Knock Out Roses Look Fabulous in Pots: Never woulda thought of that!

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Knock Out Roses Look Fabulous in Pots

By LarryR
May 30, 2012

In the past several years, the Knock Out series of roses has enjoyed great popularity among gardeners. These roses grow well under all kinds of garden conditions, but did you know that they do well in pots too?

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Name: Renée
Northern KY
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KyWoods
May 29, 2012 6:04 PM CST
Do they overwinter outside okay in pots?
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
May 29, 2012 6:07 PM CST
Yes, and how big a pot do they need?
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Name: Vicki
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vic
May 29, 2012 6:15 PM CST
Beautiful entrance and no, I never thought about potting them. GREAT idea! Thumbs up
Name: Suzanne/Sue
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Calif_Sue
May 29, 2012 6:51 PM CST

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Nicely done!
And there are a whole series of Knock Out roses that would most likely be quite suitable.
http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=rose+rosa+knock+o...
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
May 29, 2012 7:42 PM CST
You said something like "plant outside at the end of the season".

I have a red Knockout rose that is taking more space than I like, in a bed I would rather convert to all-annual.

If I was going to put it in a pot and leave it there (Zone 8), how big would the pot have to be? I guess, once potted, I would have to keep it pruned small.

Name: Cindi
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CindiKS
May 29, 2012 8:46 PM CST
Larry R, in what part of the country do you garden? Zone 5? Here, (zone 6-7, long summers), Knock Outs get 6' tall and 4' wide. Drift roses are more pot size for us. I moved several Knock Outs from one garden to another, and was astonished at how big the root system was. Their vigorous roots might be a key to their hardiness.
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Name: Melvalena
N Texas (Zone 7b)
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Melvalena
May 30, 2012 5:26 AM CST
I've seen knockouts get 8ft tall and about 5-6 feet wide here in N Texas. Even if you kept it pruned, its roots would continue to grow and expand. Not a good choice for our area.

But I do like the idea of the other plants in the pot. nodding
Name: Trish
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Trish
May 30, 2012 7:00 AM CST

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You all have a good point- I was thinking of the Drifts that I just potted several weeks ago. Knock Outs do get way too big for us to put in pots! Or else it would be a really really big pot Green Grin!
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Name: Cindi
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CindiKS
May 30, 2012 8:27 AM CST
Hmmm I wonder if anyone has tried Knock Out-as-bonsai? I think it would require twice daily pruning, though... nodding But it would be an interesting experiment.
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Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
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clintbrown
May 30, 2012 11:34 AM CST
These things are way too huge for a pot. Maybe the pot stunts them some? They also attract Japanese Beetles in droves. I'm thinking about getting rid of my them. The blooms just don't look like real roses to me and don't smell good. Everyone seems to have them too which makes me want to get something else.
Name: Monica
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krancmm
May 30, 2012 11:42 AM CST
Ditto to the 6' high and wide w/ extensive root system on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Many of us don't think about root pruning, but Knock Out might successfully be container-grown, even in the south, if the roots were put in balance when the top was pruned..wear long heavy gloves Hilarious! . I know people who also do that with Citrus down here...Bonsai on a bigger scale.

In fact one could root prune an in ground plant. Just take a sharpshooter (what are they called up north?) and dig straght down around the whole plant a few feet out. Makes the root system more compact and keeps the plant top from growing as fast.
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Name: Rick Corey
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RickCorey
May 30, 2012 12:29 PM CST
>> The blooms just don't look like real roses to me and don't smell good

I've been thinking that for a few years now. A prior owner planted some real roses under trees, in deep shade, and they are just black-spot-on-a-stick. But at least the few blooms per years are ROSES.

And now that I know my Knockout has wide-ranging roots, maybe I know why plants near it did not do well at all. Sad
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
May 30, 2012 12:33 PM CST
I think I've grown every variety of Knockout there is and yes, they sure do get bigger than what they (Conard-Pyle) claim then do, at least here in the South.

I'd go with someone's recommendation above for pots and use the Drift Series, a much smaller-growing type(s) but with the same Knockout features. My favorite is Peach as its flowers tend to change colors through the season and each color can appear on the plant at any time; quite a sight to behold.

