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If you are looking for Disease Resistant Roses, or maybe you are just getting started with roses, you can't do better than choosing from those which have stood the test of time: The Award Winners.
When searching for roses which are not going to give you a lot of problems in the garden, it's a very good idea to look for roses which have won awards because they have been thoroughly tested for everything.
For the cream of the crop you can't beat those in the Rose Hall of Fame. All award winners must meet several requirements, and disease resistance is one of them. There are, however, not many of them there. But there are plenty of award winners elsewhere. They are, as it were, made for us.
We only have to choose the type: whether it be a Hybrid Tea, a Shrub Rose, a Floribunda, a Groundcover Rose, a Miniature or a Grandiflora or whatever, and all the hard work has been done for us. Someone else has chosen the roses with the best disease resistance and we just have to choose one to suit our taste and our situation and even our colour scheme. And, we can find all this out online from the comfort of our own homes. Brilliant.
The 'Peace' Rose, left, was the first of the modern roses to be inducted into the Rose Hall of Fame, in 1976. This is a very hardy, disease resistant rose. It is also available as a climber. Find out more about this amazing rose. The Peace Rose.
I honestly thought I would be looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack when I began looking for disease resistant roses, which used to be virtually impossible to find. But I got a very pleasant surprise. Not only are there a lot, but some of them are extremely beautiful and fragrant as well. There really are enough to go round as far as having our cake and eating it too is possible in our gardens.
The following disease resistant roses are only some of the All-America Rose Selections (AARS). These are winners. The very first AARS award winner s were 'Grand Duchess Charlotte' and 'Mary Margaret McBride'. So the awards go back a long time and there certainly are plenty of them. But these special roses are disease resistant, not disease free. They may still become diseased for many reasons, but they can tolerate it better, especially with organic sprays and other organic products.
The tough award winning Wichurana Rambler 'New Dawn'. AARS 2000.
Not only is it easy to keep, it is very fragrant. It was developed in 1930 and is repeat flowering with 3" blooms and looks divine over an archway or a trellis against a wall. Modern climbers were based upon this very special rose which is a real winner among the disease resistant roses. New Dawn now has its own page.
For your 'New Dawn' rose to flourish, plant it in the sunniest spot in your garden, give it plenty of space so it has enough air circulation, and as with all roses (and plants, for that matter), always try to avoid the foliage when you water. Watering the leaves encourages fungal diseases which love humidity.
I know that this happens when it rains, but we're talking about 'extra' watering of the leaves in between showers. Always water around the roots. Remember that roses love a good watering but not too often. Watering their foliage only encourages black spot and powdery mildew which thrive in moist conditions. For good disease resistance - the best chance you can give them - prevention is better than cure.
An important note about Rose Disease: If you do have a rose with a disease such as Black Spot or Powdery Mildew, always, always, take off the diseased leaves or blooms, wrap them up and put them in the bin. This step is crucial! Anything left over will continue to thrive and spread and you'll be back where you started. In SE Queensland Black Spot is one of our worst enemies so we can't be too careful. Fortunately for us, there is a very special Nursery which breeds roses especially for Queensland. They have others of course, but these are very special.
Garden Express stocks them along with a huge variety of other flowering plants. From Garden Express: "Brindabella Roses have the ability to thrive in heat and humid conditions making them well suited to the vast majority of the suburbs of major capital cities as well as right up and down the east coast of Australia. The bushy plants grow to 1 metre tall and wide and have dark green foliage. They are great as bush roses in the garden and also very suitable for pots and have a well above average black spot resistance".
Apricot Nectar. AARS 1966.
The divine Hybrid Tea rose 'Apricot Nectar' is a climbing rose as well as a shrub. It is hardy and quite vigorous with a strong fruity fragrance (very nice, actually). I have lived with this rose and I loved it. It certainly has a beautiful perfume. It will not let you down with its repeat flowering and will even reach about 12 feet. Introduced in 1965 by Boerner from Jackson and Perkins. The shrub form won the AARS Award in 1966. A rose of beauty and fragrance. And free of diseases. I have lived with this rose in South East Queensland and it lives up to its name. No Black Spot or anything else. I think you could grow it just about anywhere. It certainly is a great disease resistant rose. Photo Credit: Stan Shebs.
