Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Earthkind Dream

When I posted about the rose Souvenir de St. Anne and stated that it was designated as an Earthkind rose, several commenters had never heard of the Earthkind program.  So, I thought I'd try to explain this program a bit more.

Souvenir de St. Anne, an Earthkind rose

Earthkind is a trademark given by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and is a designation given to roses that are heat, drought, and pest tolerant.  The Earthkind program was started in 1996 to evaluate roses scientifically for low maintenance in Texas landscapes.  Roses grown with no fertilizers, no pesticides, no fungicides - trying to be a bit kinder to the earth - thus Earth-Kind, get it?

Carefree Beauty, an Earthkind rose

The roses in these field trials are never fertilized, never sprayed, never deadheaded, and never pruned.  Mulch is applied, and after the roses are established for a year, irrigated water is reduced by 70%.  Think: a rose that any home gardener could grow!

Perle d'Or, an Earthkind rose

The Earthkind roses that have been selected presently are good in hot climates.  They are:

*Belinda's Dream
*Caldwell Pink
*Carefree Beauty
 Cecile Brunner
*Climbing Pinkie
 Duchesse de Brabant
*Else Poulsen
 Georgetown Tea
*Knock Out
 La Marne
 Madame Antoine Marie
*Marie Daly
 Monsieur Tillier
 Mrs. Dudley Cross
 New Dawn
*Perle d'Or
 Reve d'Or
*Sea Foam
 Souvenir de St. Anne
*The Fairy

*The original 11 Earthkind roses.  These roses were grown through a 67-day drought with no supplemental watering and daily temperatures of 100 degrees F or more.  Earthkind roses affected by blackspot lose 25% or less of their leaves.

Mutabilis, an Earthkind rose

In 2002 the Houston Rose Society felt this program was so siginificant, it agreed to fund tests for roses nationally.   There are now rose field trial gardens not only in numerous counties in Texas, but also in the states of Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia, and the countries of  Bermuda, Canada, India, and New Zealand.

Mrs. Dudley Cross, an Earthkind rose

The cultivars are selected based on eight years of research and testing.  With the extension of the testing nationwide as well as to other countries, perhaps eventually anyone will be able to grow an easy-care rose in their garden, suited to their particular climate.

Isn't that a great dream?


  1. Thanks for the information. I said no more roses here as I don't want to deal with spraying, but I know if I walked in and saw a Carefree Beauty that I would probably get it.

  2. Very nice...I always learn so much at your place. And I am very glad to know that these sort of roses exist, as I do not use pesticides or fungicides. Thanks!

  3. A great post. More people need to know about this.

  4. This is really informative because I too did not hear the term before, yet it really makes sense so named. Your list is useful too. I really have to get my friend the rosarian to check out your site and Masha's site. Always good rose info.

  5. I am a benefactor of programs such as this. The heat and blackspot are huge deterring factors for growing roses and while developing my garden I had early successes due to a little research and reading about roses that were on this list.

  6. Very helpful. It's good to know field tests are happening in Illinois and Michigan, since their results will probably yield a perfect Earthkind Rose for southern Wisconsin. Thanks for the info!

  7. Cher - You should give some of these roses a try. I have never sprayed my roses, and I think more rosarians are going to that mindset. These roses are perfect for me, since I'm basically just too lazy to do that!

    Sage Butterfly - These are perfect for those of us that don't. A lot of the older roses, especially, seem to be able to thrive without much care. They had to long before those types of things were even invented!

    Masha - I knew about the program and what it was about, but until I researched this post, I didn't realize they had expanded their program nationally. They need a good advertising budget!

    GWGT - I hope rose nurseries and garden centers start advertising these roses as such (some do now). It would really change the way people thought of roses, I think. I think roses should be in every garden!

    Jess - Glad to know you found this in your research. I'm thinking I'm going to use this list more often, myself!

    PlantPostings - I was very excited to see they had expanded the program, as climate conditions are so varied. I expect the field tests will yield some interesting results.

