Ever since the first Knockout™ roses (Rosa Radrazz) appeared on the scene in 2000, the world of easy-care roses has been forever changed. These truly are “bullet-proof” (as I refer to them) roses. I’ve never seen a Japanese beetle on mine (although if you think back to last week, I might not be the most reliable source for that since I don’t have a ton of those pesky beetles. I will tell you, however, that one of the two that I did spot this year was in the same garden with my Knockout™ and Home Run™ roses–and it chose to be on a filipendula instead!)
They’ve never really been plagued by those pesky rose sawfly larva. Sure they try to eat the leaves, but the leaves are just too tough for them. They don’t get marked up and burned through like traditional rose leaves.
And perhaps even more important, they don’t get the dreaded blackspot, or the less troublesome by still problematic powdery mildew. As you can see here, my Knockout is in no means an optimal location–it’s in what I call the “wildlife” garden, meaning it’s crowded in one side by my huge veronicastrum (and when that’s in bloom, it drapes right over it) and surrounded on the other side (and would be over-run by if I weren’t vigilant) by black-eyed susans (rudbeckias).
And it still blooms its fool head off all summer, thank goodness. What’s not to like about that?
Since this original was introduced, its breeders, Conard-Pyle/Star Roses have introduced several varieties–variations on a theme as I think of them so now there are 7 Knockout™ roses in all including a couple of double varieties for those who like more petals. And of course there is a web site devoted to this family of roses–every good rose should have its own web site, right?
The web site states its height and width at 3′-4′. As the photo shows, in my garden it’s more like 5.5′ or more–but I don’t prune, really.
Here’s Blushing Knockout™ in bloom. This has stayed a little more in bounds for me at 3-4′. But it’s growing practically in the shade because it has been overtaken by a large magnolia!
Home Run™ introduced by Proven Winners (so you know what’s coming–the long botanical: Rosa x ‘WEKcisbako’) and not a Knockout™ rose at all) is sometime referred to as the “red Knockout”–totally incorrectly I might add! It was sold to a neighbor of mine as such and this is how I know it’s happening.
In case you have doubts about how truly “bullet-proof” these are just about every public planting in the last 7 years of so has incorporated them or their progeny. Highway medians, gas stations, parking lots of every conceivable type and public plantings everywhere have Knockout™ roses in them.
So does that mean you should shun such a “common” rose in your own garden? Only if you want to avoid hassle free, carefree roses!
Oh, I wish you had mentioned the breeder was William Radler. It’s quite the accomplishment and I like to see him get credit.
He DID get credit–I called the rose by its proper botanical name, which is more than most do when talking about it. His name is right in the rose. But of course that’s not the same as talking about the breeder by name. It’s a tough call to keep these posts to a decent length, give good information and not get too technical on folks–because let’s face it, most people just want to know how to grow it. They wouldn’t care if it was bred by Martians (well, most wouldn’t).
Thanks for standing up for Radler–perhaps this year, since I’ve already covered the rose generally, I can talk about its development a it.
Don’t get me wrong, you do a fantastic job. I just like to see the people who accomplish something good get the credit. An article from you is something to look forward to.
No, I knew you meant no disrespect (or hoped you didn’t). I just worry about some of my posts. You’ll see sometimes where I refer to myself as a “bug geek” or a “weed geek” because I really get into some esoteric stuff. And as much as I’d love to get into a lot of background in many of my posts,I ultimately decide against it (usually) because of space and what I think my readers’ interests might be.
But you’re absolutely right about Radler. Everyone since has tried to duplicate his accomplishments–or at least come close!