The Knockout rose is a sturdy, easy-to-grow variety created by Wisconsin Botanist and rose expert William Radler in his quest for a disease-resistant rose bush that will add beauty to any landscape without the usual high-maintenance that goes with growing other varieties of roses.
The Knockout rose is a beautiful, undemanding, newest addition to the rose genre. Caring for Knockout roses, which generally reach three feet in height and maintain a rounded shape within the garden landscape, is easy enough to make them a good choice for beginning rose growers. The icing on the cake is that rose experts hail the Knockout rose as among the longest-blooming flowers grown. But like all varieties of roses, Knockout roses do require some basic nurturing for maximum success.
While most people enjoy the beauty, fragrance and elegance of cut roses in a vase, Knockout roses are not well suited to this purpose. The job of Knockout roses is to fill an outdoors landscape with a hardy, repeat blooming plant to grace a garden or yard. By crossing the Carefree Beauty rose with the Razzle Dazzle rose (both hardy varieties) Radler developed a new rose that managed to win the 2000 All American Rose Award and excite the world of rose growers overnight.
Caring for Knockout roses starts the moment you bring them home. The shrub you begin with will grow to about three-foot x three-foot, and produce small (approximately three-inch) bright red blooms that continuously blossom straight through to fall. In the early spring, prune them down to about two feet shorter than you want them to be by midsummer, but no shorter than 12-inches.
Caring for Knockout roses involves pruning before new plant growth begins, and continuing to prune all through the growing season to keep its size manageable, although for the most part that means simply clipping the stray shoot to maintain the plant’s shape. Since they are self-cleaning, it is not necessary to deadhead your Knockouts during the bloom season, unless you want to remove an older bloom that refuses to shed itself.
Like all roses, Knockouts need good sunlight, although they tend to do well in light shade. Their soil should be well drained and fertile. Being a shrub, Knockout roses can look bare and a bit unsightly in the winter, so keep this fact in mind when you’re choosing the spot in which to plant them. If they’re placed close to winter plants, like evergreens, your lawn will benefit from the camouflage afforded the spare winter appearance of the Knockout’s hibernating state.
It’s important not to mistake low-maintenance with no-maintenance when it comes to caring for Knockout roses.Water only at the base, keeping the foliage dry to prevent fungal disorders. Climate rated for zones 5 and south, placing a layer of mulch after the first frost will protect them from extreme winter temperatures effecting the root system. If your Knockouts are planted in pots, move them inside since their roots will not survive freezing temperatures.