Disease-Resistant Roses for Damp Coastal Climates

It’s bare-root season, guys, and the roses are cheap and plentiful! I’ve written before about how to select a bare-root rose and about some disease-resistant rose varieties for the coastal Pacific Northwest.

I wanted to follow up with some additional suggestions that our local rose expert, Cynthia Graebner of Fickle Hill Old Rose Nursery, left in the comments of one of those posts.

She suggested these varieties, many of which I had never heard of, as being both gorgeous and disease-resistant in our cool coastal climate:

Recommended Austin Roses (most Austins make good cut roses, she says!):


A Shropshire Lad

Golden Celebration

Brother Cadfael

Mary Rose

Abraham Darby


Pat Austin

Recommended hybrid musks:



Buff Beauty

Lavender Lassie


And some other assorted roses that do well without chemicals:



Mme Alfred Carriere


Reve d’Or

Narrow Water

Rose hip from Rosa rugosa 'Fran Dagmar Hastrup' at Fickle Hill Old Rose NurseryAs Cynthia so aptly said – “So many good ones….why why why plant chemical dependent sad roses??”

If you’re lucky enough to live locally to Cynthia Graebner (her nursery is in Arcata, CA), then you can get many of these varieties by giving her a call either now or later in the season to ask after potted roses (she doesn’t do bare-root), or catch her at the Arcata Farmer’s Market. She’s at (707) 826-0708.

Another astute commentor, Tom of Tall Clover Farm, left his suggestions for roses that do well for him without spraying in the Seattle area:

Madame Alfred Carriere — a noisette rose, pinkish white, climber,fragrant
Sombreuil – gorgeous white fragrant confection, frgrant
Don Juan — red climber, fragrant and reliable
Francois Juranville — big rambler, thornless, once blooming but gorgeous

I enjoy Sombreuil in a local client’s garden and it looks gorgeous without pesticides, and I’ve heard good things about Don Juan.

If you enjoy the beauty, fragrance and cut flowers of roses, but aren’t into the whole spraying scene (think of the honeybees!), then check out these varieties and choose a sturdy, healthy rose that will perform for you without nasty chemicals.

If you’re outside of Humboldt County or want a variety that Cynthia doesn’t carry, try ordering bare-root from Regan Nursery, which has an overwhelmingly great selection and gives honest information about the performance of each of the roses they stock.

Articles mentioned:

How to select a bare-root rose

Disease-resistant roses for the coastal Pacific Northwest

Amy Stewart’s excellent article about her visit to Cynthia Graebner’s Fickle Hill Old Rose Nursery

And further reading for rose fans:

How to prune roses

Rose humor – the incomparable Dr Leda Horticulture from Regan Rose Nursery


  1. says

    Thanks for this excellent resource-rich rose post. While fog and dampness is not exactly a problem in rose-growing season for us here, I’m really happy to see you touting spray-free roses and giving people sources (if I’m ever in Arcata again, I’ll have to stop by Fickle Hill Nursery). I’m an old-rose fan from way back – and by extension a David Austin rose fan. People need to know how great these roses are!
    .-= Pomona Belvedere´s last blog ..Moss Garden: Slow Evolution =-.

    • says

      Rebecca, thanks so much for the link! Funny that we’re both doing roses this week!!

      Tom, thank YOU for sharing such great info about which roses are working for you! First-hand info is the best for figuring out which plants will do best in a climate.

      Congrats to you Maya!! And thanks for stopping by!

      Thanks for your nice comment, Pomona! Definitely, if you come by Arcata give Cindy a ring – and me, too! I’d love to meet you and have an excuse to go see Cindy’s garden again.


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