessary.

Quality check when buying roses.

Whether roses will thrive in your garden depends on the beginning. It has to be the right type of rose and the one of the best quality. To do this, of course, the rose has to get into the ground properly. Then it’s just a matter of taking appropriate care.

  • Shoots must be firm and green!
  • The bark must not be wrinkled or damaged!
  • No rotten spots, neither on the roots (with bare-root roses) nor on the plant!
  • The buds (eyes) must be well developed!
  • It is important that the refinement point is healthy, neatly grown and free from diseases or rot!
  • The root system must be undamaged and well branched!
  • The foliage must be lush green, free of spots and undamaged!


The location is one of the most important things when caring for roses. If it doesn’t fit, you can look after as much as you want. The result is not optimal. If you don’t have the desired sunny location, you shouldn’t try too hard to grow sun-hungry roses there. There are also varieties that are happy with far less sun. You have to choose from these roses, even if there aren’t that many offers. There are still enough.

  • Position as sunny as possible, although there are varieties that do not like the bright midday sun.
  • It shouldn’t be too hot!
  • The place also needs to be a little airy so that wet leaves can dry off quickly. But drafty places are rather unsuitable.
  • A location in front of a radiating wall is not favorable, as it gets too hot and the air movement is often zero.

Rose Plant substrate

Plant substrate.

Roses need appropriate soil to thrive.

  • A deep, humus-rich, medium-heavy soil is ideal
  • If this is not available, you have to prepare it accordingly!
  • It is ideal to mix in compost soil

The actual planting of the ground cover roses

Planting is not difficult. The best time for this is autumn. Then the much cheaper bare-root roses are offered. You can buy them with a clear conscience, but it’s best to buy them from a specialist dealer. They are still available in spring, but they come from the autumn stock. Everything that is not sold in autumn is stored in cold stores and offered again in spring. The roses are then no longer fresh. You get the better quality in autumn and if you put the roses in the ground in good time, they will also grow well before winter and start drifting in early spring, whereas the roses that are then planted often have to struggle to get through.

  • Dig the planting hole with a spade!
  • It has to be big enough that the root ball has about a hand’s breadth of space all around.
  • Loosen the sides and bottom with the digging fork!
  • The excavation is mixed with about a third of compost or rose earth.
  • It is beneficial to put a handful of horn shavings into the planting hole.
  • Put the ball of roses in a bucket of water so that it can soak up properly.
  • Then carefully loosen the roots.
  • Put the rose as vertically as possible into the planting hole, exactly as deep as it sat in the container!
  • The refining point must be approx. 5 cm below the surface of the earth!
  • This is the only way to protect the grafting point and thus the rose from frost.
  • Distribute the excavated material evenly around the root ball!
  • Carefully step on the earth! In doing so, deepen the resulting hollow a little so that the water reaches the roots directly when pouring on!
  • When planting in autumn, pile up the roses immediately. This protects them from drought and frost.
  • In March there will be pelting again.
  • In the case of spring planting, shave off after 8 weeks.

Planting bare-
rooted roses Bare- rooted roses are also easy to plant. Good soil preparation is also important here, just like with container roses. Autumn has the largest selection of bare-root roses, far more than there are potted roses.

  • Bare-rooted roses need to be soaked or soaked in water for a few hours before planting. The entire plant should be under water, at least as far as the grafting point.
  • Then the shoots of the rose are shortened to approx. 20 cm. This reduces the evaporation area. Five buds should remain per shoot!
  • The root is also cut. Here damaged and dead parts are removed.
  • Then the roots are shortened about a quarter.
  • When planting, make sure that the planting hole is deep enough so that the roots are not compressed.
  • Here, too, the finishing point must be 5 cm below the ground!
  • It is filled up and “post-treated” as with container roses.

Rose care in general

Rose care in general

Roses don’t need as much care as is often assumed. Checking the roses and taking action twice a week is usually enough.

