Time after time designers, landscapers, municipalities and homeowners overuse certain plants to the point of making them a monoculture and then an insect or disease comes along and wreaks havoc. We’ve seen it with elm trees, ash trees and now we are seeing it with landscape roses. Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) is now knocking out landscape roses particularly in the South. The virus is spread by a tiny eriophyid mite that has an association with multiflora rose, so the disease is likely to intensify throughout the Midwest in states where multiflora rose has naturalized. At the moment there is no cure for Rose Rosette Disease, so infected roses need to be destroyed and replaced with something other than roses.
|Roses infected with Rosette Disease look like they've been sprayed with herbicide|
While almost all roses are susceptible to RRD, a few specific landscape rose varieties have been hit particularly hard because of their popularity with landscapers and their use in larger mass plantings. The popular question now is what shrub should be used to replace these roses? First off, we should not replace these infected roses with just one single species or cultivar lest we tempt fate once again. We should be looking at multiple species and cultivars, particularly those shrubs that offer similar characteristics that made these roses so useful and popular in the first place.
Conceptually, the type of shrub landscapers and designers are looking is colorful, carefree, is long blooming or has season-long interest, looks good as a mass planting, thrives in full sun and is less than five feet tall. There are a number of shrubs that meet that criteria and here are some of the Proven Winners® shrubs that fit the bill.
Abelia – Full sun
Long blooming shrubs, many with colorful foliage and fragrant flowers.
Bronze Anniversary™ - 3-4’
Ruby Anniversary™ - 4-6’
Sunny Anniversary® - 3-4’
Pinky Bells® - 3-4’
Fairy Dance™ - 2-4’
|Ruby Anniversary™ Abelia chinensis|
Aronia – Chokeberry – Full sun
Low Scape® Series - A tough native with white spring flowers, glossy foliage and exceptional fall color.
Low Scape® Hedger - 3-5’
Low Scape® Mound - 1-2’
|Lo Scape® Mound Aronia in autumn|
Azalea – Rebloooming – Full sun to partial shade
Bloom-A-Thon® Series - Compact evergreen shrubs with showy flowers that appear in the spring and fall.
Bloom-A-Thon® Hot Pink – 3.5-4.5’
Bloom-A-Thon® Lavender – 3.5-4.5’
Bloom-A-Thon® Pink Double – 3.5-435’
Bloom-A-Thon® Red – 3-4’
Bloom-A-Thon® White - 2.5-3’
|Bloom-A-Thon® Double Pink Azalea|
Berberis – Barberry – Full sun
Sunjoy® Series - Tough, easy to growing shrubs with colorful foliage.
Sunjoy® Cinnamon - 4-5’
Sunjoy® Citrus - 2-3’
Sunjoy® Gold Pillar - 3-4’
Sunjoy® Syrah - 4-5’
Sunjoy® Tangelo - 3-4’
|Sunjoy® Series of Barberry|
Buddleia – Dwarf Butterfly Bush - Full Sun
Continuous flowering, low growing shrubs with colorful, fragrant blooms.
Lo & Behold® Series – Dwarf, sterile shrubs that come in a wide range of colors.
Lo & Behold® Blue Chip - 2-2.5’
Lo & Behold® Blue Chip Jr. - 1.5-2.5’
Lo & Behold® Ice Chip - 1.5-2’
Lo & Behold® Lilac Chip - 1.5-2’
Lo & Behold® Pink Micro Chip - 1.5-2’
Lo & Behold® Purple Haze - 2-3’
|Lo & Behold® Pink Micro Chip|
Miss Series – Semi-dwarf shrubs with vibrant colored, fragrant flowers.
'Miss Molly' - 4-5’
'Miss Pearl' - 4-5’
'Miss Ruby' - 4-5’
'Miss Violet' - 4-5’
|Miss Violet Butterfly Bush|
Pugster™ Series - Dwarf shrubs with large flowers with a wide range of colors.
Pugster™ Blue - 2’
Pugster™ Periwinkle - 2’
Pugster™ Pink - 2’
Pugster™ White - 2’
|Pugster Blue™ Butterfly Bush|
Ceanothus hybrids – New Jersey Tea - Full sun
Marie Series™ - Drought tolerant shrubs that thrive in poor soils.
Marie Bleu™ - 2-3’
Marie Gold® - 2-2.5’
Marie Rose™ - 2-4’
Clethra alnifolia – Summersweet - Full sun to partial shade
Easy to grow native shrubs with later summer, fragrant flowers and yellow fall foliage
Sugartina® Crystalina - 2.5-3’
Vanilla Spice® - 3-5’
Vanilla Spice® - 3-5’
|Sugertina® Crystalina Summersweet|
Deutzia gracilis – Slender Deutzia - Full sun to partial shade
Yuki® Series – Tough, ground covering shrubs with abundant spring flowers and burgundy fall color.
Yuki® cherry Blossom - 1-2
Yuki® Snowflake - 1-2’
|Yuki Cherry Blossom™ Deutzia|
Diervilla – Bush Honeysuckle - Full sun to partial shade
Kodiak® Series – Tough, native shrubs with colorful spring and autumn foliage.
