Best roses for zone 10

murphieMarch 11, 2008

New to flower gardening, so could use some help. What are the heartiest, most fragrant and easy to care for roses for zone 10?

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krazyjorge0424(10B South Florida)

Hey Murphie, I looked up the "area code" 33445 and Delray Beach shows up meaning your in south-central florida, and Im in Miami Dade which has very similar weather patterns so I might be of some help, first thing is that your roses must be grafted on fortuniana, spraying for blackspot is a must to either prevent or control: use Disease Control for Roses, Flowers & Shrubs Concentrate from Bayer, I fertilize often because we basically have sand for soil even though Ive added soil and something called Black Kow, umm as of roses all I have are Hybrid Teas and 1 Grandiflora, my best are Gold Medal(is about 7ft tall) JFK(smells good and very little problem besides Powdery Mildew which is due to the nights for now) Voluptuous is a MUST(not much scent but its give huge blooms and bright fuschia colored roses) Elle is wonderful both in bloom and scent, my personal dont is Black Magic, I bought that one 2 years ago and its only grown about half a foot everything else is 4-5ft tall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bayer Product

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 6:42PM
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mike_in_new_orleans(9a/ coastal LA)

I'm not in south-central Florida, but I DID recently stay at a Holiday Inn (just kidding). I've got a book on rose-growing in Florida, and according to Malcolm Manners (THE south Florida rose guru), Fortuniana rootstock is a must for most, but not all roses. A few old garden roses will do fine. Some that he had noted verified to grow well there include mostly China roses like Archduke Charles, Louis Phillipe, and Cramoisi Superieur (sp?), Caldwell Pink, and a couple of non-Chinas: the tea rose Mrs. B.R. Cant and polyantha La Marne. What these roses all have in common is an unusually dense, fibrous root system that literally grows faster than the rot-rot nematodes can eat them. Other roses will tend to grow OK at first but then either gradually or quickly wither.

Someone recently asked about minis for south central Florida, and I'm curious myself as to whether anyone sells minis grafted on fortuniana. I've known a few private individuals to graft them for their own amusement, but I haven't heard of commercial ventures doing the same. Hopefully someone here can chime in about how to manage minis in those difficult soil conditions.

Just a caution about JFK: regardless of gardening zone, this rose has shown to be stingy and difficult for most people growing it; yet a few people swear its one of the best roses out there. I strongly suspect the rose mosaic virus may be to blame for this discrepency. Be sure if you buy it to check where the vendor got his/her plant stock. It should originate from the U.C. Davis program to verify it has (hopefully) been rid of the virus.

A few other modern roses not mentioned above which do well in the heat include St. Patrick, Merilyn Monroe, Louise Estes, and the classic red, Chrysler Imperial. Once again, for CI, try to be sure it's from healthy stock. Also the floribundas Livin' Easy and Easy Goin' are truly easy, as is the ever-present Knockout (so common, I'm bored of it by now--but just MHO).

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 11:09PM
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Mike, are nematodes a result of the climate or native Florida Soil? Are potted non-Fortuniana root roses using a "bagged potting soil" still susceptible?

Thanks, Richard

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 9:44AM
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Nematodes exists throughout much of the country. The difference is that most of the country experiences freezes that kill off growing populations and help keep their numbers low. In Florida and much of the south, the nematodes exist unabaited. Interestingly, nematodes may exist in one part of your yard yet might not be present in another. I've also learned that they are not fond of hard mulches (concrete, stone, etc.). As for potted roses: so long as the pots are not placed directly on the dirt of an area known to have nematodes (you'd know if you can't get a rose to grow there on any other root stock other than Fortuniana). Some of the best roses I have grow in pots, although roses on Fortuniana still produce much more roses than those on Dr. Huey or other root stocks.


The only nursery that breeds miniatures or mini-floras (that I know of) would be Cool Roses. Geoff has been trying to get me into the little babies since I've been buying roses from him.


