Disease-resistant roses

These new roses are disease-resistant and have fabulously fragrant blooms


Great news for rose lovers is that concern for the environment and the use of chemical sprays over the past few years has led to the development of disease-resistant roses such as the vigorous and popular ‘My Granny’ series, ‘Deloitte & Touche’ and ‘South Africa’ as well as the groundcover ‘Flower Carpet’ range. Breeders have also been spurred on to produce roses with glorious scents like the recently released ‘Dermalogica Passion’, ‘Gülilah’, ‘Arctic Ice’ and ‘Perfume Passion’.

yellow rose


Breeders like Harkness in Britain, Delbard in France and Kordes in Germany have raised the bar with their new super hybrids. “What is exciting,” says rose expert Ludwig Taschner, “is that the same disease resistance has been introduced into fragrant picking roses. Every breeder knows that any new rose must have three attributes: healthy leaves, fragrance and attractive pickable blooms.”

Of the new roses introduced to coincide with ROSAFRICA, the 16th World Rose Convention held in South Africa, those that could be described as ‘super hybrids’ are ‘Dragon Breath’, a fiery-orange, super-strong floribunda created by British amateur rose breeder Horner Roses, ‘Lemonessence’, an ‘Iceberg’-type rose with old-fashioned lemon to golden yellow blooms from Harkness and Kordes’s ‘Wedding Bells’, a large flowering hybrid tea that produces an abundance of elegant pink blooms.



Because these super hybrids are so leaf intense, they are vigorous growers which can be a problem in small gardens. However, just one is enough to make a statement. They are neat upright plants that don’t need training and can be underplanted with other colourful lower growing roses or plants. “Unlike climbers that can grow and forget to flower, these super hybrids always have pickable blooms that are produced at the tip of each stem,” says Ludwig.

Pink rose

Under normal garden conditions the power of these roses lies in their ability to resist diseases like black spot and powdery mildew plus the fact that leaf-eating pests don’t affect the balance of leaves on the bush. However in extremely wet conditions, especially in winter rainfall areas, some preventative spraying may be necessary. Besides that, deep, regular watering and an application of rose fertiliser, like Vigorosa, once a month from August to April is the only maintenance they require.

yellow rosesWHAT’S HOT

The fashionable colour for roses is undoubtedly purple and ‘Purple Lodge’ is an excellent example. It’s also very popular for weddings. However, South Africans love the sunset colours (blends of apricot, orange and yellow) so the new ‘Fragrant Peace’ should prove to be a winner in this country.