Double Knockout Roses

Rose Shy? Start With a Knock Out Rose

The rose is one of the most abundant garden bloomers, but also a bit intimidating to some inexperienced gardeners. Whether it’s the prolific blooms, childhood memories of mothers and grandmothers with perfect rose gardens, or the thorns, some gardeners sadly shy away from rose bushes.

Though fear of the rose is unfounded, starting with a Knockout Rose is a great way to gain confidence in successful rose gardening, or gardening in general, for that matter. The Knockout Roses have been bred to resist most diseases, grow and bloom with less watering and reward the gardener with less maintenance than most shrub roses. There’s a reason that Knock Outs became the best-selling series of roses in the United States in just over a dozen years.

History of Knockout Roses

Knockout Roses are the result of the lifetime efforts of Wisconsin breeder William Radler, who bought his first rose at age 9 years old. Radler introduced the first of the Knock Outs, the original red, in 2000. The rose was recognized that year as an All America Rose Selection winner. His 2007 Rainbow Knock Out also was chosen for the prestigious award. Radler crosses roses with one another, selects the best rose from the bunch, then crosses them again. As a result, he has produced shrub roses that are winter hardy despite their tolerance for less water. They’re also more resistant to disease than most shrub roses and can self-clean, which means gardeners don’t have to deadhead, or remove spent flowers during the summer to encourage further blooming.

In addition, Radler has bred some stunning beauties, including the Double Knockout Roses, which offer all the benefits of the series, but have larger, fuller blooms. All Knock Out Roses bloom every 5 to 6 weeks from early spring until fall’s first frost, with no deadheading.

Caring for Knockout Roses

Once you’ve planted your Knock Out Rose in a sunny spot and given it enough water to help the roots get established, sit back and enjoy the blooms. You can encourage better blooming with a dose of rose fertilizer after each blooming period from spring through summer. Just follow the fertilizer package directions. Other than that, you only need to prune Knock Out roses for shape every year in late winter or early spring just before the leaves begin to form if you want to control their size or shape. Look for dead, damaged and diseased canes.

As the shrub matures, you can cut older canes back by up to a third of their length to help keep the bush healthy. And prune a little heavier if you’ve planted several Knock Out Roses together to form a hedge. Your Knock Out Roses should be able to take heavy pruning, and there is no need to be a rose-pruning expert.

Although Knock Out Roses are bred to resist diseases, their leaves can turn slightly yellow or spot some when the weather is particularly hot, humid and wet. The good news is that the problem will pass as soon as the weather improves, so gardeners should not worry or feel they need to apply a fungicide. Keeping the rose pruned just enough so that air can circulate inside and around the shrub can help prevent the problem when muggy weather hits.

Aptly Named

The Knock Out Rose series is aptly named mostly for the long-lasting color Radler has achieved in his breeding. The Sunny Knock Out Rose also produces sweet fragrance in its bright yellow blooms. But the shrubs’ hardiness in zones 5 through 10, along with overall toughness in various weather conditions, have made the Knock Out Roses wildly popular in the United States and around the world.

Knock Outs are a perfect, long-blooming addition to any rose garden, but they’re almost too beautiful to be mixed in among their own kind. The beginning gardener or new homeowner can choose Knock Out Rose shrubs and trees as the centerpiece of a landscape to serve as colorful hedges or specimen plants along sunny walls. Select a low-lying evergreen shrub to plant near the Knock Out Rose for year-round green in your garden, and a few low-growing ornamentals to complement the stunning color or the rose’s blooms above. Verbena, dianthus, or a sedum groundcover often look terrific under specimen Knock Out roses.

What to plant when the weather is so fickle

Spring is almost here- but most Americans will look out  their windows to just see snow. There is the old saying that tells gardeners to plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day or the first day of Spring. If there is snow and ice on the ground or the soil is still frozen, what is a gardener supposed to do?

Well, one can start planting seeds indoors (see here), which might be the best option. Since peas really need cool weather to grow, hopefully the snow will soon melt and your ground will thaw and as soon as that happens, you will be ready and able to plant the seeds outdoors or transplant the seedlings you started indoors to give the plants the coolness they need.

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Winterizing Roses

Winter is coming to some parts of the US while some parts have already had snow. What should we do to winterize our roses?

Not all roses need serious winter rose care. Roses classified as old garden roses are extremely tolerant of cold temperatures and those who have Knockout roses and/or live in zones 5 through 11 don’t need to take any extra steps to care for these roses in winter.

You should winterize roses after the first hard frost but before that first snow. After the ground freezes put a thick layer of mulch around the base, but not up against the canes. The mulch keeps the ground temperature even and prevents the roots from heaving. Heaving happens when the ground goes through multiple freezes and thaws.

