Roses are not typically seen in sub-tropical landscapes and for good reason – heat and humidity cause a number of debilitating and unattractive fungal diseases that can put amateur gardeners over the edge! The beautiful rose garden at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota shows that it can be done! There are a number of high maintenance types in this garden but they are balanced by a number of old Florida standbys.
Two types of roses can be successful in South Florida: some grow on their own rootstock and some are grafted. “Old Roses” are from crosses with Rosa Chinensis, a rose brought from Western China to Western Europe in the late 1800’s. These roses bloom multiple times throughout the year and can grow on their own root stock. A hardy variety you should try is Louis Philippe with its double, red, fragrant bloom. Louis Philippe is also known as the Florida Cracker Rose due to its outstanding ability to put up with our environmental conditions!
For more exotic varieties, depend on plants grafted on Fortuniana stock. Grafted roses allow Floridians to have roses with striking features that can become addictive but need more maintenance.
Cool Roses in West Palm Beach offers a large array of roses with varying requirements for maintenance. Look on their website www.coolroses.com under ecofriendly roses to find some varieties that will reward you with fragrant blooms with little or no spraying for fungus.