The Easiest Roses to Grow

Rose 'Flower Carpet Amber' variety with a watering can

Rose ‘Flower Carpet Amber’ is fragrant and attracts butterflies!

Photo Credit
Anthony Tesselaar Plants

Three easy roses to grow for beginners

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Roses used to be picky divas. However, rose breeders have bred diseases out of this garden classic. Here are three easy-to-grow roses for beginners, including ground cover roses—a fuss-free alternative to ubiquitous Knock Outs. Put away the sprays, stop the fancy pruning, and savor these carefree roses year after year!

For background, roses were traditionally very demanding and prone to many diseases, requiring much tender loving care. Many of today’s roses are disease-resistant without sacrificing the unrivaled beauty and form that makes a rose a rose. Even better, many of these roses also have improved hardiness and extended bloom times.

Flower Carpet Ground Cover Roses

Enter the Flower Carpet® Rose, the world’s number one ground cover rose. Unlike a Knock-out rose bush, the ground cover rose is versatile and compact—about 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Flower Carpet roses are incredibly adaptable—plant in any season (spring, summer, or fall) in Zones 4 to 11.

Flower Carpet ground cover roses are especially known for a lengthy, prolific bloom from spring to late autumn—10 months in warmer climates. This rose is dripping in blossoms—up to 2,000 flowers per plant!

You can plant these ground cover roses in beds or borders, and they also grow fabulously in containers. Their dense, glossy, green leaves look wonderful before the colorful roses bloom. Planted en masse, they are useful on slopes to control erosion (no mowing!), as hedges around driveways (less edging!), as ground cover along sidewalks (instead of thirsty turf), and along walkways to soften up hardscape.

Flower Carpet® roses soften walkways, walls, house foundations, and hardscaping—and also cut back on edging!

The foliage is resistant to common rose diseases (such as mildew and black spot), which means not only no spraying for you—but also no chemicals or pesticides for your garden. This plant also has a unique double root system (with deep roots as well as soil-surface ones), so it can also tolerate high heat, drought, and humidity. Surface roots take up available surface water, while deeper roots access lower-level water in drought conditions.

Finally, there’s no fancy pruning. A simple cut-back (by one-third) with hedge shears or even electric trimmers each spring, good mulching, fertilizer, and watering is all it takes to keep them blooming all summer! Pruning is optional. If you do not have time or resources to do it, the roses will still flower profusely on a slightly larger bush.

It’s not surprising that Flower Carpet roses have received over 25 Gold and International Rose Awards. It’s hard to pick a favorite color! See 12 different rose varieties.

Flower Carpet roses survive the drought, heavy rainstorms, and humid weather that can destroy less resilient roses.

NEW FOR 2024: A new Flower Carpet Fragrant Shrub Rose is coming out! It’s from the same rose breeder as Flower Carpet Ground Cover Roses (Noack Rosen in Germany). These large-bloomed, beautifully fragrant roses have a glorious old-world look but also all the benefits of modern disease resistance. Take a look

Knock Out Roses

Everyone knows the popular Knock Out® Rose, the traditional large shrub rose that grows about 4 feet tall and blooms in late spring and summer. As with most shrubs, Knock Out Roses look best as a border or along a fence, wall, or foundation. If you plant within a garden landscape, plant in groups of three.

Knock Out Roses really do their best with 6 to 8 hours of full sun every day if you want constant flowers. They grow in Zones 5 to 10, so they’re a little more hardy in cold climates. This is important because other roses (such as tea roses) would be lost to cold winters, no matter how much mulch was used. 

Knock Outs are disease-resistant, stand up to heat and humidity, and do not contract the myriad of diseases spawned by hot climates. We’ve grown these roses in places from the Gulf Coast to Wisconsin. No spraying and no dusting.

The Double Knock Out® Rose has full double flowers and looks more like a classic rose.


They also claim to have “no pruning,” but if left unpruned, Knock Out roses can reach 8 feet tall. This is not beneficial, and the flowers will be less bold and healthy. It’s really best to prune these shrubs, but don’t start until their second season; cut back in early spring by as much as one-half after the last threat of frost has passed. 

Note: This rose does lose its leaves in winter, unlike the Flower Carpet® leaves, which change to a purple bronze color and remain on the plant until late in winter, leaving as little as two months of bare canes.

