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Growing Knock Out Roses

Guest Author - Michelle Ullman

Since winning the All-America Rose Selection award in 2000, the year of its introduction, the Knock Out rose has gone on to become the most widely sold rose in the United States. Developed by Bill Radler and brought to market by Conard-Pyle, years of rose breeding produced a rose that is resistant to blackspot, easy to grow and full of flowers. The Knock Out rose is one of the hardiest roses available today.

  • The original Knock Out is a cherry red, with an open, loosely petaled flower. Since the original Knock Out, six more varieties have joined the Knock Out family.

  • Double Knock Out is the same cherry red color, but with a much fuller flower, similar to a classic hybrid tea.

  • Pink Knock Out is a cheerful, bubblegum pink, with an open, five-petaled bloom.

  • Double Pink Knock Out brings the same bright pink to a fully petaled, traditional rose flower.

  • Rainbow Knock Out is yellow in the center, shading out to a medium pink. Each flower has 5-6 petals.

  • Blushing Knock Out is a pale, delicate pink, with 5-6 petals on each bloom.

  • Sunny Knock Out is a yellow rose, fading to a creamy white as the flowers age. Each bloom is sparsely petaled. This is also the only fragrant member of the Knock Out family.


The entire Knock Out family shares a size of 3-4 feet high and equally wide. You can keep them smaller by lightly pruning them to the desired size. Like all roses, Knock Outs prefer a sunny location, but unlike most roses, will tolerate and bloom in a lightly shaded spot. Plant your Knock Out roses in well-drained, fertile soil, and mulch well. Wait to fertilize your Knock Out roses until they have settled in and gone through at least one bloom cycle. You can then feed them with a good organic fertilizer worked into the soil around the plantís canes. Donít let fertilizer sit on your rosebush, as this can cause burns.

Though Knock Outs are more drought-resistant than most other roses, they still require steady water. Keep the soil moist, though not soggy, and be sure to check the soil moisture frequently during the summer.

No need for tedious deadheading with your Knock Out roses, as they will drop the faded flowers on their own. You can expect a wave of blooms to cover the bush every 5 Ė 6 weeks from spring through the fall. Once winter arrives, no need for special care. Knock Out are hardy even down to USDA gardening zone 5, with average winter lows of -25, but an extra heaping of mulch will help protect the bush through the most extreme weather.

Donít worry about elaborate pruning once early spring arrives. Simply prune your Knock Out down to a height of 12 Ė 18 inches, keeping in mind that the bush will roughly triple in height from pruning to full growth in the spring. Remove any dead, broken or diseased canes, and thatís about all youíll need to do with these low-care roses.

With so many great features, itís easy to see why the Knock Out family has taken the rose world by storm. What other rose can boast:

  • Great disease and pest resistance

  • Hardy down to USDA gardening zone 5

  • Self-cleaning, no need for deadheading

  • Repeated bloom cycles throughout the growing season

  • No need for elaborate pruning techniques

  • Drought tolerant

  • Shade tolerant

  • Heat tolerant through the entire United States


Once you have planted a Knock Out, you will probably want more. With seven varieties to choose from, you can enjoy an assortment of flowers now, and look forward to future developments in the Knock Out family.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Michelle Ullman. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Michelle Ullman. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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