Drift Rose Flower Plant Care

If you are looking for the quintessential plant to fill a small sunny garden with color but don’t have hours of your time to sacrifice in the garden, drift roses are the obvious choice.

They grow into manageable mounded shrubs, have minimum demands, come in an assortment of vivid colors, and are prolific repeat bloomers.

In this post, we will cover what a drift rose is, whether they are the best type of rose to plant in your yard, and finally, how to provide the best drift rose care.

What is a Drift Rose?

Drift roses are hybridized between miniature roses and ground cover roses.

They bloom continuously in the warm seasons, require very little maintenance, and are suited for borders or small spaces.

On average, they grow up to one foot in height and two feet in width.

This means you won’t have to spend time trying to control your rose bush’s growth and continuously navigating thorns to prune it.

Drift rose bushes are “self-cleaning,” meaning that once the flowers are done, they will dry and drop off (without forming rose hips) and don’t have to be constantly beheaded to encourage more flowers to form.


Drift roses grow in USDA growing zones 4–11, but it is recommended that you mulch around the plants in winter in zones 5 and 4, or in places that receive heavy frost.

Drift Rose Colors

Drift roses are a trademark collection that was bred by a United States grower called the Conard-Pyle Company in Pennsylvania.

There are ten different colors in the Drift Rose collection. They come in various shades of pink, yellow, and orange, as well as pure red and white.

Advantages of Drift Roses Versus Knock Out Roses

Drift roses and Knock Out roses were developed by the same company and have a lot in common in terms of their disease resistance and prolific flowering capacities.

But the one advantage that Drift roses have in streaks above Knock Out is that they maintain a compact and dainty size.

Knock Out will grow to a considerable, rambling size if it is not kept neatly pruned back each year.

The Most Common Types of Drift Roses

Drift roses are classified by the shape of the blossoms that they produce. The most common types of drift roses are:

  1. Double Blossoms
  2. Semi-Double Blossoms
  3. Cuplike Blossoms

Double Blossoms:


Doubles have multiple rows and layers of petals, increasing in size from the center to the largest outer set, creating a full ruffled cluster of petals. 

  • Apricot Drift (Rosa Meimirrote)Pale apricot-colored full-double blossoms with dozens of small pink-orange petals.
  • Sweet Drift (Rosa Meiswetdom): Pink full-double blossoms with a tight center surrounded by rows and rows of medium pink petals.
  • Blushing Drift (Rosa Meifranjin): Pale marshmallow pink with a buttery yellow center. This double-blooming drift rose does not have as many petals as the other doubles in the collection but displays a sunny yellow center.
  • White Drift (Rosa Meizorland): A frilly, pure white, fully double miniature rose that might show some predisposition to Sweet Drift colors from time to time. Spent blooms may have brown discoloration.

Semi-Double Blossoms:

  • Pink Drift (Rosa Meijocos): Hot pink petals with a white to light pink faded center open wide and flat but do not have any smaller petals clustered in their center like the doubles. 

Cuplike Blossoms


Cup-shaped blooms have longer outer petals that curve towards the middle of the flower, creating a curved cup around the center.

  • Coral Drift (Rosa Meidrifora): Vibrant dark pink-orange and perhaps the most disease resistant, winter hardy, and drought-tolerant amongst a collection.
  • Lemon Drift (Rosa Meisenthal): Medium yellow flowers have a strong pale yellow color without being overly bright, and bushes have a tight, rounded growth habit.
  • Peach Drift (Rosa Meiggili): Blooms are soft pink with orange tints and a yellow center. It is very disease-resistant and carries the most blooms of all the Drift roses. Its slightly bigger flowers have colors that are reminiscent of a spectacular sunset.
  • Red Drift (Rosa Meigalpio): Red petite blooms are, in fact, the smallest of the collection at only 0.75 inches across the flower when compared to the others, which average 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • Popcorn Drift (Rosa Novarospop): Pale yellow to off-white blooms. The buds are the pale yellow color of soft butter, but they fade to a lighter cream as they open and may sometimes show a tendency towards peach drift coloration.

Drift Rose Care Guide

Drift roses are fairly easy to grow in your flower garden.

Just remember, when you remove your drift rose from its nursery pot, release the root ball by giving the plastic pot a little squeeze.

Be careful when removing the plant and if the root ball is trapped in the container, use a long knife or garden shears to cut the pot away.

Read further for more on drift rose care.



Although Drift roses are not fussy plants, they do their best in neutral soil with pH levels of 5.5–6.5, which is well-drained.

Soil moisture should remain damp around the roots but drain well and not become waterlogged to avoid root rot.

Add a decent amount of organic matter or potting soil around the plant to help it retain moisture and also increase soil drainage.



Drift roses are fairly drought-resistant and only need a deep, soaking watering once or twice per week when they are establishing new roots after being planted.

After planting your Drift roses, be sure to thoroughly saturate the soil to approximately the height of the root ball.

