- Author: Lynsey Ruml, UCCE San Bernardino County Master Gardener
Roses have an unfair reputation as unsustainable, high-maintenance and disease-ridden, but resilient Earth-Kind certified roses defy this stereotype! Earth-Kind roses are selected and certified by Texas A&M University through their Earth-Kind research program at the AgriLife Center. To earn the certification, roses must past eight years of research and data collection, proving themselves as exceptionally resilient landscape performers by demonstrating heat tolerance, pest resistance and the ability to thrive in diverse soil types and PH levels.
Four of the eight years of research must include randomized and replicated trials supervised by a team of seven PhD level plant and soil scientists to ensure efficacy when designating new cultivars. These final four years are conducted in Texas climate zones 7-9 in locations with diverse soil conditions and alkalinity to demonstrate adaptability. University scientists across the county were so impressed by the results of the Earth-Kind trials, they adopted Earth-Kind research programs of their own. Seven universities currently test Earth-Kind roses, lending additional climate-specific information for gardeners!
Land-grant University Master Gardener volunteers across the country started replicating the research in their test gardens, even adding new ‘found rose' varieties to the Earth-Kind certification list! To ensure rose candidates are pest resistant and can grow sustainably, testers do not apply pesticides or herbicides-including organic! The roses receive only minimal watering and no fertilizer other than what's naturally released through mulching. This exciting, easy approach to growing roses is the perfect solution for every home gardener's wish of beautiful and lush, but environmentally responsible landscaping.
Thinking of adding Earth-Kind roses to your garden? Below are a few varieties recommended for coastal and inland climate zones in Southern California:
Belinda's Dream is an exceptionally heat-tolerant modern rose introduced in 1992, bred from Tiffany hybrid tea and Jersey Beauty. Continuous double blooms with over one-hundred petals have a long vase and bush life of up to a week-even in hot climates! Belinda's Dream has a five-by-five-foot, shrub-like growth habit and exceptionally healthy, aphid-resistant foliage.
Cecile Brunner is a French rose,introduced in 1881 and parented by Mignonette and Madame de Tartas. It has softer foliage and stems than other roses and small, forgiving thorns. It's small, pink blooms resemble miniature versions of hybrid tea blooms. At four-by-four feet, Cecile Brunner is perfect for the middle border. A climbing sport of Cecile Brunner exists, but hasn't completed Earth-Kind certification. https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkindroses/cultivars/cecile-brunner/
New Dawn is the very first plant to receive a patent (1930), after it was discovered as a repeat flowering sport of the once-bloomer, Dr. Van Fleet. New Dawn has exceptionally large thorns, but prolific three-inch, light-pink double blooms. New Dawn can be grown as a climber, rambler, or left to form a giant shrub. This rose also tolerates some shade. When grown as a climber, New Dawn can reach heights of over twenty feet!
Mutabilis is a six-by-eight-foot China rose, introduced prior to 1894 (considered an ‘old rose'). It's unusual, fabric-like, silky blooms are impossible not to touch and gradually change from yellow to deep pink. Mutabilis blooms in successive flushes and won Earth-Kind's 2005 rose of the year! https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkindroses/cultivars/mutabilis/
Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed learning about our favorite Earth-Kind cultivars and maybe even found a new rose for your garden! For additional information about Earth-Kind roses and the Texas A&M, Earth-Kind program check out the links below. Happy rose growing!
Resources: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkindroses/ https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkindroses/cultivars/ https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/