“Do I have to dead-head my Knock-out roses, or should I just leave them alone? I know they are supposed to be low-maintenance, but are they NO-maintenance?”
The Knock Out ® rose (Rosa ‘Radrazz’ KNOCK OUT) is the fastest selling “new” rose ever. Since being sent to the Conard-Pyle Company for testing in 1992 by Wisconsin rose breeder William (“Bill”) Radler, it has been amazing the growers. Radler says. “I wanted to breed the maintenance out of roses so I wouldn’t have to cut (them) back as the years passed.” Although bred to weather cold winters, Knock Outs proved resistant to disease, pests, heat and humidity as well, making them a great rose for the South, too. These hardy shrubs, now come in several colors and are touted as a great alternative for those who want beautiful roses without all the fuss.
Knock Out ® roses do NOT require the old blooms to be removed, called “deadheading.” Repeat blooming will occur regardless, even in partially shady areas. However, cutting, or “pruning” your roses back each spring (I do it Valentine’s Day here in my Texas garden) will keep the shrubs tidier and at a manageable size, if you garden in a small space or prefer hedging at 3-4′. (My Knock Outs get over 5′ in a season if I don’t trim them….which I don’t.) Another reason to deadhead is if you prefer not seeing the spent blooms dangling. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ROSE?
A dear memory to me is the scent of my grandmother, Nana Dodson, who bathed in rose-water. While some say the Knock Out ® rose has a scent, I’ve not noticed it. Instead, I prefer low maintenance antique roses such as ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison,’ which emits a TRUE rose scent, in my opinion. It might not boast a perfect, unblemished bloom every time, but the fragrance fills my entire garden and takes me back to my childhood. I also worry that, as with other plants, Knock Out roses could be over-planted and should a disease or pest start to attack it, entire landscapes would be wiped out overnight. Besides, I love plants too much to have only ONE kind, even if it is a low-maintenance, pretty one!