Great ideas for pots, Larry. I'd definitely work with your suggested filler and spiller, too! I wasn't familiar with those terms but sure do like them!

Thanks for the write-up! And the pics are great!

Shoe
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
May 30, 2012 12:34 PM CST
Well, so much for Knockout Roses. If they don't smell good, I don't want them! Ha! I've just about decided that I'm going to treat roses as annuals here. Rolling my eyes.
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Name: Clint Brown
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clintbrown
May 30, 2012 4:48 PM CST
As far as I can tell, they have no scent at all.
[Last edited by clintbrown - May 30, 2012 4:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Larry Rettig
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LarryR
May 30, 2012 5:19 PM CST
Thanks, all, for your contributions to an interesting discussion.

I still maintain that Knockouts do well in pots. They do stay a smaller size than when planted in the ground. Our Iowa garden is in Zone 5, so roses in general don't get as tall as they do in warmer zones. Since my audience consisted of Zone 5 gardeners and since the rose will stay a smaller size when potted, ungainly size was not an issue in my presentation.

In my experience, Japanese beetles are not fussy about what species or cultivar the rose is. Actually, I had fewer beetles on the Knockouts last summer than I did on my other roses.

Rick, I'm puzzled about your comment that Knockout blooms don't look like roses to you. Could you please elaborate?

Renée, if you want to keep your rose potted over winter, it's best to bring it inside or at least move it to a sheltered area. Pots are subject to windchill, which can damage the rose's roots.

Woofie, the size of the pot will depend on the size of the rose. If the rose is about two feet tall when you buy it, a 12" pot would be ideal. Depending on how fast the rose grows, you may want to plant it in a slightly bigger pot the next year or, as has been suggested, prune your rose (in early spring) to keep it in bounds. If you use a potting medium the first year that has timed release fertilizer in it, there's no need to feed it that season. The second year and in succeeding years, a general timed release fertilizer is best.

Thanks Vicki and Sue, for your kind comments.

Monica, thanks for the root pruning suggestion. You're right, many gardeners tend not to think of pruning the roots.

Thanks for your kind comments, Shoe, and for the Drift series suggestion.

Yes, alas, Knockouts have no fragrance, as is the case with many hybridized plants these days. One of the reasons I included alyssum in the planting was that it imparted fragrance to the arrangement.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
May 30, 2012 5:20 PM CST
I reconciled myself to my Knockout not being a "real" rose by thinking of it as a wild rose. But you're right: no scent.

And mine seem to drop their petals instantly if I try to stuff a few in a vase.
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
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clintbrown
May 30, 2012 5:26 PM CST
I don't think the blooms last long either, especially the one called 'Sunny Knockout.' The blooms on that one fade to white so quickly. The petals start shedding and it's just an ugly rose all around.
Name: Lin
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plantladylin
May 30, 2012 6:01 PM CST
Larry: Loved the article ... and what a beautiful container planting with that Knock Out Rose as the main attraction!

I've heard the terms "Thriller, Filler & Spiller pertaining to mixed container planting as well as for flower arranging. I love the Knock Out series and the 'Sunny' Knock Out is my favorite. I have two in containers that bloom almost year round here in Florida.They've been in their large pots for about three years and haven't seemed to outgrow their bounds yet. They seem to stay about 4' in height, maybe because of being root bound? I'm bad about pruning but I don't like the looks of rose hips so I always pinch them off. I'm also lax about fertilizing but when I mix up a bloom booster plant food for the orchids during the spring & summer months, the roses get a dose of it as well.

Again, great article and tutorial .... and Thanks for including that photo of the entrance to your beautiful gardens ... stunning!!


Sue: Thanks for supplying the link to Knock Out Roses in the Database! That Rainbow Knockout is fabulous .... and it's now on my wish list!! Smiling
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
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Calif_Sue
May 30, 2012 7:28 PM CST

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Your welcome Lin, I also was impressed by the beautiful colors of that Rainbow Knock Out (2 words is the correct name by the way Whistling ) when I took those pictures in the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, the entire row of plants made quite a colorful display!
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