There are endless varieties of roses for gardeners to choose from. Some prefer the iconic long-stemmed rose, while others love the wild rose look. Many aspiring landscapers also use roses as a ground cover. When searching for groundcover roses, you may stumble upon carpet roses and drift roses. These two varieties are incredibly similar, but are they the same?
In this article, we’ll dive into carpet roses vs. drift roses and discover their similarities and differences.
Let’s dig in!
Comparing Carpet Roses vs. Drift Roses
|Carpet Roses||Drift Roses|
|Size||Grow up to 4′ tall and 3′ wide.||Grow up to 18 inches tall and 3′ wide.|
|Structure||Disease resistant but prone to rot if overwatered.||Low-growing and compact with dense clusters of small blooms along the stem.|
|Colors||Yellow, white, pink, red, and orange hues.||Yellow, white, pink, red, and orange hues.|
|Growth Environment||USDA zones 5-10.||USDA zones 4-11.|
|Disease and Pest Control||Disease resistant, but prone to rot if overwatered.||Disease resistant, but prone to rot if overwatered.|
|Uses||Groundcover and hedges.||Groundcover and potted displays.|
What Are Carpet Roses?
Carpet roses are a type of groundcover rose produced by the German horticulture company Noack Rosen. Flower Carpet® is the brand name of the groundcover roses cultivated and sold by this company.
The Flower Carpet® series, colloquially known as “carpet roses,” is designed for easy naturalization and spreading with minimal maintenance. They’re known for small blossoms with a continuous growing season. Noack Rosen indicates that carpet roses can produce up to 2000 blooms per season!
Carpet roses come in shades of yellow, pink, red, and white. Some popular varieties include Flower Carpet® ‘Coral’ (Rosa x ‘Noala’) and Flower Carpet® Red (Rosa x ‘Noare’). Carpet roses grow in USDA zones 5-10.
What Are Drift Roses?
Drift roses are another type of groundcover rose developed by Star Roses and Plants, the breeder famous for producing The Knock Out® roses. The Drift Series® is also a brand name that’s been genericized in the gardening community.
Drift® roses (the brand) are a hybrid of the famous Knock Out® roses and unknown miniature rose cultivars. This series filled the gap between Flower Carpet® roses and Knock Out® roses, allowing Star Roses and Plants to be more competitive. Like carpet roses, these flowers are designed to naturalize and spread while staying low.
Drift roses come in shades of yellow, pink, red, and white. Popular cultivars include Apricot Drift® (Rosa x ‘Meimirrote’) and Red Drift® (Rosa x ‘Meigalpio’). Drift roses grow in USDA zones 4-11 in full sun.
Carpet Roses vs. Drift Roses: Key Differences
Many gardeners use the terms carpet roses, drift roses, and groundcover roses interchangeably. In reality, both carpet roses and drift roses are branded cultivars of groundcover roses.
Carpet roses tend to be taller than drift roses, with some varieties growing up to four feet tall. Drift roses tend to max out at 18 inches tall. Their naturalization and spreading habits are quite similar.
Carpet roses are leggier than drift roses, with longer stems spreading out and more space between blossoms. Many gardeners report having better luck growing drift roses with fuller, denser clusters of blooms.
Similarly, gardeners with tough soil report drift roses performing better than carpet roses. This finding is likely due to slight variations in USDA zones. Carpet roses grow best in USDA zones 5-10, while Drift roses are designed for USDA zones 4-11.
Growing and Caring for Carpet Roses
Carpet roses are low maintenance and easy to care for. Provide full sunlight and nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Water during drought periods, soaking the base of the plant and avoiding overhead moisture.
Monitor your carpet roses for signs of pests and decay, trimming away affected parts of the plant. Pruning and deadheading aren’t necessary, but they can promote healthy growth. Pruning will also help you shape your carpet roses as they spread.
Growing and Caring for Drift Roses
Drift roses thrive in full sunlight but will tolerate partial shade (especially if a part of the plant gets plenty of sun). Plant these low-maintenance roses in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil.
Water regularly during drought periods, relying on rainwater during fringe seasons. Prune as desired to shape your plant or remove pest-ridden or diseased portions. Deadheading during the dormant season can help promote new growth.
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