How to Prune Drift Roses: Never Kill Another Rose Bush!

The rose is highly disease-resistant, and minimal care is required. I think we can all agree that roses are some of the most beautiful flowers in the world, second only to asters.  

Why not treat this beauty how it deserves to be treated? This rose is one of the most adaptable roses in existence, and as such, it has gained popularity with landscape designers and as bedding for dog yards. 

Drift Roses can be used for pruning in gardens of all sizes, even small closets for cut flowers (as I have done below). The bloom time on Drift Roses can vary from summer to winter depending on your climate zone; however, if you have a garden space of any size, drift roses will thrive there. 

Drift Roses have been intensively bred over the centuries for their soft, blunt foliage, sweet fragrance, and their resistance to diseases and pests. Drifts are resistant to most pests and diseases, and many mutations have been created for this purpose. 

Drift Roses are considered to be one of the most reliable roses in the nursery trade and are extremely popular as garden roses.

In this article, I will discuss Drift Roses and how to take care of this gorgeous rose.

Drift Rose Advantages

Drift Roses have a number of advantages:

  • The plants are extremely adaptable and thrive in most conditions. It can be pruned to any form desired, making it a great landscape plant.
  • Frost will not affect it, and they can do well in partially sunny locations as well. They are also tolerant of drought (unlike most other roses), so they make a great choice for dry areas.
  • ‘Coral Drift’ and ‘Sweet Drift’ are fragrant Drifts.
  • Easy to grow There will be no fuss or fretting if you want to own a Drift Rose in your yard.
  • They grow to moderate heights but are still considered low maintenance. Unlike most other roses, they don’t need constant attention to stay healthy. They will be happy and healthy just growing in your yard.

How To Prune Drift Roses

Annual Hard Pruning

Early-spring pruning of Drift Roses before new leaves appear is recommended to ensure that the flowers remain open for as long as possible before pruning back the rose, make sure it is at least 4 to 6 inches above the ground. A healthy crop ensures a good habit and beautiful blooms throughout the season. Remove all dead or damaged wood from the lower part of the rose. Cut the growth back to 2 or 3 buds above the bush. This will ensure that it has at least enough foliage to survive through winter without some tender new growth.

Deadheading Drift Roses

Deadheading Drift Roses is an important task for several reasons. It will encourage the plant to produce more blooms, and it will also promote new growth. It will allow the foliage to remain healthy and strong. Thus the flower can bloom longer in the season. The rose will not flower as abundantly, but it will continue to bloom for a longer period of time.

When to Prune Drift Roses

Avoid giving any roses, including drift roses, a chop in late winter or early spring, as this is the best time to do so. You may prune your drift roses in late winter in cold climates while cutting them in early spring on warmer ones. 

One of the most difficult tasks for rose growers is pruning the drift roses and making sure all the dead blooms are removed. Deadheading is especially important for roses with a single, large blooming season because they are at risk of becoming self-climbing when their seed pods open. 

Many flowers will drop their petals after the first bloom and catch up for another year. However, if you do not prune them back, the flower can continue to bloom for a number of months.

The best time to prune a drift rose is when it has stopped flowering. Simply pull the dead flower from the stem and remove it from your garden. 

The next bloom will have a chance to secure its place. Stem cuttings should be pruned as soon as you remove them from the ground and place in a very warm, moist location for a few months to harden off. 

Once the cuttings are hardened off, they can be potted up and placed into their permanent position in your garden.

How To Fertilize Drift Roses

Fast-growing and heavy-blooming drift roses benefit from fertilization. Feed them once every six weeks or so during the season with rose food or organic plant food. Your region’s average first-frost date should be avoided 2 months before that. Drift Roses need to have balanced soil in order to grow healthily. Use a slow-release plant food or bathe your rose beds with seaweed every spring and every fall. Be sure to feed drift roses in a well-drained location.

