Our company replaced diseased Knock-Out Rose bushes with Drift Roses 2 years ago. Unfortunately, the Drift Rose bushes also succumbed to disease. We are disappointed as they were quite expensive. Do you have any suggestions? I’m thinking something in the soil is causing this problem. Also planted in these landscaping beds to compliment the rose bushes are lirope border plants, and small daylillies. We used the roses for a nice pop of color. We’d like to keep to perennial plants.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Karen: It can be frustrating when we add something to the landscape and it does not do well. Roses are notorious for insect and disease issues. Even the more disease resistant ones, like the Knock Out and Drift roses can be finicky. This is especially true if they are not given optimal growing conditions. You could be correct in your assumptions about the soil so it is best to choose another low-maintenance option. Assuming that you are looking for something that requires the same amount of light and space as the previous plantings, you have a few options to consider. There are several dwarf hydrangeas and crapemyrtle that would provide seasonal blooms. Spirea ‘Gold Flame’ could be an interesting foliage contrast. Abelia would be a great evergreen choice that would provide year-round interest; ‘Rose Creek’, ‘Kaleidoscope’, and ‘Mardi Gras’ are all good options. You could also consider Russian Sage. It is a woody perennial and prolific bloomer. Boxwoods would provide a nice backdrop as well. You really do have a lot of reasonable options that will be easier care than the roses. Third time is a charm!
Kentucky Living-Ask the Gardener