The knockout rose is a popular plant in many people’s landscapes and with good reason. Introduced in the year 2000 and winner of numerous awards, including rose of the year from the American Rose Society, it is the most widely sold rose in North America. Over the past couple of landscape seasons, our customers have had questions about, or simply did not understand all the benefits of these great roses. Here is a little “rose primer”, if you will, about the knockout rose.
The rose was created by Wisconsin rose breeder, William Radler, who was looking to reduce the “to do list” in rose gardens. It is a cold hardy, disease resistant, and self cleaning; meaning, there is no need to deadhead.
That’s right, I said, NO NEED TO DEADHEAD! True pruning (trimming or cutting off parts of the plant that are superfluous, or to improve the shape or growth), should really only be done about once a year. The knockout website as well as other experts agree, the time to prune is late winter to early spring (after the last hard frost, but before new growth appears). Do not prune in the fall. When pruning, remove and dead or damaged wood, and do little shaping if necessary. Knockouts are designed to grow vigorously, so prune them down to about 2-2 ½’ below the height you would like them to be. According to the knockout website, these roses are “the most disease resistant rose on the market”. Spraying for disease is unnecessary.
So, If you love the look of roses in your garden, but hate the long list of “rose chores” that usually goes along with maintaining them, the knockout rose is the rose for you.