Drift Roses, the Dwarf Knockout Relative

As an organic landscaper, I’ve long been annoyed by those weakling, disease-prone roses that are pesticide junkies from day one. Yet when roses are done right, the colors, fragrance, and luxuriant flowers are hard to resist. They have that old-fashioned, secret garden-type appeal that makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside.

That’s why I’ve been such a fan of the newer landscape roses like Knockouts, which need nearly no care, can be pruned by inexperienced hands with decent results, and don’t need spraying. I’ve even had luck with them in tough, windy conditions and poor soils, if they’re given regular irrigation. But sometimes you don’t have room for a bountiful 5′ behemoth in your garden beds, and just want a little color and fragrance tumbling along a border or spilling over the sides of a pot.

That’s where these new Drift Roses fit in. They’re about a third the size of Knockouts and come in a similarly cheerful array of colors. They have a light, pleasing fragrance and are easy do-ers even for beginning gardeners, so long as you give them good sunshine and summer water to get them well-established. You don’t even need to deadhead them much, as they’re self-cleaning – the petals drop off the rose once they’re finished, so you can clean up the deadheads at your leisure to encourage re-bloom, rather than rushing out to deal with a mess of guilt-inducing brown petals.

Since they’re relatively new, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to test them out, but I’m already inspired by the glossy deep green foliage and attractive form.


  1. says

    I’m with you 100% on this. I do have a few other roses in my garden, simply because I’m a sucker at the nursery and I always convince myself that this one will be different, but the thing I can’t stand is shabby looking foliage.

    These drift roses, which I’ve not heard of before, look really beautiful.

  2. jean schanen says

    This compact version of the Knock Out rose sounds like just the thing that will fit in the front of my border. I’ve tried the regular Knock Out rose, but it grows too tall and narrow. Sounds like the Drift Rose would be perfect – provided it is zone 5 hardy.

    • says

      Reports on the internet say you should be good to grow in zone 5, Jean! :) I might protect them the first year with extra mulch or maybe an old pillowcase over the top of them, but beyond that it should live happily.

  3. says

    I have heard of these, but had not seen any pictures, nor knew much about them. They look beautiful! Thanks for giving the size, and the fact that they self-clean. I, too, love roses that are easy care. They sound like a wonderful rose to have.

  4. says

    I would love some good roses. My knockouts graciously survived our crazy cold winter and they need some company. Hopefully we won’t have another winter like that for a long time!

  5. says

    Thanks for coming by my blog.
    Your site is lovely, as are these beautiful roses. The peach colored rose is stunning. It is so nice to see roses that are on the smaller size. Fragrance, no need for sprays….my kind of rose. I would be very happy to win any of them.


  6. pam says

    I have never had enough sun to grow roses, but I have also been a bit intimidated by them. I now have a place adn would like to give these a try! :-)

  7. says

    I had beginner’s luck with hybrid teas, but they’re now suffering and I’m about ready to chuck most of them. I’d love to try these! I finally got a KnockOut last year and it’s done great, so I know I’d like these smaller ones, too.

  8. says

    I love my pink Knockout rose but I’m disappointed with my Ballerina rose (which is pretty but gets fungal diseases). I’d love to try one of these miniature roses in a container.

  9. Melissa says

    I would totally love to win this. I’ve been trying to convince my boyfriend that we should try some knockout roses and he’s not buying it yet. If I won one, he wouldn’t have a choice in the matter. :)

  10. Jayme Myers says

    Oh what a lovely giveaway! I would certainly love to win one of these beautiful plants. Roses are my favorite flowers so one of these plants would be a very nice addition to our garden.

  11. Jeavonna Chapman says

    I love the Knockout Roses. These dwarfs look so cute. I bet they will work great in half barrels or patio containers as well as in the garden. Thanks for showing them to everyone.

  12. kim says

    I find that with all or most roses on the northcoast, you have to take care watering so that u get no splashing of water on foliage. That just speeds up all kinds of nasty mold, mildew and the like. I also have heard a great piece of advice which I think may only be best utilized on older , more established roses..and that is to trim from the bottom up about 1o to 15 inches. Removing ALL foliage. this helps with the spread of all kinds of things..but may not be as appealing to the eye.
    I love the KNOCKOUT roses for consistent blooming..almost year round. They also come in so many cute colors! Thanks for the article !

  13. says

    I recently discovered knockout roses. The blooms are amazing and are long lasting. I would love to add one to my home garden. Love Them!

  14. Deanna Beeler says

    Everybody know that you can donate plants (flowers and vegs) at the Arcata Reusables Depot? I’ve been a mother too long and can’t bear to toss extras into the compost and was so glad to discover that if I took them there, somebody who didn’t have enough of them could pick them up. With the larger ones, I’ve had bad fantasies of somebody buying them, trashing the plants, and using the potting soil…


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