Robust Roses

Find out the key to growing great roses, even in unpredictable midwest weather.

red rose

Photo: Valerie Everett

Remember to grow varieties that are robust in your zone and give them plenty of water.

Those of us who live in very cold winters often try to grow Canadian roses, but they don’t like our hot humid summers.We need to grow roses that will tolerate both heat and cold.

During the past summer I visited a lovely rose garden in Southern Indiana, an area not noted for roses.

I asked the gardener what was her advice about growing roses. Her answer was just one word – water.

I have been thinking about this ever since and have vowed to be more conscientious about watering my own roses.

Best of the Midwest

I grow a number of Dr Griffith Buck’s cultivars. He was a Professor at Iowa State University in Ames Iowa and developed 75 varieties that can withstand the extremes of both cold winters and hot humid summers in zones 4 and 5.

‘Carefree Beauty’ is a lovely landscape shrub rose with bright pink blooms and ‘Buckeye Belle’ is a paler pink. All Buck roses are robust and provide lots of flowers all through the growing season.

Regular deep watering to the roots, without wetting the foliage, is the best strategy as this helps resistance to black spot and mildew. It also keeps the blooms coming right through the fall.

Midwestern gardeners can see Buck roses in Ames in the Reiman Public Gardens (check out www.reimangardens.iastate.edu) .

This past summer my new Knockout roses proved to be very easy care too.

Remember to grow varieties that are robust in your zone and give them plenty of water.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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