In Containers

Drift roses can be maintained in containers. It is best to introduce new plants into containers because it helps to maintain a healthy, even growth rate. 

After planting, water the plants to encourage successful root development. These roses need sandy, well-drained soil and full sun exposure. Drift roses can also be grown in containers in hanging baskets, as they are low-maintenance and require little water.

Soil pH

Drift roses require soil with a pH of 6.0 – 7.0; plant them in sun or part-shade and in fertile, well-drained, moist soil.

Fertilizing your Drift Rose After Pruning

It is critical for a rose bush to be fertilized with a controlled-release or slow-release formula at the start of the year. If your rose bush grows too rapidly, excess fertilizer can make it too bulky, which is the opposite of what we want to accomplish. 

After pruning, many gardeners find it necessary to prune back. The dwarfing tendency of many roses can be enhanced by pruning. To give your rose bush the best chance at survival, prune back in a way that enhances its growth habit.

How to Grow Drift Roses


Drift Roses are as easy to care for as they are low maintenance. However, they do prefer moist but well-drained soil. Test your soil drainage in the area you are planning to plant them to ensure they’ll grow where you want them to.


Drift Roses are low-maintenance. They prefer to be watered regularly, but only when the soil has dried out enough for you to feel light resistance. 

When watering, be sure to water thoroughly so that the water is well-distributed underneath the soil and not brought to the surface where it can run off and cause issues.


Most Drift Roses prefer partial to full shade, but if you want to try experimenting with them in more open areas, then plan on needing to provide at least a little bit of full sun. Of course, if you want to try growing Drift Roses in part shade as well, don’t let this stop you.


You don’t have to use fertilizer on drift roses, but if you want to try increasing the number of flowers you get or to keep your plants looking vibrant, then adding a bit of fertilizer is a great idea. 

Be sure you apply the fertilizer in the fall when the flowers are done blooming and have started to dry up.


The pruning process for drift roses is simple – remove old branches and replace them with new ones. Be sure not to cut too much off the branches, as this is when the plants will most likely suffer greatly if you don’t give them enough time to heal.

Pests & Diseases

Husqvarna Drifts are generally free of major diseases and pests, but be sure that your plants are well-watered and that they have plenty of light.

Different Types of Drift Roses

There are multiple types of drift roses to choose from, and they can be grown in a variety of ways. Some have naturalized in their own ecosystems and have adapted to their surroundings in order to thrive, while others need a bit of help in order to look their best.

There are various types of Drift Roses:

  • Apricot Drift
  • Sweet Drift
  • Red Drift
  • Coral Drift
  • Peach Drift
  • Yellow Drift
  • Orange Drift
  • Green Drift
  • Pink Drift
  • Patio Rose

How to Select the Right Drift Rose for your Garden

Growing a drift rose is not as difficult as some would make it seem. The first thing you want to do is find the type of rose that suits your style of gardening, location, climate and other factors.

Drift Roses are beautiful in the garden and are great for people who love the space between their fingers after picking their fresh-cut bouquet from them. No matter how big or small your garden is…give these beautiful, hardworking plants a chance!

Each drift rose comes in a wide variety of colours, so you should be able to find something that will work for your garden. These plants don’t require much maintenance at all – they only need to be watered regularly as you would any other plant. They are tolerant of heat and cold, so they will adapt to the climate in your area.

Should I remove old wood when pruning my rose bush?

No, it’s a good idea to preserve the wood. Pruning only allows you to remove dead, weak and diseased wood. This is necessary to keep plants healthy and strong. When pruning roses, it’s important to remove the dead wood that is causing the problems before pruning away damaged branches.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Drift Rose is a beautiful blooming plant that can complement and enhance just about any landscape or garden. Drift Roses don’t require much in the way of maintenance and are versatile enough to thrive even in harsh climates. The variety of these plants will offer you the best possible chance at selecting one that will thrive in your garden. I hope you like it. If you have any questions, please post them in the comment section. Thank you for reading.