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

Ground Cover Rose
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(Image credit: Gardening Know How, via Stan V. Griep)

Groundcover 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 groundcover roses.

What are Ground Cover Roses?

Ground cover rose bushes are low growing with a strong spreading habit and are considered 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 groundcover 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 are 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 groundcover roses in hanging pots also makes for a great display.

Ground Cover Rose Care

Ground cover roses are also typically hardy roses and are 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 groundcover 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 groundcover roses are named Rainbow Happy Trails and Sunshine Happy Trails. Rainbow Happy Trails has beautifully blended pink and yellow 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 groundcover roses that were taller and more bushy roses than one would want for a true “ground cover” rose bush.

Stan V. Griep

Stan V. Griep contributed to Gardening Know How for many years. An American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian in the Rocky Mountain District, he served as Gardening Know How's in-house expert on all things roses.