The Knock Out Rose
by Jenn Stumer – Appalachian Creations, Inc.
For hundreds of years roses have been known to hold symbolic meanings. The Greeks identified the rose with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. This was the beginning of humanity’s love affair with these seductive flowers. All over the world roses are used for symbols of love, friendship and compassion. Along with these symbolic meanings, there is also the myth that roses are extremely sensitive, and difficult to grow. There was truth to that myth…until now. In comes the Knock Out Rose.
When the Knock Out Roses were introduced, they busted that myth for three reasons. They are extremely disease resistant, require very little maintenance, and are quite easy to grow. Plus, an added bonus – It has turned out to be one of the longest blooming roses on the market, blooming from May until well into the late fall months.
The Knock Out Rose was developed by Wisconsin rose breeder William Radler. He began breeding roses about 20 years ago and focused on developing repeat blooming, cold hardy shrub roses that didn’t get disease (especially black spot and powdery mildew). Radler crossed seedlings of Carefree Beauty and Razzle Dazzle, both hardy roses with good disease resistance.
The result is the most widely sold rose in North America today. Radler’s first introduction, ‘Radrazz’ produces clusters of single 2-3-inch diameter cherry red blooms. In 2000, ‘Radrazz’ won the prestigious All-American Rose award.
From then on, the Knock Out quickly became the fastest selling new rose in history, with 250,000 sold the first year alone. Today the Knock Out Rose is the most widely sold rose in North America. Since ‘Radrazz’, Radler has introduced several sister lines, including ‘Radcon’ (pink), ‘Radtko’ (double red or pink), ‘Sunny’ (yellow), ‘Rainbow’ (coral with yellow center), ‘Blushing’ (light pink) and ‘White Out’. Research and development continues each year to find new members of The Knock Out Family of Roses. Soon, we can look forward to seeing ‘Coral’ and ‘Peachy’.
The Knock Out Roses are easy to grow and do not require special care. They are the most disease resistant rose on the market. The flowers are stunning and profuse with a generous bloom cycle of about 5-6 weeks that will continue until the first hard frost. All of the varieties are self-cleaning so there is no need to deadhead.
Like most roses, Knock Out is best in full sun or light shade in a fertile, well drained soil. Water and fertilize as the season progresses to ensure plants continue to grow and set new flower buds.
If unpruned, The Knock Out Roses can easily grow to be more than 3-4′ wide by 3-4′ tall. Periodically trimming them will keep them maintained at a smaller size. Once a year they should be cut back to about 12-18″ above the ground (late fall or very early spring) for maximum performance.
Knock Out Roses can be planted individually or included in the landscape among shrubs, annuals and perennials. They can be particularly striking used in large groups to create a colorful hedge.
If you are a lover of roses and would like a “hassle-free” rose or two to compliment your landscape, try the Knock Out Rose. They are a true performer in the right conditions.