Why Do My Drift Roses Look Terrible?

  • Date: November 21, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

The Drift Rose shrub fills a special place in the world of gardening. These smaller bloomers will produce plenty of beautiful flowers during their season if they are cared for properly.

But with any shrub or flower, they do deserve some TLC for them to look their best. Are you having problems with your Drift Roses? Do they just look terrible to you?

Some common issues with Drift Roses can be disease or problems with water or sunlight.

Continue reading to learn more about caring for your Drift Roses and what you can do if something goes wrong.

What are Drift Roses?

Much like the gorgeous Knock Out Roses, the Drift Roses are a hybrid of the fuller ground cover, and the miniature rose. Their flowering season is from early April to November, almost eight months!

Drift Roses are pretty tough regarding disease and winter hardiness and are perfect for a smaller garden because of their low-to-the-ground spreading.

How Should I Care for My Drift Roses?

Drift Roses are relatively easy to grow. They thrive in direct sunlight and do their best with 6-8 hours of sun daily. They should be pruned between late winter and the early spring to keep them healthy and well-established throughout the season.

Pruning is important to keep them blooming, and adding fertilizer in the later summer can encourage more fall blooms.

Why Do My Drift Roses Look Terrible?

Several factors can be at play if your Drift Roses look sorry or won’t bloom.

  • Not Enough Sun
  • Climate
  • Not Enough Water

Are They Getting Enough Sunlight?

Your roses will do best with 6-8 hours of full sunlight per day, but this isn’t always that easy to achieve. While your roses may still grow with shady cover, they won’t thrive.

Consider moving them to a spot that gets more sun. Trim any branches or shrubs around them that may be blocking their sunlight.

Climate Plays a Factor

Drift Roses will do best in zones 4 to 11, but some may need a different zone. If they aren’t planted in the right USDA zone, consider replanting them in containers and keeping them indoors during the winter.

Are They Getting Enough Water?

Drift Roses need to be watered weekly down to the whole root structure. Their roots are a bit shallower than the normal depth of 16-18 inches, but that doesn’t mean water is reaching the entire system.

You may need to increase your watering to more than one week, depending on how much rain you get.


Drift Roses may be hardy, but that doesn’t mean they are entirely resistant to disease. Rose Rosette Disease is a virus that is spread by mites. Once the rose gets infected with these mites, the virus can quickly spread, killing your plant.

You can notice Rose Rosette Disease as both your stems and leaves will turn bright red, and there may be excessive thorn growth. Misshaped buds and masses of tangled growth also signify a problem.

It’s best to treat the problem immediately to prevent it from spreading. Talk to your local nursery to find out the best treatment.

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