AUBURN, Ala – Everything is coming up roses, Knock Out Roses that is. Bred in 1999 and introduced in 2000, the Knock Out Rose has seen a rise to stardom in landscapes from the start. Today it is the most sold breed of rose in North America according to Star Roses and Plants.
With the arrival of spring, Knock Out Roses will again make their appearance in landscapes as they begin to bloom.
“As with most woody ornamentals, it is best to plant in the fall so that they can establish a good root system before the spring flush of growth,” said Bethany O’Rear, a regional horticulture agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. “They can be planted at other times of the year such as spring or even early summer, but will require much more maintenance during the establishment phase – more water and subject to increased pest pressure.”
There are optimal conditions for growing Knock Out Roses, but this breed is known for being especially easy to grow. The Knock Out Rose was originally marketed as disease resistant, adaptable to many conditions and repeat bloomers. However, as with most plants, they are susceptible to some diseases.
“One of the biggest issues that they face is rose rosette disease,” said Jim Jacobi, an extension plant pathology specialist. “It has been worse in north Alabama than south Alabama, especially in the Tennessee Valley. It has the potential to kill the plant within two to four years after being infected.”
Good air circulation and well-drained soil will encourage growth and ultimately aid sustained plant health.
“Usually the best way to treat the plants is just as issues pop up, because they don’t have a lot of problems,” said Jacobi. “Being able to recognize things early, familiarizing yourself, recognizing pests…but also making sure you’re planting in the right spot, fertilizing appropriately, using good soil – everything to make a healthy plant, will minimize the effects of insects and disease.”
Knock Out Roses grow in seven colors and last until the first frost. Knock Out Roses grow best in full sunlight, but they can tolerate some shade.
“Knock Out Roses are vigorous growers, so pruning may be necessary, depending on how large they are allowed to grow in the landscape,” said O’Rear. “If left unpruned, they can reach 6 feet wide and 6 feet tall.”
With proper plant care and maintenance, Knock Out Roses will own up to their name and make your landscape a “knockout”.