The Tough Little 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.