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Drift Rose Care and Landscape Ideas

February 8, 2022 Jill Raver
Filed in: Planting Blog

Drift Roses are quickly becoming one of the most desirable rose varieties on the market today. If you’re unfamiliar with Drift Roses, they are a cross between a ground-cover rose and a miniature rose bush. They are very compact to the ground, fast-growing, and will only get about 2 feet tall and about 3 to 4 feet wide at full maturity. They bloom every 5-6 weeks making them beautiful and full. The Drift Series was bred by Star Roses and Plants to be a low-maintenance ground cover rose option.

Drift Roses Features:

  • Superior insect and disease resistance
  • Winter hardy and widely grown in zones 5-10
  • Great for planting in clusters, patio containers, and hanging baskets

If you’re wondering what the difference is between Drift Roses vs. Knock Out Roses, it really comes down to size. Knock Out Roses will get much larger than Drift Roses since Drift Roses are groundcover plants. The Drift Rose is perfect for planting in small spaces, around mailboxes, and in planters.

Let’s explore the different types of Drift Roses and Drift Rose care.

Drift Rose Varieties

  1. The Red Drift Rose is the most popular Drift Rose. While they have a smaller bloom than some of the other Drift Rose varieties, they are highly prized for their deep and vibrant color.
  2. The White Drift Rose has a sparkling snow-white bloom. They really stand out planted next to red, pink, or coral Drift Roses.
  3. The Popcorn Drift Rose continuously produces buttery yellow blooms throughout the year from spring till frost! They look great when paired with pink Drift Roses.
  4. The Peach Drift Rose has a large bloom that completely covers this shrub. It is one of the strongest, disease-resistant Drift Rose varieties.
  5. The Pink Drift Rose provides a showy, dark pink color and larger flowers that are not filled in the middle. The blooms of this variety are relatively small and open up wide and flat.
  6. The Coral Drift Rose is more orange than the peach Drift Rose and will stand out against its dark green foliage anywhere it’s planted. The blooms are very showy, vibrant, and winter-hardy.

Drift Rose Care Tips

drift rose care tips

When to Plant

Drift Roses can be planted at any time of the year, as long as you have plentiful sunlight and water. However, the most optimal time to plant is in the spring, especially if you’re planning on mass planting. Planting in the spring will give your plants enough time to get established before the weather becomes too hot or too cold.

Choose the Ideal Location

Good Drift Rose care starts when choosing your planting location. Drift Roses will do best in full sun, and ideally, you want to plant in an area that gets 6-8 hours of sun per day.  If full sun isn’t an option in your location, your Drift Rose can handle partial shade. Much like Knock Out Roses, Drift Roses are extremely adaptable to most soil types and they are drought tolerant. However, be sure that you plant where there is well-drained soil because roses don’t like soggy roots. Lastly, we suggest that your soil is nice and loose to give the new roots room to grow and breathe. Adding a layer of mulch around your newly planted Drift Rose bed will help retain moisture and control weeds.


Your Drift Roses always need to be watered well at the time of planting. It’s also a good practice to keep the soil moist for the first month or so to facilitate growth and root establishment. Once the roots are established, you can allow the soil to dry out between waterings.


Giving your Drift Rose plants a slow-release fertilizer at the time of planting will provide your roses with a great start. We suggest fertilizing your Drift Roses at least twice a year for larger, more vibrant blooms.


Much like Knock Out Roses, Drift Roses don’t require pruning. However, as your ground cover plants mature, you may want to consider light pruning to help them maintain strength and vigor. The best time to prune Drift Roses is in the spring, but pruning Drift Roses in fall is also acceptable. There is no set way to prune your Drift Roses, however, removing about ⅓ of the existing branches is a common practice.

Disease Resistance

Drift Roses are naturally disease resistant though they can be susceptible to chilli thrips and Cercospora leafspot. To evade disease, avoid overwatering and sterilize pruners.

Winter Care

If you live in a climate that freezes and has a lot of snow, you’ll want to apply Drift Roses winter care tips. Add extra mulch to insulate the plants, and wrap them in burlap to retain moisture. Then in spring remove the burlap and extra mulch. If you are growing your Drift Roses in pots, move the containers inside to a dark space such as a garage.

Drift Rose Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping with Drift Roses is fun and flexible. This easy-to-grow variety is great for growing in landscape beds, along stone walls, in containers, and even in hanging baskets. Consider planting 3-6 rose bushes in front of larger shrubs for a beautiful layered look. Or, plant a handful of Drift Roses around the base of your mailbox, septic cover, or fence. The sky's the limit on what you can do with them.

Drift Roses clustered together in groups of 3 or more make a powerful statement and will really stand out. Once you have chosen your Drift Rose colors, stagger plant them so that they are not in a straight row. Having taller evergreen shrubs behind the Drift Roses will provide a clean and neat backdrop.

Drift Roses in Containers

drift roses in wheelbarrel

Drift Roses planted in containers create a flexible landscape. Simply plant them in your favorite container and put them around your backyard patio, deck, or on each side of your front door. As your drift roses grow, they will produce tons of flowers and make whatever area you put them in pop with color. Drift Rose care is easy when you plant in containers. For example, if you live in a growing zone not suitable for Drift Roses, you can always plant them in containers and bring them inside for the winter months to protect them from freeze damage.

Drift Roses in Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are another practical container option for your Drift Roses. You can place them almost anywhere and easily incorporate a pop of color. Not only do they look great, but the portability of the container makes Drift Rose care a breeze. This is a great landscaping option for anyone who lives in an apartment or has limited outdoor space.

For additional flowering shrubs, rose bushes, and rose tree options, browse our online plant nursery.

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