Do you like roses but don’t want to deal with all the fuss it takes to have some roses in the garden? Then this is a rose to consider. Although limited in colors and bloom type, they still provide wonderful color all summer season long without tending. When we built the gardens on our horse farm, we purchased one of the very first ones and I knew they were on to something here. PRK loved roses and we did have a formal rose garden, but I would not allow any insecticides and that presented a challenge. We compromised, after I shared an article with him, that he could let the first ones that returned in the spring bloom, and then instead of battling insects, disease, etc., you can cut them back, and they will bloom again once more. Although the roses did not continually flower, he got to have his specialized roses, which were beautiful, bloom twice, and I got to keep the farm chemical free. Now Knockout Roses solve many of the problems of rose keeping, as they are pretty much care free. This rose, developed by Bill Radler, is now the most sold rose in America. They are heat tolerant throughout all of the US, and are winter hardy to zone 5 without protection. The Knock Out Roses grow about 3-4ft tall and as wide, and can be used in several ways. Plant among flowers in your garden beds, giving them enough individual space. Or plant them closer together to form a hedge or plant them alone as a specimen plant. I have several that I have planted in containers and they continue to thrive both out in the lawn area and on the deck. At present there are 7 available Knockout Roses. Below are photos and a brief description of each one.
All of these roses have the same characteristics. These include tons of flowers, low maintenance, drought tolerant, black spot resistant, self cleaning (means no deadheading, yeah!). They grow 3-5 ft high by 3 to 4 ft spread. USDA Hardiness Zone 5 to 11. They are also strongly disease resistant, tolerate a large variance in soil PH and need pretty much full sun, 5-6 hours a day. Mine do well with sun from sunrise until 1pm, when they are then in dappled shade for the rest of the day. Below are some examples of how they look in various settings.
These roses need to be pruned once a year and in the spring only!!!! Prune off about two thirds and you will have lush, full roses. Many think that roses are complicated to prune, and many a book has been written on just that part of rose raising. I am a fan of this short video…..my kind of gardener guy…..make it easy peasy. He also has a sense of humor. I have pruned so many flowers and shrubs this way and they do extremely well, although I do make cleaner cuts! I think he does also, but was just trying to illustrate how easy it really is. We want gardening to be fun! Video is just a few minutes long, but very instructive.
And after they begin profuse blooming, make a few cuttings and enjoy them in your home. The cuttings below are from the roses along the side of the house…..from one of my pocket gardens.
I hope I have encouraged you to consider some roses if you had in anyway before felt intimidated about trying them. They are easy to grow, beautiful and relatively maintenance free. They are available at most independent garden centers as well as the bigger box stores. This year even my grocery store had them out front of the store in May for Mother’s Day. Thanks for reading! Laters, charisse