Non-Perky Knock Out Roses

TheGardenLady received this concern from Cammi about her Knock Out Roses:

1. I live in middle of CT.
2. Soil is clay
3. I just planted knock out roses in mid to late May 2018
4. We added bone meal to soil and then planted bushes then, put weed mat and mulch over the Matt around each bush.
5. I just added Rose Tone fertilizer
6. Base of plant watered 5 minutes per day , twice per day. I put my finger in to make sure the soil around each Bush was moist.
7. Green parts look fine
8. Not blooming. The early flowers have almost disappeared
9. Old buds falling off
10. New buds look ok
11. I can send a photo if allowed
12. Overall, plants don’t look perky. Appear a bit wilted due to no flowering.

Concerning your roses –

Your location in the middle of CT is fine for roses but not having your address I am not sure if you are in Temperature Zone 5 or 6. Knock Out Roses say they are hardy to Zone 5 .

TheGardenLady’s Knock Out Roses are planted in clay soil that had been amended with compost when the roses were planted. I hope you have planted your roses in a sunny location. Most roses need at least 6 hours of sun, though Knock Out Roses will tolerate some partial shade.

TheGardenLady never adds anything to new roses when I plant them and nothing but water for that first year. I have read that adding bone meal to the soil does not help and may hurt the new plants. See here.

TheGardenLady and her gardening friends uses the Espoma products that is the Rose Tone Fertilizer brand I believe you used. Though TheGardenLady does not add any fertilizer to a new rose, if you followed the directions on the bag of Rose Tone, TheGardenLady is assured that Espoma knows what they are telling you to do. Still, they are in business, so whether that initial fertilizing is necessary or not, I do not know. What a gardener should do, before planting anything, is to have a soil test done of the soil where one is planting a new plant. If the soil test is done through your Master Gardener office or agricultural extension office, it should ask what you want to plant in the location and recommend if any amendments to the soil are necessary before you plant. This way you may save money and will know exactly what is needed.

What concerns TheGardenLady most about what you wrote is the use of the weed mat. I know that it is difficult to weed near rose bushes. But from all the reading this GardenLady has ever done, the comments about weed mats is not good. They are not good for the soil and they are not good for the plant. And weeds do grow through these mats. This Garden Lady would recommend pulling up that mat and when you replace the mulch, be sure you use healthy mulch but not too much. Gravel is considered by some rosarians as the best mulch.  See here. The last paragraph on non-organic mulches discusses weed mats for roses.

However, if you had a good blooming period early on, then your rose plants sound OK. Knock-Out Roses have a large first bloom and though the roses bloom throughout the summer, TheGardenLady gets more sporadic blooms as the summer gets hotter.

The comments above are some of TheGardenLady’s suggestions for future planting of roses and to help remedy your already planted rose. However, one nice thing about Knock-Out Roses is that you can contact the company directly to have them answer your questions. Why ask a generalist when you can go directly to the specialty’s source. Contact Knock-Out Roses directly at this address and by all means attach a photo.

And whenever one writes to TheGardenLady, one can always attach good clear photos of the problem.

PS TheGardenLady has Knock-Out Roses and had written about how pleased I had been with them. Since TheGardenLady site does not take money for endorsements, I always say exactly what I think about a product, good or bad. This year, I would not recommend Knock-Out-Roses based on one of their advertising benefits of their roses. Knock-Out Roses claim they do not need dead heading (dead heading is cutting off the part of the rose that remains after the petals fall off – this encourages more flowers to bloom). I always dead head my roses and did it to my Knock-Out Roses. But this summer, I was away during the first major flowering of the Knock-Out Roses. I returned home on July first and when I looked at my rose bushes, the Knock-Out-Rose bushes must have had a lot of roses because every part of the roses that one dead heads remained. The Knock-Out-Rose bushes I have that are about 10 years old were covered AND HAD NOT self cleaned. Therefore no new roses opened. There seemed to be more and larger remains that had to be cut off than on my other non-self cleaning roses. When I dead headed the Knock-Out-Roses, they have set buds and I should have some more flowers soon. I imagine that others have found that their Knock-Out-Roses did not “self clean” so therefore Knock-Out-Rose Company, your advertisement is not truthful.

One Reply to “Non-Perky Knock Out Roses”

  1. Could you please tell me what pruning shears you recommend for roses (and other stems close to their diameter). I would reather not have a bi-pass cutter if possible, but would like one which would last me for years. Thank You

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