GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

GardenZeus Recommendations for Groundcover Rose Varieties in California Zone 12

Groundcover roses are used in landscapes to cover large areas with masses of flowers; they can grow on slopes, over walls or in empty spaces under larger plants.  Their spreading habit is idea for small gardens as well as for combination planters and large containers.  The American Rose Society does not recognize “groundcover” as a distinct class of roses; however, the roses below are either described as groundcover roses by their breeders, or are typically used as groundcover roses by rosarians and landscapers.  Groundcover roses are among the easiest roses to maintain because they require only a general pruning to 1/3 of their bush size in late winter and not the regular pruning or deadheading associated with many other classes of roses. They are also particularly resistant to pests and diseases, tolerant of temperature extremes, forgiving of human and animal footprints, and, fortunately for today’s California gardeners, extremely drought tolerant.

All of the groundcover rose varieties below will perform well in your zone. These roses differ based on their flower color and characteristics, as well as their plant size. Groundcover roses are generally not known for their fragrance, but when a particular variety does have a significant fragrance, we have described that below. All are repeat blooming unless noted.



  • Snow Ballet®: white double blooms two inches wide are tinged with pink. Mild fragrance. Plant grows up to 2 feet high to 5 feet wide.
  • Arctic Sunrise: An excellent small white rose ideal for tight spaces. A dense continually blooming plant covered with many small 1 inch crystal white blooms. Plant grows up to 2 feet high and 5 feet wide.


  • Yellow Ribbons®: Excellent yellow groundcover rose. Deep yellow buds open to 2 inch blooms on plants with glossy, dark green foliage. Mild fragrance. Plant grows up to 2 feet high and 2 feet wide.
  • Carpet of Color™: For a constant supply of gold, pink and red color. This rose produces a continual bloom, or carpet of color, in the garden. It has small cupped, ruffled, semi-double 1 ½ inch blooms in a striking blend of gold, pink and scarlet. Mild fragrance. Plant grows to 2 feet high and 6 feet wide.


  • Coral Drift®: For coral to orange color on small plant. These bright coral to orange blooms cover this small shrub from spring to fall. Grows to 1 ½ feet high and 2 ½ feet wide.
  • Christopher Marlowe: Excellent orange and pink bicolor with old rose shape. These short, vigorous shrubs produce continuous orange flowers that fade to salmon/pink with age. Pleasing tea fragrance with a hint of lemon. Plant grows to 2 ½ feet high and 3 feet wide.


  • Flower Carpet® RED: Best red groundcover rose. This prolific bloomer forms a low mound covered with bright red flowers with bright yellow centers. Drought tolerant when established. Deciduous. Plant grows to 2 ½ feet high and 3 feet wide.


  • Oso Easy® Pink Cupcake: Easy to grow and disease resistant, this rose has fragrant single pink 1 ½ inch flowers on a bush with glossy green foliage. Covers large areas, slopes and other difficult locations. Grows up to 2 feet high and 4 feet wide.
  • Raubritter: For one-time spectacular splash of old fashioned pink blossoms. Fully double cupped bright pink blooms on spreading bush. Blooms once in spring. Ideal for trailing over walls. Fragrant. Plant grows to 3 or more feet high and 4 ½ feet wide.
  • Flower Carpet® Pink Splash: Masses of bi-color hot pink and pale pink blooms from spring through fall on a plant with rich glossy green foliage. Easy care and exceptionally disease resistant. Grows up to 2 ½ feet high and up to 2 1//4 feet wide.
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