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Black Spot on Roses

Black spot of rose Scot Nelson

TheGardenLady wrote about the roses in her garden that get black spot.  Many roses, unfortunately, are affected by this disease. As I had written, one is never to water roses overhead. Mechanical watering devices that come on automatically at a set time are especially problematic in overhead watering. TheGardenLady has seen blackspot in some major rose gardens or botanical gardens that do overhead watering. Also, one should water in the early morning hours so that hopefully water will dry or evaporate from the leaves later in the day. Do not water in the afternoon. Always let the water run near the base of the rose. A soaker hose might be best.

But what should one do if it rains? Mother Nature sends the rain from above at any time of the day or night. And if it is a particularly rainy season, that is when you can usually see a lot of black spot on the rose leaves. Sometimes the black spot can get so bad that it can defoliate the roses to make the plant look unsightly even though the flowers look attractive.Then without leaves, the plant gets sickly and is susceptible to other disease or problems. So what should one do?

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Roses in TheGardenLady’s Garden


This has been a spectacular year for roses. And the roses in my garden are show pieces. These are photos of a few of the showiest roses in bloom right now. I did not take pictures of the miniature roses I have that are filled with flowers and my Fairy rose is still filled with buds. (see here)


My favorite rose is Livin’ Easy an orange – apricot Floribunda rose that has rewarded me each year covered with gorgeous flowers. Next to this rose are two Knock Out Shrub roses that also reward me with prolific flowering. And, very important to me, none of these three roses are difficult to care for and none have had black spot or any other diseases. They do attract Japanese beetles, but seem to have their main show of blooms before the Japanese beetles come out to dine.

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Gardening gloves to protect you from getting pricked

deadheading by jendubin

When you are pricked by a rose thorn and your finger swells or if you feel you are having problems with a cut you got working in your garden, get to your Medical Emergency room. There are bacteria that can get into a wound. The physician there will treat you accordingly. This advice is for all gardeners, lady and gentlemen gardeners as well as children gardeners.

Everyone should always wear gloves when working in the garden to prevent problems. Get yourself a good pair of gardening gloves for your garden work.

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What is your favorite rose?

Rose Floribunda ‘Julia Childs’ by Drew Avery

TheGardenLady is begging her readers to share with us: What is your favorite rose? Please let us know the name of the rose you love. If you have a photo of your favorite rose, could you send it in as well?  If you don’t have a photo, we will find one; but it is so much nicer to see roses growing in someone’s garden. We would love to learn about your favorite rose.

My favorite rose color had always been yellow. As a child we had a yellow rose bush. We had pink and red roses, too, but the yellow roses seemed special. I think that what you love as a child remains with you. So I looked for that perfect yellow rose for my garden. On the advice of a Rutger’s Professor, I finally treated myself to a beautiful yellow rose. I bought Rosa Julia Child. Besides the beauty of the flower, it has a lovely fragrance,  I don’t know whether it is correct information, but someone told me that Julia Child herself chose the rose that is named for her. If I am passing on false information, it makes for a good story because Julia Child had such good taste. Not a myth is the fact that Rosa Julia Child was the winner of the  2006 All-America Rose Selections. Do I love this rose? Most Certainly. Do I recommend this rose? Absolutely. But is it my favorite rose? Close, but not quite.  See here.

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People Enjoy Roses in TheGardenLady’s Garden

For you… by VinothChandar

TheGardenLady wants to continue to write about some of the flowers in her garden that make people  stop and ooh and aah.  Today she will talk about roses.

There’s a reason why roses are the most popular flower in the world. Even Shakespeare immortalized the rose by writing “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

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How to Prevent Thrips From Distorting Rose Flowers

Teeming with life by elizabethdonoghue

My roses are in bloom already. It is amazing to see roses in bloom two to four weeks early. But since all the other flowers opened early, why shouldn’t the roses?

One dreams that insects wouldn’t enjoy the roses as much as I do; but unfortunately roses are one of the most beloved flowers for all sorts of nasty insects.  I had been lucky, except for Japanese beetles, I had not had many insect problems on my roses in past years. But all good things must come to an end.

It was such a warm winter where I live with so few hard frosts and so little deep snow, I worried that this year I might see more insect problems than I have had in the past. And this year my roses have proven that I did not worry in vain. I have an extraordinary amount of buds on the rose bushes and the leaves looked so beautiful and healthy: but in the last few days I have never seen so many chewed leaves and damaged flowers as they open. From the looks of the rose flowers, I suspect I have thrips in my roses.

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