A Rose by the Name of Knock Out®

Any gardener will tell you that roses are the star of the garden. Give them the celestial spotlight and they will outperform the rest of the cast. Their gorgeous flowers and sweet aroma will draw you near. But come a little too close and risk the sting of their thorns — a little too complacent and risk the sting of disappointment.

Beauty, soon to unfold!

Wikicommons photo.

Roses, the quintessential prima donnas, need a delicate hand and considerable attention. Too much rain and fungal black spots will cover the leaves — in a bad year all the leaves may completely defoliate. Rose rosette, a viral disease, will cause witches’-broom, a tight cluster of deformed growth. Another viral disease, Rose Mosaic, will cause a mottled look to the foliage. For the plant, these diseases are cosmetic in nature, but are disastrous for the garden’s center stage. What prima donna would put up with such a threat to her beauty? And, don’t get me started on pests such as Japanese beetles, aphids, midges, thrips, mites and scale; or winter-kill which will destroy most of the shrub and sometimes the root.


Rosa Radrazz.

Dealing with these thorny issues is much easier with the development of Knock Out® roses. Rosa radrazz is red and was the first to be developed. The Knock Out® Rose may not be the most beautiful, but it performs like no other. It is also one of the longest blooming, lowest maintenance and hardiest of all roses. It will produce a profusion of beautiful flowers in red, yellow, blush, pink hues, rainbow and even one with double blossoms — all summer long without deadheading!

Deadheading is optional

Deadheading is optional, but may increase your gardening enjoyment. 

Knock Out® roses are especially resistant to the diseases and afflictions mentioned above. They tolerate drought, and thrive in full sun in rich, moist, well-draining soils and are winter hardy (zones 5-9). They might die back in the severe winter to the ground level, but they come back vigorously.

This hybrid belongs to the Rosa genus. The Rosa genus is part of the Rosaceae family which originated in the Northern Hemisphere and was classified by Linnaeus in the 18th century. Within the Rosa genus, there are more than 200 species of roses. William Radler, a Wisconsin breeder, developed this hybrid rose in 1989 by crossing two tea rose varieties: Carefree Beauty and Razzle Dazzle. “Radrazz” is the name he selected. It won an “All American Award and was soon on the market. The Knock Out® rose is considered one of the best and fastest-selling rose varieties to date.

Pruning will yield a tidy shrub

Deadheading and spring pruning will yield a tidy shrub. 

Believe it or not, maintenance is pretty much optional and makes these roses perfect for a busy lifestyle. If you have a little time and want more blossoms, a periodic deadheading will do the trick. Simply cut the spent flower off below the hip. If you’d like a little color in your winter garden, leave the last blooms to form colorful hips. In the spring, pruning the shrub back by a third and removing any dead limbs will give you a better, more compact shape. You can add a little fertilizer (be sure to water after fertilizing) if you want. That’s all!

So if you love beautiful roses you can replace the fragile temperamental prima donna in your garden by recasting our independent, fresh ingénue, Ms. Radrazz, the Knock Out® Rose. She may not be quite as stunning or have the fragrance of her older, more regal cousins, but for much less hassle she will put on a quite a show and be back for encores!

Photo credits: Feature photo and bud: Wikicommons. All other photos courtesy of Linda Rinehart Baker.

About Sean McNamara and Redding Nursery: Redding Nursery is familiar sight to all, nestled in the curve of Route 107 between Redding Center and the junction of Route 53. The nursery was established by parents, James and Sheila McNamara, in 1968 and is now a family tradition. Redding Nursery’s business has expanded over the past 40 years and many popular services have been added. Yet, the family and small town values so important to the McNamaras are apparent in the concern shown for customer needs. Feel free to stop in and talk roses or any gardening topic at the nursery, Redding Nursery’s Garden Blog can be found at www.reddinggardener.com

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