  8. Earthkind sounds like a great program. We need one for hydrangeas and all the other water thirsty plants too. I'm thrilled that I grow at least two types of Earthkind roses. That's not bad since I have only seven types of roses in my garden. I have the Knockouts and The Fairy. I have to agree these two are probably the best here too. I'm excited the program is also in Tennessee. From now on I'll be looking at this certification if I buy another rose.

  9. I didn't know that. Thanks for the info. I'm looking to add a rose garden in my yard.

  10. Wonderful information. I think it is such a good project in testing the roses.Survival of the fittest.

  11. Very interesting info and a good trend to follow. I rooted out all mine as they needed more attention than I was prepared to give them. Carefree Beauty sounds and looks perfect.

  12. tina - I need to grow more of these, too. I wish I grew The Fairy. I'm all into easy plants!

    Becca - Oh, have fun adding a rose garden! I hope this information will help you in your decision.

    Lona - Survival of the fittest for sure. Roses have a bad reputation, yet there are roses that have lived in cemeteries, ignored, for decades. I'm glad they've expanded the testing.

    Laura - I have a few that are on the borderline of getting rooted out of the garden. They are the divas - maybe I should replace them with an Earthkind rose!

  13. Thank you for this information. I live in Oregon but I still want drought tolerant plants! I grow Knock Out, Mutabilis and Sea Foam from your list. I am glad to hear they'll survive without constant coddling. :)

  14. Great post, HolleyGarden. I have a few, and I don't have a few anymore. This is Florida, ya know. But really, 'The Fairy' was the only one with a BS problem - or maybe it was a lack of water problem or both. It definitely has a THORN problem. A few others sadly couldn't take my soil pH. A little too high for them, causing chlorosis. With more acidic dirt they'd have been fine. I miss Perle d'Or.

  15. Grace - Glad this information is pertinent to your situation. I don't grow Sea Foam, but I believe all three of those are pretty much good, easy-care roses.

    Sherry - I didn't realize The Fairy was so thorny! I love Perle d'Or. I hope you've found the perfect roses for your situation.

  16. Great post! I didn't know anything about the program either, and our garden has over 130 roses.... DUH! But I'm very happy to say that we have many of the roses that are on the list. Great info - thanks for sharing!

  17. Cathy and Steve - Unless you live in Texas, you probably wouldn't have heard much about it. I hope they do advertise a bit more when the national field trials get some results. When they first started, only two Texas nurseries (Chamblees and Antique Rose Emporium) would agree to stock these plants as Earthkind. It's catching on, though, and I've noticed a lot of nurseries have now signed on.

  18. Your photo of Perle d'Or made me interested more in this rose.

  19. Jana - Oh, I'm so glad! It's a great rose, very easy to care for, prolific repeat bloomer. The blooms are small - only about 2 inches in diameter, but with an unusual and beautiful form. I hope you decide to give it a try.

  20. These sound wonderful and your photos are beautiful! Have you had a fragrant "Earthkind" climber/climbers I might try in my southeast Alabama garden (zone 8)? I would greatly appreciate any recommendation you might have. I have a fence that needs a climbing rose. Here I go with the roses again ... :-)

  21. The Earthkind roses sound wonderful! Love the beautiful photos. Do you have an Earthkind climbing rose/roses you would recommend for my southeast Alabama garden (Zone 8b). I have a fence that needs a rose! I would greatly appreciate any recommendation you might have. Here I go with the roses again ... I'm bound and determined to do it right this time. The only roses I have now are Knock Outs. I think the others I've tried in the past really were meant for cooler areas, so they were a lot of work, and didn't perform to their potential. :-)

    1. I think it's very smart of you to try Earthkind roses. As for climbing roses that are Earthkind varieties, Climbing Pinkie is one. I don't grow Climbing Pinkie, but I've only heard great things about it. (supposedly has a slight fragrance) I think it would be wonderful along a fence. New Dawn is another pink Earthkind climber. I purchased New Dawn on impulse this year - I fell in love with its big beautiful blooms. Fragrant, but also a much bigger climber. I plan to put mine growing up a gazebo. If you're not interested in pink, Reve d'Or is a beautiful yellow/apricot noisette that would work well in your zone. Also fragrant. Good luck deciding!

    2. You're welcome. I hope whichever one you choose works well for you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...