The Knockout Rose, yes or no? Yes!!!
If there is one most happy plant that blooms and blooms and blooms, without any fuss or hassle, it would be the Knockout Rose! She appeared on the scene about five years ago, and she has been `happening’ ever since. The `Original’ Red Knockout Rose is probably my most favorite, simply because she can add that vibrant splash of color that is her namesake — `Knockout!’ She’s really more bright fuschia pink, which makes her a great accent along with blues (Agapanthus), yellows, orange and white (as in yummy white Dwf Gardenias, oh, the secret to success with Dwf Gardenias is to plant them in hot afternoon sun, preferably raised beds, and they like it dry!). And, the Red Knockout is absolutely gorgeous in the tropical gardens with Dwarf Red Banana and Miscanthus `Maiden’s grass’, and, for the brave, the ever ramblin’ old-fashioned `Hen & Chick’ Orange Lantana!!!
But the big question `HOW DO YOU CONTROL HER SIZE??!!!’
The Knockout Rose loves to be pruned!!! The more you prune her, the more she blooms! And, that’s how you control her size. (like most plants, the bloom buds set on the new growth) You don’t have to prune, she’ll bloom anyway. But, she can get 5′ tall and 5′ wide (with thorns, so keep away from walkways!) I prefer to keep her about 3 1/2 ft tall, and we do that by heavy pruning, continuously. You have to be brave, and sacrifice some of her blooms and buds, but if you take control, she will produce more blooms with a tighter compact form and abundant dark green leaves! You don’t have to worry where you cut the stalk, just do it. Prune her on Valentines Day to 15″ height (like all roses), and then continue to remove approx 1/3 growth after the fading of a really heavy blooming (I also like to stagger my pruning, leaving a little something to enjoy as the new buds are being set). No more counting 5 leaves, but I do like the diagonal `slant’ cut, just because it’s a good overall horticultural practice. But, then again, my men shear the Roses with gas power trimmers, and, Wow!, do they like the prune! And, they love to eat! So, after a good heavy pruning, we feed them with Osmocote 14-14-14, or Grower’s Special 10-12-12.
They need approx 5 hrs of strong sun for peak performance, but we’ve planted the `Blush’ Knockout in filtered sun near the canopy of Natchez White Crape Myrtle, so the blooms were not as abundant, and the plant was a little more open in form, and, oh my, … I blush at her blush of the lightest pinkish-white hue bashful in the shade. Beautiful!, add White Caladiums and creamy white Lantana (yes, they can take filtered sun nicely)… hmmm, I have got to get better at taking those photos! So, yes, there are other wonderful colors of the Knockout Rose, the Pink Knockout (a true medium-color pink, and probably the best performer with a full dense body), the Blush Knockout (love her!!!, especially in a white garden, she’s white with a hint of light pink), and the Double Knockouts, smaller in structure and smaller blooms, but the bloom is a double, which means it has more petals on the flower (not double the bloom…she doesn’t have the Wow! that I love, but used as a border plant or large mass planting, I’m sure she’s fine!) Give her a try! Let the Knockout Rose show you her stuff! From Valentine’s Day to Christmas, this rose is a real `Knockout’!!!