Hybrid Tea Rose 'Sutter's Gold'. AARS 1950.
An excellent garden rose. Very fragrant with vigorous growth and a repeat bloomer. The orange petals may be tipped with red giving it a spectacular appearance. The blooms may be up to 5" across. A light pruning , morning sun (always best for roses), regular watering (but not too much) and about 6 hours of sun each day, is all this beauty requires of you. Also, leave plenty of air around it and give it some rose food following the directions on the packet or on the card which came with the rose when you bought it. A light pruning after the flowering season is over will ensure beautiful blooms from Summer through to the first frost. This rose is an all time winner among the disease resistant roses.
The sumptuous rose 'Perfume Delight'. AARS 1974.
It's secret? It boasts the 'Peace' rose in its lineage. A beautiful Hybrid Tea rose which is excellent for cut flowers. This is an upright shrub rose with heavy old fashioned Damask fragrance. It will grow to 4 0r 5 feet. It flowers from mid-summer right through to Autumn. When it has finished flowering it should be cut back (gently). A good rose food and frequent watering (not too much) and plenty of room around it for air to circulate is all it needs. A great disease resistant rose.
Carefree Wonder. AARS 1991.
This beautiful disease resistant rose lives up to its name and we don't even have to miss out on all the extras. It is a shrub rose which will grow to 5 feet and its petals are creamy white on the reverse side giving it a stunning effect when in full bloom. It even attracts the hummingbirds and has a delightful fragrance. The blooms may be 4'" across and it flowers from Spring through to Autumn. As well as being a disease resistant rose, it is also drought tolerant depending on which zone you live in, but this rose ticks all the right boxes for me. Very minimal maintenance. Definitely disease resistant. It has its own page right here. The Carefree Wonder Rose.
Rio Samba. AARS 1993.
Very aptly named with very fruity cooling colours, this rose would look great on the patio beside the pool. It says: 'Refreshing' to me. It is a Hybrid Tea shrub rose which will grow to 4 feet in height and has a spread of about 1.5 - 2 feet. The blooms are up to 5" across. It makes an excellent hedge or privacy screen because it is dense right down to the ground. It won't need fill in plants at the front. It has a delightful light fragrance and dark green foliage which sets it off nicely.
As with other award winners it may live to 30 years depending on its position, the soil quality and good drainage. It needs full sun - about 6 hours per day. And of course it is repeat flowering from mid Spring right through to Autumn. Just give it a good, light prune after the flowering season is over. As long as you have the right spot and well drained good soil, the award winners should make it without any problems.
The gorgeous swirling petals of the 'First Prize' rose. AARS 1970.
Another Hybrid Tea with creamy white on the reverse side of each petal, giving a glimpse of cream, white and pink all at the same time across the whole bush. It can grow up to 5 feet and spread up to 2.5 feet. Long lasting as a cut flower and exhibition quality blooms up to 6" or more across, each petal itself being very large. It will thrive even with neglect. Very fragrant and a repeat bloomer from mid Spring through to Autumn. Best in full sun. This is a deciduous (in cold climates) disease resistant rose.
The Bonica Rose.
With its pretty pink petals and prize winning disease resistance qualities, this beautiful rose in the Modern Rose Hall of Fame. And no wonder. It is simply delightful and one of the most popular, easy to grow roses in the world. It's a Floribunda shrub rose which also comes in a climbing form. And it has its own page. (Some roses deserve that). Read all about it here. The Bonica Rose.
Glorious Floribunda Rose "Sunflare'. AARS 1983.