Kodiak® Black - 3-4’
Kodiak® Orange - 3-4’
Kodiak® Red - 3-4’
|Kodiak® Orange Diervilla|
Hibiscus syriacus – Dwarf Rose of Sharon or Althea - Full sun
Lil’ Kim™ Series – Dwarf series from Korea with colorful, long blooming flowers.
Lil’ Kim™ White - 3-4’
Lil’ Kim™ Red - 3-4’
Lil’ Kim™ Violet - 3-4’
PollyPetite™ - 3-4’, A sterile, dwarf hybrid with a large clear lavender blooms
Hydrangea arborescens – Smooth Hydrangea - Full sun
Lime Rickey® - 4-5’, Attractive green flowers
Incrediball® - 4-5’, Large flowers emerge green, turn white and age to green.
Incrediball® Blush - 4-5’, Large lavender-pink flowers on strong stems.
Invincibelle® Series – Compact/dwarfs with strong stems, wide range of colors.
Invincibelle® Limetta™ - 2.5-3’
Invincibelle® MiniMauvette™ - 2.5-3’
Invincibelle® Ruby - 2-3’
Invincibelle® Spirit II - 3-4’
Invincibelle® Wee White™ - 1-2.5’
|Invincibelle® Spirit II (Two) in our trial fields|
Hydrangea macrophylla – Reblooming Bigleaf Hydrangea - Full sun to partial shade
Let’s Dance® reblooming series – Reliable, long blooming, rich flower colors.
Let’s Dance® Big Easy® - 2-3’
Let’s Dance® Blue Jangles® - 3-4’
Let’s Dance® Diva! - 3-4’
Let’s Dance® Rave™ - 2-3’
Let’s Dance® Rhythmic Blue™ 2-3’
|Let's Dance® Big Easy™ Hydrangea|
Hydrangea paniculata – Dwarf Panicle Hydrangea - Full Sun
Bobo® - 2.5-3’
Little Lime® - 3-5’
Little Quick Fire® - 3-5’
Hydrangea serrata – Serrated Hydrangea - Full sun to partial shade
Tuff Stuff™ Series – Selected for hardiness and reliable blooming.
Tiny Tuff Stuff™ - 1.5-2’
Tuff Stuff™ - 2-3’
Tuff Stuff™ Red - 2-3’
|Tiny Tuff Stuff™ Hydrangea|
Hypericum –St. Johnswart - Full Sun
Sunny Boulevard® - 2-3’, Tough, drought tolerant and long blooming
|Sunny Boulevard® Hypericum|
Itea virginica – Dwarf Sweetspire - Full sun to partial shade
Little Henry® - 2-3’, A dwarf selection with early summer blooms and excellent orange-red fall color.
|Little Henry® Itea|
Lagerstroemia – Dwarf Crapemyrtle - Full sun
Infinitini® Series – Dwarf compact shrubs, that flower even if they die back.
Infinitini® Brite Pink – 2-4’
Infinitini® Magenta – 2-4’
Infinitini® Orchid – 2-4’
Infinitini® Watermelon – 2-4’
Ligustrum - Privet - Full sun to partial shade
Golden Ticket® - 4-6’, A non-invasive, non-burning, bright yellow-green foliage.
Loropetalum – Dwarf Chinese Fringe Flower - Full sun to partial shade
Jazz Hands® Series – Selected for healthy growth and attractive flowers and foliage.
Jazz Hands® Bold – 5-6’
Jazz Hands® Dwarf Pink – 1-3’
Jazz Hands® Dwarf White – 1-3’
Jazz Hands® Mini – 1’
Jazz Hands® Variegated – 4-6’
|Jazz Hands® Bold and Mini|
Physocarpus – Dwarf Ninebark - Full sun
Dwarf selections with colorful foliage and a high level of mildew resistance
Festivus Gold® - 3-4’
Tiny Wine® - 3-5’
Tiny Wine® Gold – 3-5’
Potentilla – Bush Cinquefoil - Full sun
Happy Face® Series - Tough, free flowering native shrubs with a range of colors.
Happy Face® Pink Paradise – 2-3’
Happy Face® Yellow – 2-3’
HappyFace® White - 2-3’
|Happy Face® Yellow Potentilla|
Spiraea - Spirea - Full sun
Double Play® Series – Attractive spring foliage color and superior flowering.
Double Play® Artisan® - 2-2.5’
Double Play® Big Bang™ - 2-3’
Double Play® Blue Kazoo® - 2-3’
Double Play® Candy Corn™ - 1.5-2’
Double Play® Gold – 1.5-2’
Double Play® Painted Lady™ - 2-3’
Double Play® Pink – 2-2.5’
Double Play® Red™ - 2-3’
|Double Play® Blue Kazoo® Spiraea|
Weigela - Weigela - Full sun
Sonic Bloom® Series – Continuous flowering in a range of flower colors.
Sonic Bloom® Pearl – 4-5’
Sonic Bloom® Pink – 4-5’
Sonic Bloom® Red – 4-5-
Wine Series™ – Early summer flowers and attractive burgundy foliage
Fine Wine® - 2-3’
Spilled Wine® - 2-3’
Wine & Roses® - 4-5’
|Sonic Bloom® Red Weigela|