It’s said that there are only two kinds of people: Those who grow roses and those who wish they did! The Earthkind rose program is for everyone, even those with the proverbial black thumb. To earn the Earthkind designation, a rose must perform very well (note: very well not just well) with a minimum of care.

EarthKind roses are selected to almost thrive on neglect, according to Dr. Steve George, a Texas Cooperative Extension horticulturist at Dallas.

George started the EarthKind rose movement to provide Texas homeowners beautiful, almost maintenance-free roses. Those making the EarthKind cut are hardy, long-lived and easy to grow. They’re also environmentally friendly since they thrive in most all locations without the need for pesticides or commercial fertilizer .

“Give them eight hours of full sun a day, good air movement over the leaves, water as needed and then just enjoy them,” he said. George also stated that excellent soil preparation with lots of finished compost is needed to give these roses the proper start.

There are many different flower colors, mature plant sizes, flower shapes and fragrances in the Earthkind program. In fact, in 2005 the top-selling rose in the US was the Earthkind rose “Knockout”. With roses in bloom, now is a good time to visit your nursery and make your choice. You too can grow roses!

Mary Hamlin, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service



I enjoy going to the Tyler Rose Garden especially when the thousands of roses are in full bloom in the spring and fall. I also enjoy working as Master Gardener in the Heritage Garden where some beautiful varieties of roses are located.

A Master Gardener in training is taught eight general topics from Plant Growth and Development to Water Conservation to Lawn Care and Landscaping (just to mention a few). One of the chapters in the Master Gardening Handbook is titled “Earth-Kind® Landscaping.” Your first question, as was mine, is probably, “what does Earth-Kind® mean? Earth-Kind® is federally registered as a trademark of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service of The Texas A&M University System. It combines best principles of traditional and organic gardening to create effective horticulture practices in our “real world.” It also teaches us “water conservation, landscaping for energy conservation, reduction of fertilizer and pesticide use and reduction of yard wastes entering landfills.”

Now, knowing what Earth-Kind® is, let’s be more specific and discuss Earth-Kind® Roses. These roses are a result of a labor-intensive process based on eight years of research and collected field trial information. The roses are evaluated by a team of seven horticulturists, plant pathologists, entomologists and a soil scientist. During these eight years, no chemical or organic pesticides were applied. The results produced beautiful, low-maintenance plants. These roses proved to be superior in pest tolerance and perform well in landscapes. Earth-Kind® roses do well in a variety of soil types and, once established, also have excellent heat and drought tolerance plants (perfect for weather the East Texas area experienced, especially last summer).

There are many Earth-Kind® rose cultivars and I have selected the Madame Antoine Mari rose because its double and pink blended bloom is fragrant and blooms repeatedly from spring until fall. I enjoy the history of this tea rose which was developed by Antoine Mari in 1901 in Nice, France. This beautiful rose was named “Earth-Kind® Rose of the Year” for 2008 by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

An Earth-Kind® plant just makes sense – a beautiful plant with low maintenance and high survival rate!

Please visit for more information on the Antoine Mari Earth-Kind® tea rose.

Tricia Wiggs, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Posted in Roses