Winter is rose pruning time and the Flower Carpet or other ground cover type roses are some of the easiest to prune. They can be trimmed throughout the year to maintain shape and size and then once a year in late winter cut the bush back to rejuvenate and reinvigorate the plant. Although the shrub will only look like stalks initially, the bush will re-establish with healthy new growth and flower in eight to 12 weeks, depending on climate.


Begin by cutting off the dead branches and any branches that are running along the ground and sending out new roots. Give the bush a rough hair cut first and then work at cutting it back to around 20-30cm (8-12″) from the base. If you think that is too drastic at least cut it back to half the size of the original bush. Work towards an even shape with not too many crossing branches. The winter pruning encourages new growth and greater flowering. Put the prunings through a garden shredder or compost them.

Tip: When pruning roses always wear gloves to protect your hands from the sharp thorns.

Plant details

  • long flowering for up to 10 months in a wide variety of colours
  • disease resistant
  • pleasant rose fragrance
  • neat compact bush 80cm (2’4″) high and up to 1m (3′) wide


  • every spring and summer feed Flower Carpet roses with timed release fertiliser, high in potash like Debco Green Jacket six month Rose Booster (50g sachet rrp. $1.95 or 400g shaker container rrp. $4.95)
  • water well and keep moist at all times
  • during the first winter protect from extreme cold but after that they are very hardy


  • sunny position for more than four hours a day
  • for hedge-like effect plant 60-90cm (2-3′) apart
  • container or hanging basket at least 40cm (16″) wide


Flower Carpet and other ground cover roses are available from nurseries throughout Australia.

New release for New Zealand – available from October 2015 at your nearest garden centre.

Flower Carpet® Sunset is a bright tangerine coloured groundcover rose, one of the series of Flower Carpet groundcover roses first introduced in 1992 by Anthony Tesselaar International. Bred by Noack Rosen, the German hybridiser known for their early commitment to disease-resistant hybrids, Flower Carpet Sunset shares the impressive levels of disease resistance of its Flower Carpet cousins.

Flower Carpet Sunset is a top-performing groundcover rose that blooms in profusion from late Spring through Autumn and, like its predecessors, exhibits excellent natural disease-resistance in the landscape.

Flower Carpet Sunset has tangerine coloured single flowers, which fade over time to a light coral shade. Throughout the bloom season, Flower Carpet Sunset continues to look fresh with glossy green leaves unmarred by spent blossoms as its petals fall cleanly away after flowers have peaked.

Simple to grow and easy to maintain, without any spraying or even fancy pruning. All you need is a pair of garden shears and then cut back, any-way-which-way, to 1/3rd of the bush size in late winter/early spring and you’re done. No guessing, No worrying, No Kidding.

Key Features

  • Masses of tangerine coloured blooms and glossy green foliage.
  • Attractive bush shape and appearance.
  • Bright, vivid presence in the landscape or garden.
  • Easy-care and disease-resistance.

Suggested Uses
Flower beds, mass plantings, large containers, landscapes, hanging baskets, and as tree roses. A perfect commercial landscaping plant for low-maintenance colour.

Growth Habit
Bushes are low, dense and compact.

Plant Size
As a mature plant, Flower Carpet® Sunset grows to 80cm high and 80cm wide.

Flower Size
Medium sized (about 50-75mm across).

Plant 2-3 per square metre, for ground cover. Plant 80cm apart to establish boundaries. Can be planted anytime during Spring, Summer or Autumn.

Flower Carpet roses will thrive in all areas.

Flowering Period
Flowering from late Spring and continues to late autumn.

Number Of Flowers
In full sun, a well-fed, well-watered, mature bush can produce up to 2,000 flowers per season. When mature, bears flowers in clusters up to eight-inches across, with each having up to 20-30 blossoms on average.

Flower Colour
Tangerine coloured single flowers, fading to coral.

Not fragrant.

Dark glossy green, medium sized leaves.

No fancy pruning needed. Cut back by 2/3rds annually in late winter or early spring. Trim to shape anytime of year, if desired. The bush is self-cleaning with few rose hips, no dead-heading required, petals fall away cleanly.

Light Needs
For best bloom, grow in full sun. Grows well in partial shade (4-5 hours of sun per day) with reduced blooms. In areas of intense heat and sun, semi-shade/filtered light.

Soil Needs
Can thrive in a variety of soil conditions. Performs best in well-drained friable garden soil with added organic matter.

Water Needs
When planting in the landscape, water in well particularly during hot conditions and continue to water regularly until the plant is established. Flower Carpet roses are very tolerant of dry conditions once established.

