Knockout Roses have quickly become the hottest variety of roses to hit the market in decades. Gardeners rave over these beautiful shrub roses because they produce copious blooms with far less care and attention than traditional rose varieties.
The first Knockout Rose was brought to market in 2000. Since then it’s become the most sold rose in North America–and for good reason!
Very Low Maintenance. Because Knockouts are disease resistant and self-cleaning, they require little maintenance. Their easy care is what’s responsible for their immense popularity. They are perfect for the casual gardener who loves roses but would rather not perform the upkeep required for traditional hybrid tea roses. No deadheading needed!
Drought/Heat Tolerant. Once the plants are established, they can handle all but the most severe heat and drought — another reason they are loved by the casual gardener. No more worrying about watering the plants when going away on vacation or business!
Hardy. These amazing flowers are resistant to black spot and powdery mildew. They are hardy to Zone 5, and can be protected or brought indoors for colder climates. According to one person who left a comment on my cabbage roses site, Knockout Roses “can survive all the abuse a New England winter dishes out.”
Long Blooming. This variety will start blooming in the spring and keep producing and producing and producing until well into the fall season.
Fast Growing. It’s almost magical how within a month or two of planting you’ll get a full bush of roses! The blooms are also quick to respond to pruning.
Versatile. Knockout Roses look great anywhere, from landscaping to roadside plantings or garden borders. They look great in containers and are perfect for specimen plantings.
As great as they are, Knockout Roses are not perfect. They don’t have a very strong fragrance for one thing. Also, Knockouts don’t last long in a vase once the flowers are cut.
Where Knockouts Originated
These otherwise wonderful roses were created by a breeder named Bill Radler. He crossed the Carefree Beauty variety with Razzle Dazzle seedlings, and the original Knockout Rose was born. Since then a number of varieties of the flower have been introduced, ranging from a rich, vibrant red to blush and now even yellow colors.
The original and Rainbow variety of Knockout Roses were named as “All-America Rose Selections” in 2000 and 2007. Very prestigious awards indeed!
You can purchase both grafted and non-grafted plants. Both are easy maintenance and should do well in your garden.
Planting and Caring
In some ways Knockout Roses are just like any other rose. One of those ways is that they do best with no less than six to eight hours of sunlight every day (though they are generally more shade-tolerant than hybrid tea roses). Also like traditional roses, you need to plant Knockouts where there’s good air flow and soil that is well-drained. For best results, the soil pH level should fall somewhere between 6.0 and 6.5.
These rose bushes get quite large, ranging from three to five feet tall and wide (though some sources claim they can reach as high as eight feet if not pruned). So be careful to space the plants out accordingly when planting.
You’ll want to water the bushes regularly after planting until they’ve been well established. A solid layer of mulch is also suggested (three inches ought to do it). Just be sure to pull the mulch away from the stem of the plants.
To get the best performance from these roses, it’s recommended that you cut them back each year in springtime. Make sure the last frost has passed before doing so.
The Original Knockout. The original rose has a single red-to-magenta blossom. (Rosa ‘Radrazz’)
Double Knockout. Like the original, this variety is also cherry-red, but with double blooms. An added advantage is that it’s a little more cold-tolerant than the original. (Rosa ‘Radtko’)
Pink Knockout. Single blossoms like the original, only with a delightful light pink color. (Rosa ‘Radcon’)
Pink Double Knockout. Like the double knockout but in pink. (Rosa ‘Radtkopink’)
Rainbow Knockout. My personal favorite, the Rainbow Knockout has pink single flowers but with a yellow center. It’s a little smaller than the other varieties, though. (Rosa ‘Radcor’)
Blushing Knockout. The most pale pink variety of the Knockout line. (Rosa ‘Radyod’)
Sunny Knockout. The most fragrant of the Knockouts, this variety is bright yellow in color. (Rosa ‘Radsunny’)
Interested in growing garden roses? Then visit my cabbage rose site!