The Tough Little Knockout Rose

The Double Red Knockout Rose
The Double Red Knockout Rose

If you love roses, but lack the needed green thumb or live in an unpredictable climate, the tough little Knockout Rose is the rose for you. In my former home, I could grow beautiful roses of literally any type. Recently I moved to an area of unpredictable weather, spells of drought, and spells of extreme heat, where the winters are too short for northern varieties to get the long winter's sleep they prefer. Rose growing seemed to be a thing of the past for me, that is, until I discovered the tough little Knockout Rose.

The Knockout Rose is virtually disease resistant, especially to black spot, the scourge of most rose growers. It is extremely hardy, and surprisingly heat and drought tolerant. It is a prolific rose, and the bushes will be covered with blooms from early spring to late fall. In some areas, it will bloom virtually year round. Pruning does help the plant to bush out, but if left unpruned, the Knockout will reach heights of over six feet. It will be correspondingly wide, so plan your planting carefully. I dead-head my roses simply to make them more attractive, but the wonderful little Knockout Rose will continue to bloom profusely, whether you dead-head or not.

Bill Radler is the breeder of the Knockout Rose, and the whole Knockout series of roses. He began growing roses as a child, and never lost his passion for this most loved of all flowers. Because he knew firsthand the work involved in growing and caring for roses, Mr. Radler set out to grow a rose that would need little care, survive in most climates, be resistant to disease, and provide large and profuse blooms, all season long.

Breeding anything is not easy. It takes knowledge, passion, determination, and patience. And above all, it takes time. And after ten years of all five, the original Knockout Rose was born. To date there are seven Knockout Roses, six in shades of pink and red, and one yellow. Some are open, similar to wild roses, and others are full-petaled, like the rose pictured above. For some rose growers the Knockout has two very small draw-backs. It is not strongly scented for a rose, and it does not last long as a cut flower. But you can be sure, that in the years to come Knockouts will be developed to please even the fussiest growers. There are many areas where only the Knockout will thrive, and there, these small drawbacks are not even a consideration. That tough little rose is now the best selling rose in North America.

Knockouts, like all roses, need a minimum of six hours of sun daily, and they do like well-drained rich soil. When planting make your hole about twice as wide as the pot, and slightly deeper. Water well until established, as you would with any plant. Just before winter sets in, mulch your rose well around the roots. In late fall, or early spring, you can, if you choose, prune your rose to about half its present size. This will encourage branching. I have a neighbor who never prunes, and her large bushes circle her house in a glorious display of color, year after year.

The Knockout Rose is a true champion of the rose world. It eliminates the work and the worry, allowing gardeners more time to sit back and enjoy the beauty of rose.

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Comments 15 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

This rose truly is a knock-out! They do seem to be easily grown and provide such a beautiful addition to the garden. Quite an interesting history as well. Thanks for sharing.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Never prunes?! Sold! :)

Thanks for this look at the Knockout Rose. It is a fabulous plant and this will be a helpful education to people wondering what they want to plant next.


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Very interesting. We have clay desert soil, do you think it would do well in a large pot?

Voted up useful and interesting, Joyce.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Teachers 12345 - nice to hear from you again - it really is a spectacular rose - just shows what determination and patience can produce - B.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hi RTallone - I guess the Knockout could also be named the lazy person's rose - I couldn't believe how easy they were until I tried them - how big you let them get depends on what you want - just a great little rose - B.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hello Writer 20 - thanks for commenting - I have only grown miniature roses in containers - if I were you I would either dig a large hole and fill it with good soil for your rose - it can then go down as it chooses - I would probably feed it well if you doubt your soil - or, you could knock the bottom out of a pot and sink it into some enriched soil - just my opinion here - if any rose is going to perform for you, the Knockout will - I really thought my rose-growing days were over, until I got my first Knockout - regards, B.


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Okay billip I'll look for the rose, thank you joyce.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I have a Knock Out Rose that I've had for four years. I live in S. Fl. and this beauty blooms all the time. I agree, it's a great rose. Mine has no fragrance, but its beauty make up for that. I vote this UP.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I am not sure what kind of roses i have due to purching a home with beautiful roses. I love roses and the Knock Out Rose is gorgeos..Thank you....


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hello Mary - I hear that Florida is one of the places where Knockout Roses will bloom year round - is that true of yours? - B.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Always exploring - you are very fortunate to have all those lovely roses just waiting for you - years ago I moved into that type of home with gorgeous climbers all over the front of the house - I did have to prune them but other than that they were pretty self-sustaining - nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting - B.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

There are two flowers I cherish; the iris and the rose. Growing them has always intimidated me, so I thank you for this very helpful hub.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Great well written hub, i had not heard of the knockout rose before but will look for it here so i can have a few of them in my yard .

Vote up and more !!!


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hi Kashmir - thank you for reading and commenting on this hub - I hope you're as satisfied with this rose as I am - it has certainly changed my opinion on rose care - B.


Sparkle Chi profile image

Sparkle Chi 4 years ago from Chandler, AZ

The knock out rose looks lovely! I may have to try my hand at growing it!

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