Planting roses as ground cover is just one aspect of the increasingly popular trend of using roses in nontraditional landscape roles, from hedges to edgings. Prostrate varieties like the ‘Flower Carpet’ and ‘Meidiland’ roses and others cover the ground nicely and provide an abundance of color. But planting roses as ground cover should be done carefully. Don’t forget, these plants will be leafless and a bit on the rangy side during the dormant season, and they do need the same care as regular roses.
Start with a small planting, say three, five or seven plants. Prepare the soil, working in generous amounts of organic matter such as compost. Plant through landscape fabric (available in nurseries and garden centers) to prevent weeds. Space plants according to the vigor of the variety. Install drip irrigation and, for the best appearance, cover the area with several inches of an organic mulch such as ground bark.