Replacing Roses Affected by Rosette Disease

Time after time designers, landscapers, municipalities and homeowners overuse certain plants to the point of making them a monoculture and then an insect or disease comes along and wreaks havoc. We’ve seen it with elm trees, ash trees and now we are seeing it with landscape roses. Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) is now knocking out landscape roses particularly in the South. The virus is spread by a tiny eriophyid mite that has an association with multiflora rose, so the disease is likely to intensify throughout the Midwest in states where multiflora rose has naturalized.  At the moment there is no cure for Rose Rosette Disease, so infected roses need to be destroyed and replaced with something other than roses.

Roses infected with Rosette Disease look like they've been sprayed with herbicide

While almost all roses are susceptible to RRD, a few specific landscape rose varieties have been hit particularly hard because of their popularity with landscapers and their use in larger mass plantings. The popular question now is what shrub should be used to replace these roses? First off, we should not replace these infected roses with just one single species or cultivar lest we tempt fate once again. We should be looking at multiple species and cultivars, particularly those shrubs that offer similar characteristics that made these roses so useful and popular in the first place.   

Conceptually, the type of shrub landscapers and designers are looking is colorful, carefree, is long blooming or has season-long interest, looks good as a mass planting, thrives in full sun and is less than five feet tall. There are a number of shrubs that meet that criteria and here are some of the Proven Winners® shrubs that fit the bill.

Abelia – Full sun
Long blooming shrubs, many with colorful foliage and fragrant flowers.
               Bronze Anniversary™ - 3-4’
               Ruby Anniversary™  - 4-6’
               Sunny Anniversary® - 3-4’
               Pinky Bells® - 3-4’
               Fairy Dance™ - 2-4’

Ruby Anniversary™ Abelia chinensis

Aronia – Chokeberry – Full sun
Low Scape® Series - A tough native with white spring flowers, glossy foliage and exceptional fall color.
                              Low Scape® Hedger - 3-5’
                              Low Scape® Mound - 1-2’

Lo Scape® Mound Aronia in autumn

Azalea – Rebloooming – Full sun to partial shade
Bloom-A-Thon® Series - Compact evergreen shrubs with showy flowers that appear in the spring and fall.
Bloom-A-Thon® Hot Pink – 3.5-4.5’
Bloom-A-Thon® Lavender – 3.5-4.5’
Bloom-A-Thon® Pink Double – 3.5-435’
Bloom-A-Thon® Red – 3-4’
Bloom-A-Thon® White - 2.5-3’

Bloom-A-Thon® Double Pink Azalea

Berberis – Barberry – Full sun
               Sunjoy® Series - Tough, easy to growing shrubs with colorful foliage. 
          Sunjoy® Cinnamon - 4-5’
Sunjoy® Citrus - 2-3’
Sunjoy® Gold Pillar - 3-4’
Sunjoy® Syrah - 4-5’
Sunjoy® Tangelo - 3-4’

Sunjoy® Series of Barberry

Buddleia – Dwarf Butterfly Bush - Full Sun
Continuous flowering, low growing shrubs with colorful, fragrant blooms.
          Lo & Behold® Series – Dwarf, sterile shrubs that come in a wide range of colors.
Lo & Behold® Blue Chip - 2-2.5’
Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Jr. - 1.5-2.5’
Lo & Behold® Ice Chip - 1.5-2’
Lo & Behold® Lilac Chip - 1.5-2’
Lo & Behold® Pink Micro Chip - 1.5-2’
Lo & Behold® Purple Haze - 2-3’

Lo & Behold® Pink Micro Chip

Miss Series – Semi-dwarf shrubs with vibrant colored, fragrant flowers.
               'Miss Molly' - 4-5’
               'Miss Pearl' - 4-5’
               'Miss Ruby' - 4-5’
               'Miss Violet' - 4-5’

Miss Violet Butterfly Bush

Pugster™ Series - Dwarf shrubs with large flowers with a wide range of colors.
                    Pugster™ Blue - 2’
Pugster™ Periwinkle - 2’
Pugster™ Pink - 2’
Pugster™ White - 2’

Pugster Blue™ Butterfly Bush

Ceanothus hybrids – New Jersey Tea - Full sun
               Marie Series™ - Drought tolerant shrubs that thrive in poor soils.
                              Marie Bleu™ - 2-3’
                              Marie Gold® - 2-2.5’
                              Marie Rose™ - 2-4’                  

Marie Blue™ Ceanothus
Clethra alnifolia – Summersweet - Full sun to partial shade
Easy to grow native shrubs with later summer, fragrant flowers and yellow fall foliage
               Sugartina® Crystalina - 2.5-3’ 
               Vanilla Spice® - 3-5’

Sugertina® Crystalina Summersweet

Deutzia gracilis – Slender Deutzia - Full sun to partial shade
Yuki® Series – Tough, ground covering shrubs with abundant spring flowers and burgundy fall color.
                              Yuki® cherry Blossom - 1-2
                              Yuki® Snowflake - 1-2’

Yuki Cherry Blossom™ Deutzia

Diervilla – Bush Honeysuckle - Full sun to partial shade
          Kodiak® Series – Tough, native shrubs with colorful spring and autumn foliage.
Kodiak® Black - 3-4’
Kodiak® Orange - 3-4’
Kodiak® Red - 3-4’

