Roses Grow Guide

Double Red Knock Out Roses

Double Red Knock Out®

A rose is a rose is a rose. For decades, roses have been used to convey love, beauty, grace and sweetness. If you’re anything like us, we like having our roses around more than just a week and not only in a vase. Although they are beautiful to have around the house, they’re even more beautiful flattering your yard.

Double Pin knock out Roses landscape

The Double Pink Knock Out® Landscape

There are so many different roses, it’s hard to keep track. You could, for example, create a rose garden with fancy Hybrid Teas or old timey Antiques. However, if you want to add some roses to your existing landscape, Drift® roses and Knock Out® roses might be for you. At a mature height between 1-3 feet, Drift® roses are low-growing landscape roses that have been bred to be disease resistant, low maintenance, and to bloom repeatedly. Drift® roses are meant to be massed as groundcovers or in mixed low borders, beds and low hedges, and even in containers. A little larger than the Drift® roses, with a mature height between 3-5 feet, the Knock Out® roses are best as specimens, either alone or in masses, and in hedges, borders and mixed beds.

Drift® roses and Knock Out® roses have similar requirements. They should be planted where there is good drainage, avoiding low, wet areas. The soil should be rich with organics (compost!), and with a slightly acidic pH (6.0-6.5). Full sun is a must for any kind of rose to prosper. Drift® roses should be spaced at least two feet apart and three to four feet apart will insure they have enough room in the long term. Knock Outs® should be spaced a little farther apart. Like any other ornamental shrub, your roses should be well mulched. The mulch helps hold in soil moisture and smothers weeds. We recommend an organic mulch that will enrich the soil as it decomposes (but will need to be replenished from time to time).

Double Knock out Roses landscape

Double Red Knock Out® Landscape

Fertilize roses each spring with a slow-release fertilizer, following label directions. If you fertilize again in mid-summer you’ll get a better bloom in the fall.

For best flowering and to maintain an attractive shape, we recommend pruning back Drift® roses and Knock Out® roses each year in early spring, just as growth resumes. Never prune in fall or winter as that could encourage new growth that would then be vulnerable to a damaging freeze. Use lopping shears to shape the whole shrub and maintain the size you desire. Use pruning shears for detailed work and for removing unwanted shoots near the base. During the flowering season, deadheading (pinching off spent flowers) will encourage even more flowering. For an excellent tutorial on pruning Drift® roses from the folks who introduced them, see the video below.

Many kinds of roses require frequent spraying to prevent fungal diseases and insect damage. Not so with the modern Drift® roses and Knock Out® roses! If your roses are healthy, in full sun, and properly watered they should not need any of the various …cides.

Planting Your New Roses

planting guide: dig hole rosesThoroughly water the soil in the plant’s pot before starting. Dig a hole larger than the pot; we recommend twice as wide. Place the pot on its side and slide the plant out. If the plant is stuck, you can slip a long-bladed knife around the inside edge to loosen it. Gently loosen some of the roots along the sides and bottom, and pull them outward so they are not encircling the root mass. It shouldn’t be necessary to prune any of the roots. The exception is if one or more large roots are wound around the circumference of the pot. In this case the offending root should be shortened so that when it is in the ground it will grow outward and not continue growing in a circle.

planting guide: place RosesBuild up a rounded mound of soil in the middle of the planting hole. Place the plant’s root crown on top of the mounded soil so that the stem will be at the same depth as it was in the pot. Spread the side roots out over the mounded soil while backfilling the hole. Work the soil in and around the roots. When the hole is half filled, give it and the roots a good soaking of water. When the water has drained, readjust the depth of the stem if necessary and finish filling the hole. Gently tamp the soil down with your hands. Water thoroughly. Spread three inches of an organic mulch over the root zone to help hold in soil moisture. You can use hay, straw, leaves, pine needles, or grass clippings.

Popcorn Drift Roses

Popcorn Drift® Rose

Keep the young rose well watered during its first growing season. If planted in the fall or winter, you can water once a week. Planted during the growing season, your rose should get watered every 2 or 3 days for 3 or 4 months. If you’re having a dry spell, or your soil is sandy, you should water every day for the first 3 or 4 months. The most common reason for a newly planted shrub to die is lack of enough water.

Once established (after a year of growth), your rose can tolerate dry spells and should not need any supplemental watering in climates that average at least 20 inches of rain per year (which is all of the eastern US and much of the West). Roses benefit from an annual application of fertilizer, such as Nutricote Total Controlled Release Type 360 Fertilizer 18-6-8. Follow label directions and don’t over-fertilize, as this can result in excessive vegetative growth and fewer flowers.

With the simplicity of care for the Drift® and Knock Out® roses, you’ll have more time to stop and smell the actual roses! Happy planting!