The Rose Is Americas National Flower

by Elmer Krehbiel, Master Gardener
January 4, 2002

The YEAR of the ROSE 2002 is a worldwide, year long event designed to promote the rose as a universal symbol of love, friendship, beauty and peace; a flower of unsurpassed importance in art, history, music and literature. It is the worlds favorite flower, which has provided inspiration to mankind since the beginning of time, according to the American Rose Society.

Southern Garden Roses

The antique, China and tea rose varieties that have thrived in the Brazos Valley do not require any more care than other native plants. Some trouble-free varieties are: Abraham Darby, Ballerina, Betty Prior, Bonica, Bluff Beauty, Carefree Beauty, Dr. W. Van Fleet, Duchesse de Brabant, Enchantress, Flower Carpet, Lady Banks Rose, Lamarque, Margo Koster, Marie Van Houtte, Mister Lincoln, Mrs. B. R. Cant, Nearly Wild, New Dawn, Old Blush, Perle dOr, Simplicity, Souvenir de la Malmaison, The Fairy, and Zephirine Drouhin.

The growth of plants may be classified as groundcover, miniature, small hedge, border or container, medium hedge or border, specimens, short, medium, or large climbers. Other traits are: super-fragrant flowers, no thorns, and flowers that bloom in light shade. The the plants label should indicate the above traits.

The classes may be grouped as:
  • Hybrid tea: plants are 4 to 6 feet tall, with a large single flower at the end of each stem
  • Floribundas: plants are 2 to 4 feet tall, with clusters of flowers; the flower colors range from white, pink, red, yellow to bicolor. Flower types range from single to double with many petals

If you are interested in starting some plants this year, 3,000 varieties have been rated from 1 to 10 and are listed in the Handbook For Selecting Roses from the American Rose Society. The lower rated varieties may be susceptible to some disease or insect problems, and they may need a treatment every week or two. The flower type and color, plant size, disease and insect resistance, as well as the adaptability to this climate should be considered in the selection process.

The major diseases are black spot, powdery mildew and rust. Some cotton root rot, crown gall and nematodes, may be in the soil. 

The insects that may damage roses are aphids, thrips, spider mites, and Japanese beetles. Additional rose varieties are available each year as new hybrids are developed. Many antique plants can also be found.  An All-American variety is selected each year.

The rose bed should have fertile soil with good drainage and be located in an area with good air circulation and at least half day of direct sunlight. The plants should be spaced wide apart in this in our lower South region.

Much more information is available in garden books such as, Roses in the Southern Garden by G. Michael Shoup, and the Texas A & M University Horticulturists.

More on Roses

Dr. Elmer Krehbiel is the former President of Keep Brazos Beautiful. See his column in The Eagle