  • When it is very dry, roses quickly become stressed. The result is an increased susceptibility to disease.
  • The soil should always be slightly damp. But you don’t have to water every day. Roses are taproots and can draw water from great depths. However, they have to be well rooted. They therefore have to be poured more often in the first year of standing than later.
  • It is poured as soon as the top 10 to 15 cm of soil has become dry. You can check that with a finger test.
  • Under no circumstances should the leaves be poured, as this promotes diseases, especially fungal diseases.
  • Always keep the surface of the earth nice and loose. Rose roots like it airy and the evaporation of soil water is restricted.
  • A three- to four-centimeter-thick layer of mulch made from chopped bark products, raw compost, lawn clippings or shredded garden materials is cheap and easy to care for. That keeps the soil moist, loose and crumbly.
  • A handful of horn shavings must be spread under the mulch and worked into the soil around the rose. Bark mulch binds nitrogen. Roses need a lot of it. Otherwise deficiency symptoms can occur.
  • Good fertilization is necessary for a rich set of flowers and high resistance to diseases and pests.
  • Organic fertilizers or special slow-release fertilizers are best. All of these fertilizers release nutrients continuously and as needed over a longer period of time.
  • Roses should be cleaned once or twice a week. This will make the plants look better and stay healthy.
  • Damaged or diseased parts of the plant are removed. Wilted flowers are cut off to encourage new buds to form.
  • Wild shoots must be removed from where they emerge.
  • Before the first severe frosts, the roses are piled up. About 20 cm is sufficient.

The cut of ground cover roses

Ground cover roses don’t really have to be cut strictly according to regulations. If you cut, it is done in spring so that the roses are ready for summer. The time of cutting depends on the weather. It is generally said that roses are pruned when the forsythia is in bloom. Ground cover roses are no exception. The cut should achieve a loose, airy growth. In addition, the pressure of infestation by fungi is reduced and a rich flower flora is ensured in summer.

  • In any case, you cut out old, dead wood that is growing inwards!
  • Wild shoots and rose galls must also be removed! (Rose gall – sponges on the shoots, breeding place for gall wasps)!
  • Otherwise, there is no need to cut any further with small shrub roses.
  • However, it is better to cut out branches that are disturbing or that are growing too densely.
  • Only if you want very compact roses do you have to cut them annually.
  • Then cut as you would with shrub roses that bloom more often, so shorten about 1/3 of the total height.
  • Every five years, ground cover roses should get a radical pruning to stimulate the stock to new shoots.
  • An outward-pointing eye (bud point) is always cut!
  • Always cut at an angle and about half a centimeter above the selected eye.

Recommended ground cover roses

  • ‘Apple Blossom’ – unfilled, white variety with a light fragrance, low-bushy habit, 70 to 80 cm high, blooming more often, ADR seal
  • ‘Gärtnerfreude’ – filled raspberry-red variety, colourfast and rainproof, bushy, lying growth, up to 50 cm high, blooming more often, good for keeping in pots, ADR seal
  • ‘Heidefeuer’ – semi-double, bright red variety, stiffly upright growing, 50 to 60 cm tall, often blooming, very resistant to fungal diseases
  • ‘Schöne Dortmunderin’ – half-double, intensely pink variety, stiffly upright growing, 60 to 70 cm tall, blooming more often, also suitable for partial shade, ADR seal
  • ‘Loredo’ – semi-double, bright yellow variety, stiffly upright habit, 60 to 70 cm high, very color-fast
  • ‘Aspirin’ – half-double, white flowers that are tinted pink in cool weather, 60 to 80 cm high, very popular and healthy
  • ‘The Fairy’ – half-double, light pink flowers, low bushy habit, 60 cm high, blooming more often, a classic among the ground cover roses
  • ‘Larissa’ – richly double pink variety, 80 cm high, blooming more often, very healthy leaves, very good self-cleaning properties, ADR seal
  • ‘Sedana’ – simple pure white variety, 50 cm high, absolutely insensitive, blooming more often, high leaf health, ADR seal
  • ‘Sorento’ – loosely filled, bright red variety, bushy and densely branched, 80 cm high, flowers are resistant to heat and color

Ground cover roses are grateful fellows. They hardly make any work and bloom richly and reliably. One should pay attention to the leaf health. I mainly have “The Fairy”, which is considered to be quite healthy, but I have to struggle with various fungal infestations every year, although the bush and bed roses around are all healthy. Otherwise I have to say that they are unbeatable as ground cover. They shoot new shoots without end, are the first roses to bloom and the last to give up. The whole bed is pink and the faded flowers fall off by themselves. They don’t need to be cleaned. I can only recommend this ground cover rose.

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