Best roses for My Area

sue368(8)June 29, 2013

I have grown roses in CA and OR, but was not successful in FL. We have recently moved to a small town in Alabama which is adjacent to West Point, GA, and 35 minutes east of Auburn, AL. Our soil is mostly red clay. Most people here only plant Knockout roses. But, I was wanting to plant one or two other roses that don't succumb to black spot. Can anyone tell me the name and type of the best three roses grown in this area besides the Knockout rose? Thanks so much. Sue 368

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Sue - if you don't get a local reply, you might try re-posting with the word "Alabama" in the title - that might catch someone's eye who lives there. The only type of advice that is good for this question is local advice! I'm sure there are some roses which do well there, but I have no idea who they might be. You also might want to check the internet to see where the nearest rose society is, and check with them.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 6:31PM
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My best advice is to avoid hybrid teas in hot humid areas like yours...blackspot magnets. Consider old roses: see the antique rose forum. David Austin roses are also a less sickly choice, but this time of year they are hard to find except by mail order.
Laura in NC, who is happy to be out of Texas summers...

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 8:21PM
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I'm a little N.E. of you but it is hot and humid here also with red clay. There aren't to many roses that stay clean BUT I do have a few. The OGR Pink Pet is almost impossable to kill. Plus it has beautiful winter foliage. A few others are the older Rugosa's. As far as planting, I dig a hole about 36" wide (circle) and 18" deep. l Loosen up the soil in the bottom and mix oak tree leafs inthe bottom. I use good "garden soil" and mix 1/2 garden soil and 1/2 clay (broken up) back into the hole. Water it down (don't flood it) and plant the rose. Mulch the area, then using fish emultion 1/2 strength, give the area a good drink every two weeks for two months. Then stand back and enjoy. I feed once a month with Esponia (SP?) and they grow and bloom like crazy. I've also been told the shrub rose, Belindas Dream, stays clean without spraying. My Belindas Dream is in a section of the garden that gets sprayed, so I don't know. One thing I do know, it's a great rose. I'd give it a try and see what happens. Those big soft pink blooms in among the different colors of the rugosa's. Hummmm (I just might do that here).

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 9:56AM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

I think that the post above by is valuable, especially since he admits to using chemicals.

I would read the threads linked below carefully to understand that you definitely aren't in California anymore. We in the southeast have learned to absolutely ignore any specific rose recommendations made by those in California because they just don't have the disease pressure we do and therefore their experience is not relevant. This caveat does not however apply to cultural advice about things like mulch, pruning, etc., because these things are more universal.

I strongly recommend own root roses, and generally these require mail order. Chamblees Roses and Roses Unlimited are highly regarded source nurseries. Both are near enough geographically to minimize shipping costs and shipping stress. They also have different inventory although a few may be available from both.

Chamblees has an organized list of "Earth-Kind" roses on the left side of the home page.

But if I were to name just three, I'd say choose two roses by Kordes with "Fairy Tale" in the name and the new hybrid tea rose, 'Francis Meilland.' Once you find the list of avaiable "Fairy Tales," you could return to this forum and search for them by name to read what others have written about them. Just replace "Alabama Blackspot" on the search page linked below with the name of the rose and click "Search."

I invite you to do that with 'Francis Meilland' after you read the linked threads.

Good luck!

And lastly, roses LOVE clay. Congratulations on your location!

Here is a link that might be useful: Alabama Blackspot

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 10:26AM
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cecily(7 VA)

Please repost your query on the Antique Roses Forum. Old Southern tea roses and chinas have lived happily no-spray for many years.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 10:53AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Growing conditions are fairly similar throughout the inland South from the Virginia Piedmont around to East Texas, so you don't have to limit yourself to Alabama growers. (Peninsular Florida and the mountainous areas are somewhat different.) The Texas EarthKind list is not a bad place to start. Old teas and chinas are the bedrock for no-spray rose gardening in the South. Also Souvenir de la Malmaison and its sports are widely grown. Belinda's Dream is a regional favorite. If you want to try a couple of hybrid teas, I would go with Elina and Francis Meilland. Kordes Fairy Tales are a good suggestion. Certain Buck roses such as Earth Song, Quietness, Prairie Harvest, Winter Sunset are pretty resistant, and these resemble hybrid teas. Old June-blooming ramblers should be OK, and certain modern climbers such as Aloha, Aloha Hawaii, Laguna, Carefree Sunshine (big bush or semi-climber), Papi Delbard, New Dawn, Quadra. Then there are yellow and pink Knock Outs.

