Earth-Kind Roses: What’s in a name?

Belinda’s Dream is just one of the 21 roses that carry the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Earth-Kind designation. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Jim Croker)

Writer: Susan Himes, 325-657-7315, Susan.Himes@ag.tamu.edu

SAN ANGELO — From Greek mythology to Shakespearean sonnets, roses have enchanted humankind and been featured prominently in literature for thousands of years. It’s no surprise that roses rank among the most popular of flowers year-round, although there is always a surge in demand come February.

According to the Society of American Florists, 250 million roses will be given this Valentine’s Day. If you like the idea of giving this traditional flower for Valentine’s Day, but want something that lasts longer than a bouquet, consider gifting your beloved an Earth-Kind rose to plant instead, said Allison Watkins, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulture agent for Tom Green County.

“People often think of February as a time to prune the roses they already have,” said Watkins, “but now is also a time when you can plant container-grown roses.”

AgriLife Extension has designated 21 types of roses as Earth-Kind. Roses with the Earth-Kind designation have demonstrated superior pest tolerance and outstanding landscape performance in extensive research and field trials in Texas.

“Start with an Earth-Kind or another rose variety that is easy to grow. Make sure you read the label and understand how large it can get,” Watkins said. “Many roses will grow larger than the label states, if given the room.”

If planted in a container now, the Valentine roses recipient could be rewarded with Earth-Kind blooms throughout the spring, summer and fall. Many Earth-Kind roses have successive blooms over multiple seasons.

There are a wide variety of Earth-Kind roses to choose from, from dwarf shrubs to tall climbers, Watkins said. She counts Belinda’s Dream and Climbing Pinkie as two of her personal Earth-Kind favorites.

Watkins said that while growing roses may seem like an intimidating prospect, even a novice gardener can have success. She mentioned a few key things to keep in mind when planting roses are they require full sun and need plenty of space around them – for adequate air flow as well as growth.

Selecting an Earth-Kind rose not only helps ensure growing success across the varied conditions present in Texas, but Earth-Kind roses also limit the amount of fertilizers, pesticides and water needed to succeed. Like all plants with the AgriLife Extension Earth-Kind designation, an Earth-Kind rose is designed to help to preserve and protect natural resources and the environment.

“A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a rose with the Earth-Kind name offers benefits for Mother Nature as well as being a heartfelt gift for your valentine,” said Watkins.

For more information about Earth-Kind roses and growing and planting tips, visit https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkindroses/

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