How to Plant and Grow Groundcover Rose

These come in almost every color imaginable.

Woody perennial groundcover roses are not a class of their own like many other rose types. Generally, what people consider groundcover roses are just low-growing shrub roses. But no matter what they are, these plants excel at filling space with continuous blooms. These roses, hardy in Zones 5-9, also tend to be highly disease resistant and low-maintenance.

Not only do they bloom for almost the entire growing season, but groundcover roses come in almost every color possible (except for true blue). In addition, unlike other common groundcovers, these roses are courteous to their neighbors and grow around them instead of suffocating them.

Groundcover Rose Overview

Genus Name Rosa
Common Name Groundcover Rose
Plant Type Rose
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width null to 4 feet
Flower Color Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Stem Cuttings

Where to Plant Groundcover Rose

Grow groundcover roses in sunny areas with trees and shrubs, where they easily fill the low spaces of a garden with lots of color. These plants also work exceptionally well trailing over walls, hanging baskets, or window boxes.

How and When to Plant Groundcover Rose

You can buy groundcover roses in a pot at a garden center or by mail-order from specialty nurseries. When buying a potted groundcover rose plant, remove it from its container and move it to a larger one if potting, or transplant it to the ground.

Bare-root roses should be planted as soon as the last frost of winter is over in a hole twice the size of the rootball with organic compost mixed in. Gently pull the roots to loosen and plant the same depth as they were in the pot it came in.

Groundcover Rose Care Tips

Once established, groundcover roses need little maintenance.


Like all roses, groundcover roses perform best in full sun. However, because of their disease resistance, these plants can perform well in partial shade. Although plants may not bloom quite as prolifically, there is less risk of disease in part shade than with other types of roses.

Soil and Water

Groundcover roses prefer rich, well-drained soils. Amend the soil with organic matter to keep your plants looking their best. Water roses thoroughly after planting to help them establish. Do this at the base of the plant: Avoid overhead watering to prevent potential disease problems.

Because these rose plants aren't as dense as a typical groundcover, they don't function to prevent weed growth as regular mat-forming perennials do. So it's a good idea to mulch underneath these roses to reduce any potential weed problems.

Temperature and Humidity

Groundcover roses have the same temperature and humidity tolerance as other roses. Too much heat and humidity can be a problem for them, and they don't tolerate cold temperatures below freezing.


Use a controlled-release fertilizer only when your plants need it. If they start to look droopy or if the soil in your garden isn't rich in nutrients, feed them once in spring and once in summer. For the amount to use, consult the product label directions.

If your groundcover roses are in a planter, they'll need feeding more regularly, or you can use a slow-release plant food.


Unlike other rose varieties, deadheading groundcover types isn't necessary. These are such tough plants that they'll continue to bloom even without removing old blooms. However, cutting back roses about two-thirds of the way in late winter or early spring before new growth appears is essential. Doing so will help create dense, full plants with numerous blooms.

Potting and Repotting Groundcover

Groundcover roses do great in pots. Plant them as you would in the ground. Make sure the pots have drainage holes, use rich, well-draining potting soil, and amend the soil with compost to add nutrients. Repot plants with fresh potting mix when they get too large for their containers to keep them growing.

Pests and Problems

Deer love to eat roses, so try one of several deterrents to keep them out of your yard. Ultrasonic deer repellants, deer repellant granules, motion-sensor lights, and even sprinklers are all ways to keep deer from munching on your flowers. You may need to change your method if it stops working.

Black spot, powdery mildew, and rosette disease are all possible problems for roses. Common garden pests, like aphids and mites, can chew on your plants. Try spraying your plants (avoid the flowers) with a blast of water to remove them. Insecticidal soaps may be necessary to rid your plants of bugs.

How to Propagate Groundcover Rose

The best way to propagate roses is from cuttings. Follow our guide to cutting and propagating roses for the best and healthiest plants. Plan to take cuttings early in the morning.

Types of Groundcover Rose

'Flower Carpet Amber' Rose

'Flower Carpet Amber' rose
Marty Baldwin

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Amber' produces fragrant, golden-apricot flowers over glossy, dark green foliage. The lush foliage is quite disease resistant. It grows 2-1/2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 5-10

'Flower Carpet Coral' Rose

'Flower Carpet Coral' rose
Justin Hancock

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Coral' features soft coral-pink single blooms that cover glossy dark green foliage in large clusters of 20 to 30 blooms. The lush foliage is impervious to disease. Plants grow up to 2-1/2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 5-10

'Flower Carpet Pink' Rose

'Flower Carpet Pink' rose
Michael Mckinley

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Pink' blooms prolifically for five or more months. The pink blooms with white centers develop in clusters 6 to 8 inches across, with as many as 18 flowers in each. Plants grow up to 3 feet tall and 4 feet across. Zones 5-10

'Flower Carpet Pink Supreme' Rose

'Flower Carpet Pink Supreme' rose
Marty Baldwin

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Pink Supreme' produces hot-pink blooms all summer and fall on a low-growing, disease-resistant plant. It grows 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-10

'Flower Carpet Red' Rose

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Scarlet'
Marty Baldwin

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Red' bursts forth with masses of rich red flowers from late spring to late summer. It grows 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 5-10

'Flower Carpet Scarlet' Rose

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Scarlet'
Marty Baldwin

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Scarlet' bears loads of scarlet semidouble blooms that develop in clusters on a vigorous plant. The glossy, dark green foliage is impervious to disease. Plants grow up to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 5-10

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are groundcover roses scented?

    Most groundcover roses don't have a scent. The few that do are very lightly scented, so if you want scented roses, groundcover roses aren't a good choice.

  • Is there a natural way to keep bugs off my roses?

    Try a mix of  ½ teaspoon mild dish soap and 1 teaspoon cooking oil added to 1-quart of water. Spray liberally on roses.

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