Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy Wilber

August 10, 2017

Roses are Red

I hope you are enjoying the “Red” issue of the Neighborhood Gardener. The color red is associated with heat, activity, passion, anger, love and joy. I think every gardener has run the gamut of those experiences—sometimes all in one day in the garden or landscape. Red is considered a warm color in the landscape and it draws the viewer’s eye. I know the first thing I see when I come around the block to my house is my red Knock Out® rose when it is in full bloom. This Knock Out® rose is unusual because it is grafted on Fortuniana root stock and this has given it the vigor to become a 10-foot beast. When it is in full bloom it is a red wonder.

Another eye-catching and easy-to-grow red rose that every Florida garden should have is my old boyfriend ‘Louis Phillipe’. He is an Old Garden Rose (OGR) in the China class. ‘Louis Phillipe’ is widely grown throughout the South and is sometimes called the “cracker rose” in Florida. Red petals surround a pink center on this sprawling free-form rose bush. They are considered a remontant rose (repeat blooming) and will tolerate a little shade in the landscape.

For you lovers of rich red colors consider the climbing rose ‘Don Juan’ that can climb as high as 12 feet high on a trellis, fence, or wall. This is the red climber by which all others are judged. The flowers are large and fragrant and the leaves are a dark glossy green. Ask me if it flowers a lot, and I will tell you, “It don juan-na quit blooming!” Maintenance such as pruning and pest control is necessary for ‘Don Juan’ but many gardeners find the red velvety blooms worth the extra effort.

A "found" rose is one that was abandoned and then later discovered thriving. Many found roses are discovered in cemeteries. A found red rose that is tolerant of poor soils is ‘Annie’s Red’. It tolerates hot, dry climates and is disease-free, all while making tons of red blooms. This spreading shrub rose makes an excellent choice for sunny landscapes. Annie's was found in Old Gay Hill, Texas.

There certainly are other red roses to consider for your landscape, so do your homework: go read Growing Roses in Florida, plan for maintenance, and put the right plant in the right place. There are many colors to choose from but red always grabs the most attention. Discover more about selecting plants with color in mind in the UF/IFAS document Color in the Landscape.

-- Wendy Wilber

Return to the August 2017 Neighborhood Gardener