As with the original Knock Out Rose, there is a Double Knock Out Rose that has full double flowers. They’re prettier, though smaller in size. While Knock Outs® aren’t supposed to need deadheading, we think that the “Double” version really looks best with some deadheading. It’s up to you! See the Knock Out® Family of Roses.

David Austin Climbing Roses

Then, there are some superb climbing roses. Unlike many climbing roses, the English Rose Climbers by David Austin® repeat-flowering blooms with exceptional continuity and are clothed in blooms from the ground upward. As a group, they don’t grow too tall, making them easy to manage and the perfect height for appreciating the beauty and fragrance of their blooms.

Rose growers love David Austin roses. He and his family have bred the most beautiful, rich scents of old varieties into modern roses. When he started, very few modern roses had any fragrance.

An English climbing rose called ‘The Generous Gardener’ is one of the most fragrant. Its glowing pale pink flowers and the scent of Old Rose, musk, and myrrh make it suitable for Zones 4 to 11 and climb to 15 feet—perfect for a wall, fence, large arch, or pergola.

Add an arch to your garden for a stunning centerpiece. Featured: the David Austin rose ‘The Generous Gardener’.


Another beautiful rose is the romantic ‘Claire Austin’, a medium climber that grows to about 12 feet and has gorgeous, creamy white flowers. It’s also fragrant, with strong myrrh and dashes of meadowsweet, vanilla, and heliotrope scents. It’s perfect against the side of your home or near the doorway, taking up little room on the ground. See more climbing roses from David Austin.

Bare-Root or Container Roses?

The above easy-to-grow roses come in two types: (1) bare-root and (2) container-grown. There are pros and cons to which type you buy:

(1) Bare-root roses. Bare-root roses are not in soil (hence, “bare”) and are packed to prevent the roots from drying out. Bare-root plants are usually good quality, having a wider root spread than container plants, and they are often of good value. They should be planted as soon as received or, if ground conditions are unsuitable, unpacked and kept in a container of slightly moist compost and planted as soon as conditions allow.

Plant bare-root roses in late autumn at leaf fall and from late winter to early spring before growth resumes. Avoid planting in the middle of winter, when the ground is frozen.

Soak bare-root roses in a bucket of warm water overnight. Then, dig a hole 18 inches wide and deep. Mix in compost if your soil is hard and compacted. In the center of the hole, make a 12-inch-high cone of dirt. Spread the rose roots over the cone. Hold the rose in place with one hand and fill in the hole with the other. Firm soil and water well.

(2) Container-grown roses. These are roses that have been grown in containers for a whole growing season or more. They can be more costly, but then again, they are available year-round. You can plant them all year round, provided the ground is neither frozen nor very dry. If you live in southern regions, container roses are a great choice because your ground and air temperatures are warmer.

Dig a hole 18 inches wide and the depth of the rose pot. Remove the plant from the pot, place it in the center of the hole, spread the roots, and fill in with soil. Water well and firm the soil with the back of a shovel or your hands to eliminate air pockets. Scatter slow-release fertilizer formulated for roses around the plants and scratch in with a cultivator.

5 Rose Tips That Really Work

  1. Plant lavender at the base of rose bushes, especially the larger shrubs. The rose scent attracts deer, but lavender muddies the rose aroma.
  2. Dump coffee grounds and used tea leaves around bushes. Both acidify the soil slightly, which roses love.
  3. Burying banana skins or even the entire black, mushy banana at the base of bushes provides magnesium, an element that plants crave.
  4. Scratch 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts into the soil around a rose. The salts intensify flower colors.
  5. Use rabbit food as fertilizer. The pet food is composed of alfalfa meal, which supplies roses with a growth stimulant, nitrogen, and trace elements. Scratch in ½ cups of pellets around each rose and water well.

We just love all of these carefree roses and hope that you do, too! Whether you’re looking for a more compact groundcover rose, a shrub, or a climber, you have choices to fit your garden and landscape needs. 

All the roses mentioned in the article are fantastic bloomers and don’t need any spraying, so you can practically forget about them. Yes, you’ll soon be able to say, “Everything’s coming up roses!”

See the Almanac’s complete Rose Growing Guide for excellent planting and rose care tips.

About The Author

Doreen G. Howard

Doreen Howard, an award-winning author, is the former garden editor at Woman’s Day. She has gardened in every climate zone from California to Texas to Oklahoma to the Midwest. She’s especially fond of unusual houseplants and heirloom edibles. Read More from Doreen G. Howard

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