Mileage may vary even within Alabama depending on which races of blackspot get a foothold in your garden. Different races affect different varieties.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:44AM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

A major, often overlooked resource in your area is Goodwood Museum and Garden in Talahassee Florida.

It's an old plantation with gardens that are restored. Those gardens have ! roses! and (IIRC) they have a major sale in fall of roses propagated from their collection.

You owe yourself a visit to their gardens to see what a rose garden -that is not modern rose centric - can be in your part of the world.

You might want to pick up a copy of their CD "The Goodwood Roses" with 185 pictures with descriptions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Goodwood

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 3:08PM
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I'm north of you...between Huntsville and Birmingham. I have a lot of hybrid teas, but I spray them and wouldn't recommend any of my HTs as no spray here. I havenâÂÂt grown the two Michael recommendedâ¦those may do okay. I donâÂÂt grow any climbers now, but have previously grown New Dawn as no spray and it did well. I quit growing Austins years ago due to their health issues in my climate, but I believe they have varieties now that are more suitable here than the ones I previously tried. Week's Easy to Love series of floribundas are very disease resistant here. Easy Going, Easy Does It, Hot Cocoa, Livin' Easy and Cinco de Mayo all do very well for me. Julia Child seems to be the least blackspot resistant of the series, but a good rose, nonetheless. I donâÂÂt grow many Old Garden Rose varietiesâ¦the ones I grow, I do spray, but know there are many that can be grown no spray in our area. Petals from the Past is an excellent source for OGR roses in Alabama, they specialize in antique roses which they grow no spray. They will know which of those would do best for your location. They are in Jemison, ALâ¦probably about 100 miles west of you. You might want to look at their website (

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 11:55AM
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danna(8a Central AL)

Hey, Sue! I grew up in Auburn, taught in Lanett, and now live straddling Millbrook/Prattville in central AL. I am w/Cecily...teas and chinas are the way to go. I gardened for years before returning to the classroom and have not had the time to garden children AND roses! I used to be into hybrid teas beyond measure, but I learned to love the fuller look of antiques w/less effort. The teas and chinas, despite my classroom priority, put on a show nearly year-round and if there is any blackspot, it's hardly noticeable because of the prolific bloom...AND the repeat. A GREAT source, but go armed with self-discipline, is Petals from the Past off I-65 at the Jemison/Thorsby exit, between Clanton and Birmingham, essentially. From where you are, you could head up 280 and cut over to I-65 N. You can learn more by Googling their website. Jason, a fellow Auburn High alum and his wife Shelly graduated from Texas A&M and specialize in perennials, herbs, old garden roses, fruits, and ANYTHING that will take our heat and humidity. Welcome to Alabama...where we don't often get four seasons, but we can and do grow some lovely roses!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 12:52PM
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Thank you so much for all your suggestions. They have been very helpful. I think it was Ann that mentioned Goodwood Plantation--we previously lived in Tallahassee and bought a few of their old roses. In fact, I brought one with me that didn't have a name on it but it will grow into a little tree with boughs of branches and clusters of little pink roses. It is doing well so far. Thanks for the idea of getting their CD. Sue

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Thanks for the Petals from the Past info! I've got 2 daughters at Auburn and I've been thinking it would be worth a little detour to take I-65 north home by way of Montgomery instead of 280 for the return trip after I drop them off at school next month. I can pad my new "empty nest" with more roses!

I figure anything looking good in August in Alabama has a chance to look good here!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 5:29PM
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