Roses for the North East US

An interesting problem has been noted by some people about hardyness of roses in the North East US. More precisely, the question is about several Buck roses in the NE. There have been several instances of roses that have no problem in my garden, faring poorly in the NE. Earthsong is an example of such a rose. Distant Drums and Prairie Harvest are a couple more.

There are many factors that can contribute this but I feel that there is reasonable evidence that there are certain environmental factors affecting the winter hardyness of roses in the NE. I had temperatures down to -17F this last winter and I also have the wide temperature swings in the spring and fall. So I am assuming it is some factor other than these.

I was wondering if anyone had some comments or ideas about this that they would be willing to share.

On the same line, I am also wondering about some roses that thrive in the NE that are winter hardy. What are some examples of roses that might fall into this catagory?



I’m disappointed to learn that Earthsong and Praire Harvest are not hardy in the NE (as to the NE, what states are you referring to and what climate zones?). I purchased small plants of each as they were supposed to be disease resistant (particularly in the area of blackspot).

Here in Pennsylvania where I am (sometimes we’re classified as NorthEast and sometimes as MidAtlantic), we hit -4 one night last winter. Winter temperatures can swing all winter long. Some winters are wet and rainy and others (like last year) can be rather cold and sometimes snowy. We rarely have consistent snow cover. I was disappointed that many of my roses I planted in the fall did not winter over successfully. (I had purchased them in the spring and grown them in pots over the summer while I got their new bed prepared).

I just purchased (so I have no experience with it) ‘Knockout’. I know it is supposed to be disease resistent and I believe hardy here in my area.

Chris Mauchline

zone 6b

Zone 5 and zone 6.

You may have no problems though. I certainly didnt with these 2. I only had tip damage on both with temps down to -17f.

They are both wonderful roses in my garden.

Knockout has no disease here but can die back quite a bit (zone 5)

I lived the past four years near Worcester, MA in Zone 5A. Last winter we had several days of -20F (and below) morning temps during one particularly bad cold spell. Unfortunately, I was on business travel all Fall/Winter, so I never had opportunity to winter protect. Add to this that the snow had long since disappeared and everything was fully exposed. All grafts were 2"ish below soil level

Here’s what survived the winter:

Dublin Bay Cl

3 Lavaglut

3 Showbiz

Gertrude Jekyll

Royal Sunset

Helmut Schmidt

Baronne Prevost

Here’s what deceased:

All of my mini’s from Robbie Tucker (3 ea of offerings from previous two years)

17 Showbiz

All of my Austins ecxept GJ

all of my Rugosas

2 Westerland Cl

2 Autumn Sunset Cl

Hello Rod,

Which were the killed Rugosas?

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

I had several Blanc Double de Coubert with a WSW exposure. This Spring it appreared to be OK, but when the new growth reached about 1/2" it all wilted and turned brown. Pruning revealed that all of the pith was light brown all the way down to what appears as the graft. It never sent out even a rootstock sucker this summer. I couldn’t find any rodent damage, so I don’t believe that mice/voles/etc are the culprit in their demise.

Bummer, as I relly liked the bloom/fragrance of this variety.

Tomorrow afternoon is my last day here in the Beantown area. I do plan to replant this variety in N Seattle this coming Spring.

At times I feel I can fill a book with all the roses I have tried that ultimately died from winter kill. During this last winter which had little snow accumulation, all my Buck roses with the exception of Prairie Princess, Hawkeye Belle and Paloma Blanca died to the ground. These three had a couple of canes with a few inches surviving above ground. Generally most of the the Bucks came back this spring but with reduced vigor. I should also note that I have several of each scattered about. Here’s a general summary of how the Bucks have survived in Southern New Hampshire. When I say usually survives I am referring to some canes remaining above the soil line.

Amiga Mia- dies to the ground most winters but comes back

Aunt Honey- generally hardy, winters well except last year

Distant Drums- dies to the ground every winter, never gets taller than 18 inches, boarder line

Earth Song- usually survives most winters

Folk Singer- usually survives most winters

Hawkeye Belle- one of my three hardiest Bucks

Hi Neighbor- dies to the ground every winter but recovers

Les Sjulin- dies to the ground every winter but recovers

Paloma Blanca- one of my three hardiest

Pearlie Mae- some canes usually survives most winters, but last winter all died to the ground and 1 out of 5 totally died and never sent up a shoot

Polonaise- usually survives most winters

Prairie Harvest- usually survives most winters however last winter 1 out of 3 died

Prairie Princess- one of my three hardiest

Prairie Star- usually survives most winters

Queen Bee- dies to the ground every winter but recovers

The following Buck’s I would classify as tender for the area, unless you want to spend time protecting them in some manner.I have had several of each and over the course of a few years all have died from winter kill.

Alamande Ho

Brook Song


Gentle Persuasion


Prairie Sunrise

Prairie Valor

Silver Shadows

Wild Ginger

Winter Sunset

Regards and Good Luck