Kodiak® Orange Diervilla

Hibiscus syriacus – Dwarf Rose of Sharon or Althea - Full sun
               Lil’ Kim™ Series – Dwarf series from Korea with colorful, long blooming flowers.
                    Lil’ Kim™ White - 3-4’
Lil’ Kim™ Red - 3-4’
Lil’ Kim™ Violet - 3-4’
               PollyPetite™ - 3-4’,  A sterile, dwarf hybrid with a large clear lavender blooms

Pollypetite™ Hibiscus

Hydrangea arborescens – Smooth Hydrangea - Full sun
               Lime Rickey® -  4-5’, Attractive green flowers
               Incrediball® -   4-5’, Large flowers emerge green, turn white and age to green.
               Incrediball® Blush -   4-5’, Large lavender-pink flowers on strong stems.
               Invincibelle® Series – Compact/dwarfs with strong stems, wide range of colors.
                    Invincibelle® Limetta™ - 2.5-3’
Invincibelle® Ruby - 2-3’
Invincibelle® Wee White™ - 1-2.5’

Invincibelle® Spirit II (Two) in our trial fields

Hydrangea macrophylla – Reblooming Bigleaf Hydrangea - Full sun to partial shade
               Let’s Dance® reblooming series – Reliable, long blooming, rich flower colors.
          Let’s Dance® Big Easy® - 2-3’
          Let’s Dance® Blue Jangles® - 3-4’
Let’s Dance® Diva! - 3-4’
Let’s Dance® Rave™ - 2-3’
Let’s Dance® Rhythmic Blue™ 2-3’

Let's Dance® Big Easy™ Hydrangea

Hydrangea paniculata – Dwarf Panicle Hydrangea - Full Sun
               Bobo® - 2.5-3’
               Little Lime® - 3-5’
               Little Quick Fire® - 3-5’

Bobo® Hydrangea

Hydrangea serrata – Serrated Hydrangea - Full sun to partial shade
             Tuff Stuff™ Series – Selected for hardiness and reliable blooming.
Tiny Tuff Stuff™ - 1.5-2’
Tuff Stuff™ - 2-3’
Tuff Stuff™ Red - 2-3’

Tiny Tuff Stuff™ Hydrangea

Hypericum –St. Johnswart - Full Sun
               Sunny Boulevard® - 2-3’, Tough, drought tolerant and long blooming

Sunny Boulevard® Hypericum

 Itea virginica – Dwarf Sweetspire - Full sun to partial shade
Little Henry® - 2-3’, A dwarf selection with early summer blooms and excellent orange-red fall color.

Little Henry® Itea

Lagerstroemia – Dwarf Crapemyrtle - Full sun
               Infinitini® Series – Dwarf compact shrubs, that flower even if they die back.
Infinitini® Brite Pink – 2-4’
Infinitini® Magenta – 2-4’
Infinitini® Orchid – 2-4’
Infinitini® Watermelon – 2-4’

Infinitini® Magenta

Ligustrum - Privet - Full sun to partial shade
               Golden Ticket® - 4-6’, A non-invasive, non-burning, bright yellow-green foliage.

Loropetalum – Dwarf Chinese Fringe Flower - Full sun to partial shade
Jazz Hands® Series – Selected for healthy growth and attractive flowers and foliage.
Jazz Hands® Bold – 5-6’
Jazz Hands® Dwarf Pink – 1-3’
Jazz Hands® Dwarf White – 1-3’
Jazz Hands® Mini – 1’
Jazz Hands® Variegated – 4-6’

Jazz Hands® Bold and Mini

Physocarpus – Dwarf Ninebark - Full sun
Dwarf selections with colorful foliage and a high level of mildew resistance             
Festivus Gold® - 3-4’
Tiny Wine® - 3-5’
Tiny Wine® Gold – 3-5’   

Potentilla – Bush Cinquefoil - Full sun
Happy Face® Series - Tough, free flowering native shrubs with a range of colors.  
Happy Face® Pink Paradise – 2-3’
          Happy Face® Yellow – 2-3’

Happy Face®  Yellow Potentilla

Spiraea - Spirea - Full sun
Double Play® Series – Attractive spring foliage color and superior flowering.
                    Double Play® Artisan® - 2-2.5’
Double Play® Big Bang™ - 2-3’
Double Play® Blue Kazoo® - 2-3’
Double Play® Candy Corn™  - 1.5-2’
Double Play® Gold – 1.5-2’
          Double Play® Painted Lady™ - 2-3’
          Double Play® Pink – 2-2.5’
                    Double Play® Red™ - 2-3’

Double Play® Blue Kazoo® Spiraea

Weigela - Weigela - Full sun
Sonic Bloom® Series – Continuous flowering in a range of flower colors.
Sonic Bloom® Pink – 4-5’
Sonic Bloom® Red – 4-5-

Wine Series™ – Early summer flowers and attractive burgundy foliage
Fine Wine® - 2-3’
Spilled Wine® - 2-3’

Wine & Roses® - 4-5’

Sonic Bloom® Red Weigela