However, you might like to keep these supplementary weekly waterings up if you experience particularly hot and dry summers.

The best thing is to check on your plants regularly, and if you see signs of wilting or drooping leaves, give them water.

During the winter, they shouldn’t need water, especially if you mulch around the plant.

There is a chance of root rot if they are not allowed to dry out between waterings, so don’t be overzealous.

If you have to overwinter your roses indoors, check that their containers don’t dry out completely and give them a little water if necessary.


These plants love the full, direct sun shining on them for at least six hours. So find a sunny spot in the garden for them; the sunnier, the better.

They can tolerate a little shade, but make sure they do get some sunlight during the day.

Do you fertilize drift roses?

Fertilizing drift roses is not necessary. However, if you are resolved to getting the maximum flowers out of your drift rose, you can give it a slow-release fertilizer after its second year.

Don’t fertilize it before its first blooming season is complete.

Make sure the soil around the plant is moist before you apply rose food so that the fertilizer has no chance of burning the plant’s root ball.

Do not fertilize in the late fall when the plants are getting ready to go dormant because fertilizing may trigger new growth, and you run the risk of damaging the plant when the first frosts hit these tender new shoots.

Pests and Diseases

Thanks to some very disease-hardy genes inherited from the ground cover roses, they are resistant to common rose diseases like rust, black spot, and powdery mildew.

Speaking of diseases, Drift roses will get stressed from pests and insects infesting them. Spider mites, leafcutter ants, aphids, and Japanese beetles may damage it. If insect damage becomes an issue, a rose meal containing a systemic insecticide can be used.

How and When to Prune Drift Roses


Drift roses don’t need vigorous pruning as they will not grow much taller than 2-3 feet, thanks to the genes that they inherited from their miniature rose lineage.

Don’t prune them more than halfway back if you prefer to keep your roses compact and neat—in other words, prune only about a third of the stem.

Some also believe it increases flowering vigor.

However, with plants already producing 5–6 cycles per summer, it’s not necessary for these overachieving repeat bloomers.

Should drift roses be cut back?

If you think your Drift rose has died over winter, you can try cutting it back to 6 inches in early spring.

This conserves a stressed plant’s strength and redirects energy to the plant’s roots.

It may very well still sprout new canes from its rootstock with a little love and attention under the right growing conditions, so don’t give up on it just yet.

When should I plant drift roses?

Drift Rose Flower Plant Care | UrbanOrganicYield.comPin

You can plant Drift roses from early spring through to late autumn.

Keep in mind that they go dormant during the winter and have a higher chance of being susceptible to fungus in the cold, damp conditions, so it is better to allow them to establish before subjecting them to this stress.

The same goes for the summer heat. They will do fine planted out in the summer, but extra care to water them consistently and stop them from drying out will have to be taken.

Therefore, the absolute best seasons to plant your Drift roses are during the spring or early fall. 

Drift Groundcover Roses Spacing

Drift roses are less than 2 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. Plant new plants with 2 feet of space between them, or 4 feet measured between the centers of two rose bushes.

If you are trying to establish a ground cover, you can plant rows in a staggered, zig-zag pattern so that they grow matted together.

This will also discourage weeds from growing between them.

Drift Rose Landscape Ideas


As the name suggests, these Drift roses grow low to the ground and spread outwards as they “drift” across the landscape.

This makes them the perfect groundcover for hills, cascading over low retaining walls or rambling along walkways.

You can plant them at the front of a border garden or in between other low-growing garden plants.

Planting only one variety of drift roses will create a solid wall of color, or you can interplant different varieties that complement each other for a more natural wildflower look.

Even if you don’t have a garden, drift roses are such rewarding flowers that they make the perfect miniature shrub for containers on the patio.

Plant them into individual pot planters or clump three together in a long trough or window box.

They are compact enough to pass as indoor plants if you have a spot in your house that receives 4-6 hours of full sun.

Remember, if you don’t live in a place in a growing zone where drift roses don’t thrive, you can always bring them inside for the winter to protect them from damage.

Where to Buy Drift Roses?

You can buy Drift roses at most garden centers in your area. However, if you want to buy them online, we suggest getting them from our friends at Naturehills.com. They always deliver plants in good shape and are so helpful.


Are Drift roses high maintenance?

The amount of care you have to give drift roses is minimal; they are resistant to disease, are hardy plants that can grow in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 10, and if cared for properly, they produce an abundance of blooms.

Can you propagate drift roses?

Yes, you can propagate drift roses. You can simply prune your drift roses and use stem cuttings to propagate the plant. Just get stem cuttings that are 2 to 4 inches in length. Place them in some water, and within a few weeks, you should expect to see roots forming. To supercharge the process, we recommend using rooting hormones.

Can drift roses grow in pots?

Yes, drift Roses can be grown in pots or planters. In fact, they thrive and are ideal for hanging baskets; they look great in pots and bloom for months. Planting roses in containers is an excellent alternative for those of us who cannot plant in the ground.


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