Knock Out Roses- Roses for Dummies!

‘Knock Out’ Roses have been criticized as being colorful but generic– the McDonald’s of the rose world. If you are living in blackspot central, where fungus-among-us runs rampant, ignore the critics. Very few people have the time or inclination to grow award winning roses. ‘Knock Out’ Roses are easy to grow, they could be called Roses for Dummies. A great replacement for your poor performing or dead flowering shrubs, they provide year round carefree color. They can be seen popping up everywhere; from median strips to parks and parking lots. You will also find them leading carefree lives in many residential gardens. Created by rose breeder William Radler, ‘Knock Out’ Roses are bred from the roses that grow wild in Europe.

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Tough roses with the medals to prove it

William Radler single-handedly brought rose genetics from the 20th Century into the 21st Century. His work was rewarded when the ‘Knock Out’ Rose was given the prestigious AARS award (All American Rose Selection) in 2000. Since its introduction by the Conard-Pyle Co., ‘Knock Out’ Rose has easily become the best selling new rose on the market, selling 250,000 the first year. The ‘Knock Out’ family of roses are extremely disease-resistant and easy to grow. They bloom throughout the growing season in repeat cycles, about every five to six weeks until the first hard frost or all year long if you live in the south.

Seven members of The Knock Out Family of Roses:

The Original Knock Out Rose offers stunning flowers in clusters of cherry red single and semi-double blooms. Clusters may include as many as 25 blooms per flowering branch, with bloom cycles of about 5 to 6 weeks. The foliage turns to lovely burgundy in autumn, and hips are bright orange red. The original Knock Out is somewhat drought tolerant.

The Double Knock Out Rose features clusters of cherry double blooms. The blooms look very much like a classic tea rose bloom with nearly twice the petals of the Knock Out and richer coloring. Double Knock Out is somewhat drought tolerant and tolerate some shade and humid climates. A bit hardier than the original, it will fare better in zone 4, with extra added protection in zones 3.

The Pink Knock Out Rose sports stable bright bubble gum pink color that is unfazed by the heat. Don’t let this pink, pretty girl fool you, she is tough and disease resistant with superior drought tolerance once established. Pink Knock Out has classically shaped flowers that bloom all through the growing season.

The Pink Double Knock Out Rose‘s foliage always looks healthy and turns to lovely burgundy in autumn, with bright orangey red hips.

The Rainbow Knock Out Rose grows a bit more compactly than the others. It is very floriferous, producing blooms of ever changing coral, pink, yellow and cream blooms.

The Blushing Knock Out Rose has light pink blooms that, with age fade to a delicate subtle pink.

The Sunny Knock Out Rose is the only fragrant rose of the family. It also grows a bit more upright and dense than the others. The bright yellow blooms quickly fade to cream, holding the yellow longer during cool periods in the season. Each stem bears one to five blooms. Sunny Knock Out is also somewhat drought tolerant.

Avg. size-  3 to 4 ft. tall x 3 to 4 ft. wide

Bloom cycle- nearly continuous bloom throughout the season

Cold hardiness- protect at 15 degrees

Watering- keep moist until established. Then water at 7 to 10 day intervals

See The Knock Out® Family of Roses on Facebook

4 comments on “Knock Out Roses- Roses for Dummies!
  1. Disease resistant and drought tolerant – love full sun but will even tolerate a bit of shade. They are common because they are carefree. They will get a big (5-6 feet) if they are not pruned. In the mid-atlantic we can get six months of KOR blooms. They are cranking out flowers while the rest of the perennials come and go…

  2. deb walsh says:

    I think “Knock Out” roses are beautiful and would love to have some for my garden in Buffalo. Could they survive in our climate?

  3. Cyndy says:

    I really love my knock out roses! They were the first flowering plant I was able to grow after moving to FL. They really flourished when I was able to use “Knock out rose food” from Bayer. Now, I am unable to buy this because it is not available in Pinellas County. Is it available anywhere or do you know of something else that I should be using to fertalize my roses? Thank you, Siobhan!

  4. Siobhan says:

    The summer ban on fertilizers is lifted, so you might still be able to find the Knock Out Rose food. If not, independent nurseries have good quality rose food. In south Pinellas try Wilcox Nursery and in north Pinellas, Landmark Nursery. I water the soil around my roses with Epsom Salts once a month. Half a cup to one gallon of Epsom Salts. You can also half cup Epsom Salts to 4 cups of Mushroom Compost and spread around the base of the bush, preferably around the drip line.
    These tips are from the Knock Out Rose website. “If you choose to give them an additional boost, it is very important not to fertilize until after the roses are established and go through one bloom cycle.
    How much, what type and when do I fertilize knockout roses?
    Use a balanced fertilizer or fertilizer formulated for roses from your local garden center and apply after the first wave of flowering (be sure to follow the specified rates and method of application provided on the product label). Make sure the soil is moist before you fertilize to avoid burning the roots. Do not fertilize late in the summer as this is the time the rose should be preparing themselves for dormancy and you do not want to create additional unnecessary new growth that will likely die back from the first hard frost.” The Knock Out® Family of Roses will perform beautifully even with out fertilizing.