Drift, Knockout, And Other Roses

Mass of drift apricot roses beginning to open

Knockout roses in full bloom

Drift yellow rose – sometimes called popcorn

Today’s roses really offer us a variety of looks. Since it came on the market about 20 years ago knockout became the easy to grow favorite. And while they come in colors, the reds are the hardiest and most popular. This year in some garden centers a petite knockout is being introduced. I am anxious to try one of these “puppies” out. I will let you know what I think in a future blog. A few years ago the drift roses were introduced, and boy do they like Birmingham’s climate. While the knockouts get tall and big, drifts are more spreading than upright, and I have not see one over 3 feet tall and about as wide. All of the drift colors are very beautiful, but the difference in some of the color types vary a bit if the roses are planted in light shade or full sun. For this reason now is a great time to buy these roses, as they are in bloom. That way you can see their true colors which range from pale yellowish-white to pink to apricot and coral to red.
Now I must admit that knockout and drift are promoted as carefree, and they are compared to the old-fashioned types that seem to always have black spot in summer in our area. Recently I lost one of my climbing roses to age. I needed help on what to replace it with, and my co-worker at Southern Living who worked many years with me is now with David Austin Roses. Since she lived for many years in Birmingham she suggested Bathsheba, as I wanted an apricot climber. David Austin roses are excellent, and I think you should visit their website and learn all about their very cool selections. Check the bigger garden center to see what they have left if you can still order some online. And if you want the old fashioned hybrid-teas, now is a good time to buy the pre-potted types but a little late for the bare-rooted ones that can be ordered. So today roses have such a variety to choose from, it’s up to you as to what works for you.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

One thought on “Drift, Knockout, And Other Roses

  1. Love David Austin Roses and Antique roses. Have seen a lot of pretty white drift roses in the box stores that look attractive.

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