Red Drift® Rose

Rosa x ‘Red Drift’ PP17,877

Description & Overview

Red Drift® Rose produces clusters of petite, semi-double red blooms that cover this small mounding shrub from mid-spring to mid-fall. The glossy dark green foliage has excellent disease resistance. With a compact habit and tidy appearance, this rose is an excellent way to add a red focal point to restricted spaces.

Core Characteristics

Mature Height: 1-2 feet
Mature Spread: 2-3 feet
Growth Rate: Moderate
Growth Form: Low, mounded, compact
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Site Requirements: Moist, Well-Drained soil
Flower: Red, Semi-Double, Rebloomer
Bloom Period: Mid-May to Mid-October
Foliage: Glossy Dark Green
Fall Color: Insignificant, sometimes yellow
Fruit Notes: Hips, insignificant

Suggested Uses:

The compact and low habit of Red Drift® Rose is well-suited to use as a border or mass planting. It can be combined with other shrubs and perennials of differing heights to create a layered effect. The profuse blooming habit is excellent for a cut flower garden.

Wildlife Value:

Cultivated roses are not especially preferable to wildlife. They produce little nectar for pollinators and their flower structure (especially semi- and double roses) is not entirely compatible with the mouthparts of bees and butterflies. Additionally, bees have a difficult time seeing red-colored flowers. Cultivated roses such as Red Drift® Rose are better as an aesthetic choice rather than a wildlife attractant.

The thorny stems are resistant to deer and rabbit browse.

Maintenance Tips:

Red Drift® Rose should be pruned in early spring after the threat of frost has passed. If pruned in fall or winter, the hollow stems of roses can conduct cold air directly to the roots. This will increase the likelihood of winter damage and may result in plant death. Pruning should not be necessary until the plant is established in the landscape, typically 1 to 3 years after planting. Pruning too much too early will reduce vigor and increase the establishment period.

To prune Red Drift® Rose, use annual Heading Cuts to shape the shrub, removing no more than 1/3 of the plant. Cuts should be made back to a lateral branch or dormant bud. As this shrub blooms on new wood, there is no fear of removing flower buds through pruning.

If your shrub is especially overgrown, you may use the Haircut Method to rejuvenate the shrub. Be careful not to remove too much plant material as this will reduce vigor and increase the likelihood of disease.

While Red Drift® Rose is hardy and disease resistant, you should avoid using overhead irrigation during the summer. Excessive moisture on the foliage will increase the chance for foliar diseases to develop.

To fertilize Red Drift® Rose, use a product formulated specifically for roses. These products have a balanced amount of Nitrogen and Phosphorous to promote blooms. Some also contain a systemic insecticide and/or fungicide to prevent disease. When using these products, especially those with pesticides, you should time your application with each flush of growth per the instructions on the product.

A healthy mulch layer around the base of the shrub 2-4 inches thick will reduce winter damage and prevent drought stress. It will also slowly add nutrients to the soil. Mulch should be applied in spring or fall to maintain a consistent depth, but only if your mulch layer has decomposed below the recommended thickness.


Red Drift® Rose is resistant to many of the diseases that are prevalent on non-resistant roses. If especially stressed, Red Drift® Rose may become susceptible to canker, powdery mildew, blight. It may also be attacked by bud borers, spider mites, leafcutters, or Japanese beetle. If insect and disease damage becomes problematic, you can use a rose-food product containing a systemic pesticide. However, disease problems can be exacerbated by over-fertilizing and you should be judicious in your use of systemic products.

Fertilizing with products that contain too much nitrogen will encourage vegetative growth and prevent blooming. If your rose is especially leggy and non-blooming, make sure your fertilizer is correctly formulated for roses and is not over applied.

Leaf Lore:

The Drift® Groundcover Roses are a hybrid between groundcover roses, known for their disease resistance, winter hardiness, and durability, and miniature roses, best for their reblooming habit and compact size. They are relatively low maintenance and are an excellent choice to brighten a sunny location. Red Drift® Rose has the most petite flowers of the Drift® Roses and will bloom relentlessly from midsummer to fall with abundant red flowers.

Companion Plants:

As this is a full-sun shrub requiring well-drained soil, Red Drift® Rose should be combined with other plants of similar needs. For perennials, use Little Goldstar Black Eyed Susan or Marcus™ Salvia in the foreground and Russian Sage or False Blue Indigo in the background. You can also combine it with Little Devil™ Ninebark or St. John’s Wort as background shrubs due to their varied texture and color.

johnson's nursery plant knowledgebase for the midwest tree logo popout 32x32
johnson's nursery plant knowledgebase for the midwest tree logo popout 32x32
johnson's nursery plant knowledgebase for the midwest tree logo popout 32x32
johnson's nursery plant knowledgebase for the midwest tree logo popout 32x32