Tough Texas Roses

By Charlie Nardozzi

Sarah Van Fleet' Rugosa Rose

Growing plants in eastern Texas can be tough. Roses in particular often suffer from heat, humidity, insect, and disease pressures. That's why Steve George from Texas A & M University in Dallas has been conducting research on the toughest roses for his climate. Any rose that can pass the test in Dallas probably will grow well throughout the Southeast.

George wanted cultivars that would grow and bloom well without any chemical inputs and with very little maintenance. He selected 33 cultivars and set up test plots, checking them every two weeks for two years. He scored the roses on the basis of flowers, visual appearance, foliage, and insect and disease problems.

Here are some of the best performing roses from the various groups. For shrub roses, 'Maggie', 'Belinda's Dream', and 'Heritage' were some of the top performers. 'Mutabalis' China rose, 'Marchesa Bocella' hybrid perpetual, 'The Fairy' polyantha, 'Living Easy' floribunda, 'Sarah Van Fleet' rugosa, and 'Zephirine Drouhin' bourbon also were the most disease- and insect-resistant and kept blooming through the heat of summer.

The top roses were given the name of "Texas Superstar┬«" an can be found in garden centers throughout the South. For more information on this research, go to:

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