This rose is special. Not only is it a disease resistant rose, but it is so hardy it will tolerate heat and cold. Its bright yellow, 'sunny' blooms are up to 4" across. Its foliage is dense so it is good for privacy screening and does not need fill in plants around it. It repeat flowers from late Spring through to Autumn. A gentle Spring pruning is all it needs. A shrub rose, it will grow to about 4 feet in height and has the same spread. On the whole it is a true spreading shrub and therefore it is excellent for a hedge as well. Because it is a Floribunda, it has a large amount of blooms on each stem. Unbelievable quality and quantity.
Red Knock Out Rose. AARS 2000.
This rose has a very interesting history in that it includes quite a few ancestors which are well known. Some of them you may recognize. They include 'Carefree Beauty', 'Razzle Dazzle', and 'Playboy'. Developed by William Radler, this family of roses are all Knock Outs.This rose and its other family members are guaranteed to be disease resistant, especially to Black Spot. They are also self cleaning which means no dead-heading. As well as being disease resistant roses, they are tolerant of dry conditions and require hardly any care at all. They grow to a height of 3 - 4 feet and develop a beautiful shape as they are the same in width. They flower from late Spring through to Autumn. They have a light fragrance and the butterflies love them. Ideal for a hedge or screening plant, as well as being disease resistant.
Fourth of July. AARS 1999.
No wonder this rose is beautiful. One of its parents is the very popular climber 'Altissimo'. The other parent is 'Roller Coaster'. It will grow up to 14 feet, and is fragrant. (But it may be grown as a shrub in cooler climates). Its stunning red and white blooms are 4" across with a sweet apple fragrance and it is very hardy. It flowers repeatedly from Summer through to Autumn and, of course, it requires little care. Its petals are velvety and the blooms are arranged in clusters, really showing it off against a background of dark green foliage. A wonderful gift for Independence Day. High disease resistance.
Easy Does It. AARS 2010.
This orange, mango, citrus, peach combination provides the perfect rose. Not only is it stunning but it is tough and reliable and it is a Floribunda which means you get plenty of it. The petals are lightly perfumed and tend to be arranged in layers of frills. It will grow to a height of about 4 feet and a spread of 3 feet, with great resistance to disease. It is perfect for most climates. Grows anywhere. Very little upkeep on this beauty. With 4" showy blooms it flowers repeatedly from Spring through to Autumn. Excellent disease resistance. Requires full sun, usually about 6 hours a day. And roses just love early morning sun.
'Whisper'. AARS 2003.
Looking like the topping on a Lemon Meringue Pie, this is another disease resistant rose. It doesn't get Black Spot, or Rust or even Powdery Mildew. Its stunning blooms are 5" across and it grows to a height of 4 feet and almost the same across. It flowers repeatedly in Spring and Summer and has a mild fragrance. The buds are creamy yellow opening to creamy white and then white. Its dark green foliage really sets off the white. A winner for sure. This one could be trained as a standard or tree rose.
'Hot Cocoa'. AARS 2003.
This is a unique, special rose. A complete contrast to the 'Whisper' rose above. The petals are actually ruffled around the edges. I would describe the colour as deep chocolate red. As it is a Floribunda, once again you get plenty of it. It is fragrant and ticks all the boxes for a disease resistant rose. It is a shrub which grows to 4 - 5 feet in height and is almost as wide. It requires nothing more than full sun, good drainage and good soil. It will flower repeatedly and give you big blooms from early Summer right through to Autumn. Photo Credit.
'Strike It Rich'. AARS 2007.
A Grandiflora (a cross between a Floribunda and a Hybrid Tea) rose with orange-red tones. Grows to 6 feet in height, and is very fragrant. The blooms are 5" across and the colours change through yellow, gold and red. Its perfume is strong and spicy. Being a Grandiflora, there are many blooms on each stem, and the stems themselves are very long. Long lasting, flowering from Spring through Summer. Its canes are a rather unique feature - they are red. And of course, it is a disease resistant rose.
AARS Winners. A Complete List.
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'Take time to smell the roses'. Old Proverb.