Performance of Landscape Roses Grown with Minimal Input in the North-central, Central, and South-central United States Academic Article uri icon


  • Landscape roses (Rosa sp.) are popular flowering shrubs. Consumers are less willing or able to maintain landscape beds than in years past and require plants that are not only attractive, but well-adapted to regional climatic conditions, soil types, and disease and pest pressures. Marketing and distribution of rose cultivars occurs on a national level; therefore, it is difficult for U.S. consumers in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zones 3 to 5 to identify well-adapted, cold-hardy cultivars. Identifying suitable cultivars that have strong genetic resistance to pests and disease and that will tolerate temperature extremes without winter protection in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3 to 5 is of tremendous value to consumers and retailers in northern states. Twenty landscape rose cultivars, primarily developed in north-central North America, were evaluated at five locations in the United States (three in the north-central United States, one in the central United States, and one in the south-central United States) using the low-input, multiyear Earth-Kind methodology. Six roses had 75% plant survival at the end of the study and were in the top 50% of performers for overall mean horticultural rating at each of the three north-central U.S. sites: Lena, Frontenac, Ole, Polar Joy, Sunrise Sunset, and Sven. Five of these six roses met the same criteria at the central United States (exception Lena) and the south-central United States (exception Polar Joy) sites. Cultivar, rating time, and their interaction were highly significant, and block effects were not significant for horticultural rating for all single-site analyses of variance. Significant positive correlations were found between sites for flower number, flower diameter, and overall horticultural rating. Significant negative correlations were found between flower number and diameter within each site and also between black spot (Diplocarpon rosae) lesion size from a previous study and overall horticultural rating for three of the five sites. Cane survival ratings were not significantly correlated with overall horticultural rating, suggesting some cultivars can experience severe winter cane dieback, yet recover and perform well. Data from this study benefit multiple stakeholders, including nurseries, landscapers, and consumers, with evidence-based regional cultivar recommendations and breeders desiring to identify regionally adapted parents.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zlesak, D. C., Nelson, R., Harp, D., Villarreal, B., Howell, N., Griffin, J., Hammond, G., & George, S.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Zlesak, David C||Nelson, Randy||Harp, Derald||Villarreal, Barbara||Howell, Nick||Griffin, Jason||Hammond, Gaye||George, Steve

publication date

  • October 2017