For maximum flowering and performance, feed with a balanced (15:5.2:10) controlled release rose fertiliser in early spring and again in late summer. For established landscape plants apply 1 to 2 handfuls around the base of the plant and incorporate into the soil by gentle surface cultivation.

Disease Tolerance
Very tolerant of common rose diseases such as black spot and mildew. It does not require routine chemical spraying in the landscape, apply only if needed.

Pest Issues
Treat for insect pests only as needed.

How to grow ground cover roses

Backfill and firm in place with your heel and water in well.

Propagating ground cover roses

As ground cover roses sprawl across the soil, they may root as they grow. It tends to be the relatives of Rosa wichuraiana that behave in this way. The easiest way to propagate them is to look for a rooted stem in spring or autumn and cut the stem free of the parent plant, dig up the new roots and pot on.

To encourage stems to root, pin a section of stem to the ground and cover it with soil.

Rose leaves exhibiting powdery mildew

Ground cover roses: problem solving

Roses should not be planted in the ground were another rose previously lived. Rose replant disease is a little understood problem, but plants often struggle to thrive.

As with all other roses, ground cover roses can be prone to black spot, aphids, dieback and powdery mildew. However, good garden hygiene will reduce the risk of infection. Clear up fallen leaves and prune with clean secateurs.

As many ground cover roses are modern varieties, a large number will display a resistance to common rose problems.


Shrubby types require very little, if any, pruning. Prune out dead, diseased and damaged wood in March. Some gardeners simply run a pair of garden shears over the plant after flowering.

For the rambling types, which throw out stems that spread metres, pruning may be required after flowering. Reduce the length of stems by cutting just above an upward-facing bud. This will keep the plants in their allotted space.

Where space is not an issue you can get away without pruning regularly.

Choosing roses for the garden

Within the Rosa genus there are hundreds of species and thousands of cultivars. It’s easy to get confused by all the terms. To make life easier visit a rose garden, admire the scents and jot down which roses you favoured. Ordering roses without seeing them can be tricky.

Pale-lemon/cream blooms of rose ‘Flower Carpet Sunshine’

Ground cover roses to try

  • Rosa Flower Carpet – this range of roses is disease-resistant and they flower from early summer until autumn. Cope well in drought conditions. There are different types of Flower Carpet but pink is the original. Spread up to 1m
  • Rosa ‘Grouse’ – single, pure-white flowers. Red hips. A vigorous rose that offers disease-resistance. Spread 3m. Scented flowers all summer
  • Rosa ‘Worcestershire’ – bright yellow, semi-double blooms. Flower from June to September. Lies tight to the ground. Spread 1m
  • Rosa ‘Nozomi’ – pearly pink flowers all summer. Ideal for a large container. Spread 120cm
  • Rosa ‘Surrey’ – fragrant, double rose pink flowers all summer. Spread of 120cm


Roses by colour

  • 10 red roses to grow
  • Orange roses to grow
  • Yellow roses to grow
  • Pink roses to grow
  • Purple roses to grow

How to Prune Carpet Roses

Carpet roses, also known as groundcover roses, feature vigorous canes that grow nearly prostrate and only have slight upward growth or mounding. Some cultivars of carpet rose have an everblooming habit, while others bloom only in spring. Like other types of roses, carpet roses require pruning to maintain a tidy form. However, carpet rose pruning does not need to be as exact and methodical as the pruning of other types of roses.

Step 1

Shear off or cut back the carpet rose in late fall after growth has stopped or in early spring before growth resumes. Simply cut the rose back so that it is about a foot tall or cut off the top two-thirds of the plant using a hedge trimmer.

Step 2

Trim off any especially vigorous or wild-looking stems as they appear throughout the growing season. Cut the vigorous shoot back to a main stem.

Step 3

Trim the entire plant lightly to maintain a tidy form throughout the growing season, if desired.

Step 4

Remove any dead, diseased or damaged stems as they appear.

Step 5

Avoid deadheading, or removing spent flowers, from the carpet roses unless desired. These cultivars do not generally require deadheading.

Flower Carpet roses: colourful and easy-care

TESSELAAR.COM Carpet rose ‘Amber’.

When it comes to roses already in our gardens, don’t be trigger happy with the pruning shears.

If there are late and dead flowers on a bush, leave them there. Some might produce hips. Roses need their winter rest and it would be a mistake to be overly neat and prune too early. When I pruned my mother’s roses, I could see the panic in her eyes towards the end of June but I never had time to prune her roses or mine until well into July. I explained that as long as it was done before bud burst in spring, all was right with the world and the roses would be better for the rest, but I don’t think she ever believed me.

