McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

Choose disease-resistant roses for your yard


March 15, 2013

By Denise Ruttan

Image of a rosePhoto by Lynn Ketchum

March is a good time to plant roses in western Oregon.

Roses have such fanciful names and alluring colors, so how do you choose which ones to plant?

"If I'm going to grow roses I tend to grow roses that have fragrance," said Barb Fick, a horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. “Some people go for color. I also go for disease-resistance.”

Fick advises buying roses that are immune to the fungal threats of rust, powdery mildew and black spot.

The Pacific Northwest Plant Disease Handbook at offers a list of disease-resistant varieties. The handbook cautions that roses that are resistant in one location may be susceptible in another region because different fungal strains may be present.

Roses that smell sweet and are moderately resistant to black spot, powdery mildew and rust include the dark-red Mr. Lincoln; the Double Delight with its shades of reds, pinks and whites; and the pastel pink Tiffany. The orange-red Fragrant Cloud is highly resistant to rust and is moderately resistant to powdery mildew and black spot. The sunset-orange Voodoo has high resistance to all three, according to the handbook.

Floribunda roses, or shrub roses, that resist rust and have moderate resistance to powdery mildew and black spot include the classic pink Cherish and the smoky-orange Marina. The white Class Act is immune to rust and powdery mildew and moderately resistant to black spot. The sunshine-yellow Sunsprite is moderately resistant to all three. One advantage to shrub roses is that they're low-maintenance and hardy, Fick said.

If you want a climbing rose, keep in mind that they require more pruning than shrub roses, Fick said. Install a trellis or use an archway for a climbing rose, which needs space to grow vertically as well as horizontally.

Disease-resistant climbing roses include the fire engine-red Altissimo, which is resistant to rust and has medium resistance to black spot and powdery mildew. The lemon-yellow Golden Showers and the Joseph's Coat in its rouge and peach hues possess moderate resistance to all three. The rich apricot-hued Royal Sunset resists all three.

At the nursery, roses come with bare roots or in a plastic container. For container plants, dig the planting hole twice as wide as the container. For bare-root roses, dig the hole wide enough so you can spread the roots horizontally.

February and March are the months to plant bare-root roses in western Oregon. Plant them in a spot with well-drained soil that will receive six to eight hours of full sun. Water your newly planted rose.

For planting and care tips, view the Extension guide at Although it is geared for high-desert gardeners, the advice also applies to western Oregon.


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