Knockout Roses: Still the Undisputed Champ
The Knockout family of roses was introduced in the early 2000’s by Star roses and has since become a staple of sunny borders across the country. These plants were bred to simplify rose gardening. And, wow what a success! The traditional rose “rule book” was completely thrown out of the window with the introduction of these shrub roses. These are not Grandma’s roses! Requiring minimal maintenance, these roses grace our mixed borders and foundation plantings with an almost non-stop show of color from Spring until a hard frost. Extremely cold hardy, disease, and pest resistant, and incredibly floriferous, these plants truly have become the “king” of the rose ring!
These bulletproof roses come in seven colors ranging from red/pink to creamy yellow/white. The pink/red varieties also come in a double petal version. The natural proclivity of these roses is to form a shrub in the 4’x4’ size range, but smaller sizes are easily maintained with simple pruning. Again, no need to worry about traditional rose pruning rules here. Just cut them down to the desired size in late winter/early spring while the plant is still dormant. I, myself cut them down to approximately 6” above the ground every season! Did I mention how tough these roses are? For those who want them a little larger, just prune off about one-third of the plant every season, retaining a nice rounded shape.
For best flowering, it is ideal to feed your roses with a complete fertilizer made specifically for roses. There are many wonderful brands to choose from. Come see us here at Van Wilgen’s to get the one that is best suited for your situation. Ideally, they should be fed after each flowering cycle. This is the time in between the flowers starting to fade and the formation of new flower buds for the next “round” of blooms. At the very least, I would recommend feeding your roses in Spring and Fall while you are fertilizing your other shrubs and perennials in the garden. I personally like the addition of compost as a top dressing. Not only will this feed your roses, but it will also eventually break down and improve the garden’s soil. Of course, the removal of any spent (dead) flowers will help to promote the formation of new buds, but with the Knockout series of roses, this is not a necessary step. These roses are self-cleaning!
It is easy to see why these roses have become so popular. With sunshine, water, and minimal maintenance they put on a show that is almost unrivaled in the garden. Because of their hardy nature and ease of care, they really have become a go-to plant for beginner and experienced gardeners alike. Fall is a fantastic time to plant new material and to take advantage of our end-of-season sales. The perfect opportunity to try this outstanding line of roses or to add to your existing collection. We would be more than happy to answer any questions or help in any way necessary. We look forward to seeing you soon!