TESSELAAR.COM Carpet rose ‘Gold’.

June is a good time to begin the winter clean-up spray of copper oxychloride and winter oil. Make up the spray according to the directions given and spray two or three times (according to whether your roses were lightly or badly affected) at fortnightly intervals. Spray all over the bush and around the base. This spray destroys the spores of fungoid diseases, scale, and eggs of aphids – so it is hugely important if you want your roses to get a good start in the spring.

Never spray in hot sun or on a windy day, and take reasonable precautions. Wear old clothes that cover your arms and legs, cover your head and wear a simple mouth and nose mask. Take a shower when you have finished. Then sit by the fire and look forward to spring!

NZ Gardener

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Flower Carpet ‘Amber’

Many knowledgeable rose folks in Birmingham say that President’s Day in mid- February is the optimum time to prune roses. Others say we should “prune roses when the forsythia blooms.” Well, here we are at the beginning of March, the forsythia is (almost) blooming, and life has gotten in the way of my rose duties…

Flower Carpet ‘Amber’ rose before pruning

If you haven’t pruned your roses yet, it’s not the end of the world. They’ll be just fine if they’re not pruned exactly on President’s Day. (Trust me on this; I generally miss this date each year.) So, on the next nice day, put it on your list of to-dos. My plan each spring is to clean out any old mulch in the perennial/annual beds that my roses are in before pruning. When I’m done pruning and cleaning out the beds, I’ll remulch everything. This helps cut down on any old, diseased material in the garden.

Preventing disease problems by providing better air circulation through your shrub or climbing rose is the primary reason for pruning them, along with encouraging new growth and better flowering. When you’re finished, your roses should also generally be more open and a better shape than when you started.

Always use clean, sharp pruners and, if the canes are large, loppers and wear long sleeves and gauntlet gloves. It’s good pruning practice to also wipe the cutting surface of your pruners with either rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to avoid the spread of disease.

The center is more open, but there’s more to do…

Begin by taking a look at the rose. Do you see gray, dead canes? Cut those out first. Depending on the winter, there may be quite a few dead canes or there might not be many at all. This is always the first place to start with any pruning task.

Take a look at the base of the shrub. Do you see “suckers” – green shoots coming straight up from the very base of the shrub? Cut those out next.

Okay, you’ve removed dead branches and suckers. Next, cut out any weak or twiggy branches thinner than a pencil. What you’re trying to do is thin out the entire shrub, improving air circulation which should help in reducing common disease problems.

Flower Carpet “Amber’ rose – pruning complete

Step back and take another look. The shrub should be looking a bit smaller. Now select 4-6 of the remaining canes and cut them back to a height of 1′-4′. Look closely at the stems before you cut and you’ll see buds. Make your cut at a 45 degree angle, just above (about 1/4″) an outward facing bud. This is important to remember because, once again, the goal is to create outward growth for better air circulation through the plant. It’s all about preventing disease problems. What you’re left with when you’re done should be a well shaped, open shrub.

Rosarians also say that climbing roses need minimal pruning at this time of year. So, if you have any climbing roses, prune to remove dead or winter damaged canes; then prune them lightly after their initial spring bloom to control their size.

Rosea chinensis ‘Butterfly’

Many of you have the antique shrub roses such as Rosea chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ Butterfly Rose. These old fashioned roses need a light trimming; prune about 1/3 of the growth in the spring and then lightly groom them throughout the growing season.

For all of you who have the ubiquitous ‘Knockout’ roses, they are incredibly vigorous growers. They can easily be cut back by half or more after doing the usual pruning out of dead canes and twiggy growth.

Yellow Knockout prior to any pruning

The pictures here show a yellow ‘Knockout’ rose that I really need to move out of this bed; but, since it seems to still be here (Life got in the way of moving it too.), I have decided to cut it back quite severely. I bet by the end of summer it will still be enormous! (As a side note, I clearly remember, when the ‘Knockout’ series of roses came out, the height given at maturity was 3 feet. How wrong that was!) Here you see the before and after pictures.

This yellow Knockout rose will grow to tremendous proportions in a season!

Now that the roses are pruned, I will mix up some Haven Moo Poo Tea (We’ve just started carrying it.) for a good organic boost. Then the fresh layer of shredded bark mulch is added to finish the beds.

Another excellent link on pruning roses can be found in this article from the Jefferson County Extension Service. See it HERE.

This is one of those garden tasks that takes a bit of time but, in the end, is well worth the effort!

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