Knock Out Roses

KnockOut Rose
Sunny Knockout

Probably the best selling series of roses to ever hit the market is also one of the best “easy care” roses on the market. Even if you know nothing about roses and have never wanted to plant one, you’ve seen this rose because it is planted in all sorts of public spaces–gas stations, strip mall parking lots, highway medians–it’s almost inescapable. Its popularity doesn’t prevent it from being a great rose, however. I am talking about the series of roses sold under the trademark name Knock out®. This rose, with its deep green foliage and repeat bloom–often the shrub is in bloom all summer long–is everything it was promised to be.

The original Knock out® was developed by a man named Bill Radler. He sold the development rights to the Conard-Pyle company and 6 more roses with the Knock Out® name have been developed. Most are either in the red or pink/hot pink range and are variations on that theme (single and double blooms) but there is also a yellow available, sold as Sunny Knock Out®. (The second photo above is of Sunny Knock Out) The full color range can be viewed on the Conard Pyle web site, here.

I have grown every rose in the Knock Out® line. While some of my other shrub roses can be plagued by black spot and a pest of roses known as the rose sawfly larva (a little caterpillar-like creature too complicated to talk about here–but see this post) my Knock Out® roses are never troubled by anything. Even when an occasional Japanese beetle lands on them, the beetles soon move on!

The two most frequent critiques that I hear about these roses is that they have no fragrance (true) and that they don’t have that true rose form (mostly true–they look like an old fashioned single rose, if anything, but surely not like a hybrid tea).

They also would not be suitable for cutting, generally, because like all shrub roses, they bear their flowers in clusters and on short stems.

Interestingly enough, the grower says it will be a 3-4′ rose. Obviously they anticipate you pruning it. Without pruning, it has gotten much taller for me–and shows no signs of stopping.

But for a rose that’s hardy to zone 5 that I don’t have to give any extra attention to, that doesn’t get pests and diseases, that I don’t have to deadhead–I’ll definitely put up with a few minor drawbacks!

4 thoughts on “Knock Out Roses

  1. Laurrie June 7, 2013 / 12:35 pm

    As a non rose grower, I can attest that these are easy and foolproof even for me. They do get large, as you point out, but boy are they easy.

    I have a beautiful pink Knockout that I love called Blushing Pink and it has a wonderful scent, even though Knockouts are criticized for being scentless. This one is really quite fragrant with a light sweet scent. I also had several ‘Radrazz’ Knockout roses but the flower color was such a brash cherry red and the roses came in such relentless, thick, bunchy clusters that I really did not like them (and took them out). They were easy care, though!

    I like that sunny yellow one a lot.

    • gardendaze June 7, 2013 / 12:46 pm

      Thanks for sharing that. It’s my Blushing Pink that got marooned under a magnolia. I had no idea the magnolia would grow quite as quickly as it did–my other magnolia wasn’t such a quick grower. But the October snowstorm sort of helped the roses out a bit by topping that tree.

      It’s funny–The Spoiler just came in yesterday or the day before and remarked about how spectacular my original Knockout (Radrazz) is! So when I say he likes things bright, I mean it!

      But right now it’s blooming in a garden with white and pink peonies so it’s not quite so harsh. And there is only one of them. It gets smothered by rudbeckia later so I scarcely notice it.

      Thanks for reading and sharing!


  2. roberta4949 June 7, 2013 / 4:05 pm

    your right about the knockout, in fact so many are planting it including businesses it is getting overwhelming because they are all red red red. I love red but not en mass like that, they don’t mix it up, one thing about yellow roses it is very difficult to find a cold hardy yellow because to get yellow they had to use a rose that is not cold tolerant at all, but that aside people can get carried away with the same thing, thislady up the street has a few together but she mixes it up with other plants to offset all that red and she prunes them too. but every time I look around there are red red red roses and going to the home depot and lowes it is red red red, lol, tho pinks are really nice, wish they had a white knockout too. they are still pretty if they are set with other plants to offset the red that knocks you senses for a loop. lol. just kidding I love roses to much to let a little overred bug me.

  3. Car Hire Malaga June 28, 2013 / 3:34 pm

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