I've been growing roses for a little over five years now and I've seen more than my share of failures (working on my third Crystaline right now), although I've been fortunate to see many success too after acting on advice from folks on this forum and our local rose society (The Tropical Rose Society, Deep South District). Your question is an easy and difficult at the same time. I own over 300 rose bushes and my selections have run from the easy care to the extremely challenging.

If what you want is easy care, than I'd have to suggest the Knockout line of roses. They range from light pink, to orange-ish, to a strange red like color that seems to glow like a radio active experiment. They are vigorous on their own root and fair even better on Fortuniana. The down size is that scent is nonexistent and the flower is very simple and small.

Another rose that is similar to the red Knockout in vigor and bloom size is Louis Phillipe. Louis Phillipe is the strongest smelling rose in my garden. Like a night blooming Jasmin, it peppers the air with the aroma of rose scent like no other can. It gets the occational black spot but the small leaves give the fungus a run for its money.

Now if you like roses that resemple those you'd buy from a florist I'd have to suggest you become familiar with fungicides and insecticides because few of those types of roses fair well with out any effort. The only one that has tolerated my episodes of neglect for long periods of time have been Belinda's Dream, Elina, and Moonstone (all of which produce abundant large flowers with little to no scent (Belinda's Dream being the exception).

If you don't mind spraying regularly, here is a list of my top roses (by the way, the standard spray cycle for most people with more than a handful of roses is: Banner Maxx with Dithane and conserve when Thrips make themselves known to be a problem. Bayer, Ortho, and Spectra all make rose fungicides that work well but often need weekly applications for consisten results):

Fragrant Cloud - orange
Mister Lincoln - red
Memorial Day - pink
Dolly Parton - orange
St. Patrick - yellow
Big Ben - red
Double Delight - white and red
Melody Parfume - purple
Heirloom - purple
Regatta - pink
Denali - white (huge flower)
Veteren's Honor - red (best form)
Tahitian Sunset - yellow/orange blend

Good luck with your choice and never hesitate to ask questions to this forum.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 12:41PM
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mike_in_new_orleans(9a/ coastal LA)

Richard, I think Adrian probably answered your question about where nematodes come from. As far as potting soil, as long as you don't allow the potted rose to come into contact with any native soil, it theoretically should never develop a nematode problem. I grow all my roses in pots, incidentally, for different reasons, but I've got several neighbors with roses in the ground; most do well and are not on fortuniana (this is New Orleans), but I have heard local rosarians report there are nematode problems in the area. We, too, don't have much winter, but it will lightly freeze some years (zone 9a).

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:31PM
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Mike and Adrian, thanks for the replies.

What size diameter pot is big enough as a permenant home for a shrub rose. I've started mine in 16" pots. I just want to see how they do though a whole year before I expand my garden.

They're all growing exceptionally now.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Another thing about Florida nematodes is that they love sand. They can motate much better through it.

Some respected local sources for rose info say that a soil high in organic matter will keep them at bay.

I am growing own root and on Fort. I just brought home 24 bags of oak leaves. That is my second load this year. This is the time to gather them. The oaks are pushing off last year's leaves and the neighbors (bless them) are raking and bagging.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 12:48AM
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I have experimented extensively with potted roses. At one point I planted a whole garden or roses on Dr. Huey root stock in the ground (pot and all). The experiment turned out to be a failure in the end. Too much water was retained in the pots for some roses while others suffered the fate of their ancestors with nematode and Chili Thrips related deaths.

You can grow a small rose bush in as little as 7 gallons, but by the end of the year the roots start to seek out (I think this would be your best bet given your ultimate goal). I have had better luck over longer periods of time with 10 gallon containers. Even better, I have had the most success with the plastic pots that are sold at Costco (the ones with air between two casings). This year's version is more rounded than last year which has taught me that if my goal is to have matching pots I have to purchase a few extra to last me through the following few times I purchase a rose or two.

If you decide to go for the 7 gallon might I suggest blow mold containers sold online at or make a drive to Atlantic Fertilizer Company in Homestead.

Happy Gardening!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 9:17AM
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