What Are Ground Cover Roses: Tips On Caring For Ground Cover Roses

What Are Ground Cover Roses: Tips On Caring For Ground Cover Roses

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By: Stan V. Griep, American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian, Rocky Mountain District

Ground cover rose bushes are fairly new and are actually in the official classification of shrub roses. The Ground Cover, or Carpet Roses, label was created by those marketing the roses for sale but actually are quite fitting labels for them. Let’s learn more about growing ground cover roses.

What are Ground Cover Roses?

Ground cover rose bushes are low growing with a strong spreading habit and are considered as landscape roses by some folks. Their canes run out along the surface of the ground, creating a carpet of beautiful blooms. They flower very well indeed!

My first experience with ground cover roses came in the 2015 growing season and I have to tell you that I am now a big fan of them. The long spreading canes are continuously blooming and so pretty. When the sun kisses those masses of bloom smiles, it is a scene surely fitting of heavenly gardens!

These roses, however, do not seem to create such a thick mat of canes and foliage so as to create problems. I have seen some folks use them along the top portion of retaining walls where their spreading canes create a genuinely gorgeous cascade of color draping the otherwise bland walls. Planting the ground cover roses in hanging pots also makes for a great display.

Ground Cover Rose Care

Ground cover roses are also typically hardy roses and pretty much carefree. When caring for ground cover roses, they will respond well to fertilizing but do not necessarily need regular feedings. Nor do they need regular spraying or deadheading. That said, when I spray my other roses with fungicide, I will go ahead and give my ground cover roses a spraying too. It just makes sense, like the old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The bloom production without deadheading is truly amazing.

My first two ground cover roses are named Rainbow Happy Trails and Sunshine Happy Trails. Rainbow Happy Trails has beautiful blended pink and yellow bloom blooms with glistening texture to their petals, unbelievably radiant when kissed by the sun. I suppose it would come as no surprise that the lemony yellow bloom on Sunshine Happy Trails has the same radiance when kissed by the sun too but still performs well in shadier locations.

Some other ground cover rose bushes are:

  • Sweet Vigorosa – deep bluish pink with a white eye
  • Electric Blanket – cozy warm coral
  • Red Ribbons – long lasting bright red
  • Scarlet Meidiland – bright red
  • White Meidiland – pure white
  • Happy Chappy – pink, apricot, yellow and orange blends
  • Wedding Dress – pure bright white
  • Beautiful Carpet – deep rich rose pink
  • Hertfordshire – cheery pink

There are many others found online but be careful and be sure to read the growth habit listed for these rose bushes. In my search of ground cover rose information, I found some listed as ground cover roses that were taller and more bushy roses than one would want for a true “ground-cover” rose bush.

This article was last updated on

Growing Groundcover Roses

Related To:

Pale Pink Rose in a Green Garden

The so-called groundcover roses could be considered the hobbits of the genus. Short in stature, spreading in girth, these roses are for the most part robust, hardworking garden plants. Like all roses, they appreciate generous feedings, but in other respects they're undemanding customers. And those of you who have better things to do than lug around a sprayer will find that most of them can do without fungicides.

What constitutes a groundcover rose? Rose experts recognize no official class by that name, but marketers and growers have come to apply the term to any rose that's shorter than average (typically topping out at one to three feet) and wider than tall — particularly when the plant is free-blooming and easy-care. "Groundcover" is more or less code for "compact, fuss-free, and puts on a great show in the landscape, but don't expect huge long-stemmed blossoms."

No rose truly behaves like a groundcover, of course, so it won't choke out weeds or form dense mats as would ivy, vinca or pachysandra. Plant groundcover roses where you want low-growing splashes of color — as with beds of annuals — or a low shrubby border to accent a path, a highlight for the front of a bed, a swath of bloom to cover a gentle slope, or an accent plant to flow from a container.

Here are a few garden-worthy varieties to consider:

Flower Carpet Coral: Sporting a gorgeous new shade in the series that put groundcover roses on the map, Flower Carpet Coral bears single, ruffled, coppery-pink blooms with golden stamens. Introduced in 2002, the plant is said to be as disease-resistant as the original Flower Carpet. Its leaves are glossy and medium-green blooms are produced in generous clusters that darken to a reddish-coral as they age. Plants grow two to three feet tall and up to four feet wide. Hardy to Zone 5.

'Baby Blanket': This gorgeous little shrub's softly frilled pink blossoms look good enough to eat. But don't let the cutie-pie name fool you — this baby is tough enough to resist both disease and cold. A product of the Kordes nursery in Germany, 'Baby Blanket' has won three gold medals. The foliage is small, shiny and dark green the bush is shrubby but diminutive, reaching a height of three feet and a width of five feet. It repeats well, producing generous clusters of bloom. Hardy to Zone 4.

'Electric Blanket': Here's another promising Kordes offering. Lush, double, salmon-pink blooms with a light, sweet scent cover this 18-inch-tall floribunda. Plants spread to about two feet, with healthy dark-green foliage. 'Electric Blanket' won honors in Germany's ADR trials, which test roses in a number of microclimates over a three-year-period with no spraying. Survivors are by definition ironclad.

Our Rosy Carpet - Tall Weeping Standard Ground Cover Rose

(Korsilan - syn. Palmergarten Frankfurt) - Bright pink semi-double flowers that totally cover the plant. Very prolific over the full seasons. Semi-pendulous. Recurrent.

Tall weeping standards have a stem height of approximately 1.7m.

Plant Information
Category Tall Weeping Standard Rose
Breeder Kordes' Roses
Features & Growth Habit
Treloar's Health Rating 4 Star Health Rating
Flower Colour Pink
Rose Type Ground Cover Rose
Ideal For
Tropical Climates Yes
Disclaimer Every care is taken to provide accurate descriptions and information on each variety. Please note that characteristics will vary depending on the growing conditions. The information provided below may not be completely accurate for your climate or growing conditions.

The stem height of standard and weeping roses is measured from ground level to the graft. The height indicated on our standard and weeping roses is an appoximate only. The exact height of the stem may vary.

The colour images and descriptions are to be used as a guide only. Every care is taken to accurately describe growth habits and reproduce the correct colour in images. However, other factors such as Australia's varied climatic conditions, seasons and soil type can affect blooming and rose growth.

Bare Rooted Rose

Please note this product is a bare rooted rose for delivery in Winter 2021 only. What is a bare rooted rose? Click here.


Earn Rose Reward Points by purchasing with us online. Click here for more information on our reward system.

  • Breeder: Kordes
  • Product Code: WOURROSY
  • Reward Points earnt if purchased: 400
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $82.50
  • Price in reward points: 8000


Click here to learn more about our Treloar's Health Rating.

Planting times for moss rose vary depending on the specific USDA plant hardiness zone. In zone 8, planting time is May through July. In zone 9, you can plant moss rose in May through October, and in zone 11, it can be planted as late as November. Moss rose is frost tender and will die back at the first freeze in winter. In frost-free areas it will grow through the winter months. In all climate zones, moss rose is likely to self-propagate from seed, but for a reliable ground cover, plant on replanting from seed or starts each year.

Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.

Rambling/shrub rose Seafoam 175mm Pot

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