Visit to Lowes today

karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)May 11, 2008

I had my daughter drop me off at Lowes today while she did some shopping elsewhere. I've been looking for "Dream Come True" and found a nice one for $15.95 in a J&P pot. I also picked up one called "Ivory Carpet" It's not a Carpet Rose. The tag says it's 3'W X 2'tall and spreading. Checked it out on Help Me Find and it looks interesting. Says it in perpetual bloom. I have a small space next to my garage door where it'll fit nicely. At $6.95 I figured I could try it. All the roses were in great shape.

I was saddened by the large number of Knock Out roses. They filled 2/3 of the space allocated for roses. Lots of Double Knock Out, Rainbow Knock Out, and Pink Knock Out.

They had only a few patented varieties with many more out of patent ones.

While I waited for my Daughter to pick me up, I sat next to a display of J&P tree roses outside in front of the garden center.

Shame on me! I talked many folks out of buying them after explaining how difficult it was to overwinter tree roses in zone 5a. On the other hand I told them about the other roses inside that were hardier and saw many coming out with them.

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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

They have a glut of knockouts here too. Not just Lowes and Home Depot but small local nurseries as well. I don't understand why they are pushed here. Maybe they are disease-free, but in the north they are not very cane hardy and attract J.beetles just as well as any rose.

Probably the #1 reason people in the north are unsuccessful with roses and quickly lose interest in them is that the majority of varieties offered for sale pretty much everywhere are not hardy. And of course the employees don't know this.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 8:38AM
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I think that the bottom line is that there is a rose for everyone's needs. And Lowe's caters to those who aren't rosarians. I have 22 Hybrid teas, floribundas, and grandifloras in a terrace at home, and am excited about going to my favorite nursery later this afternoon, and adding more to that collection. But, they're a lot of work, need sprayed, attended to. At a weekend cabin on a nearby lake, I have 12 Baby Blankets (no spray) and foundation plantings of Knockouts. They are just what I need there, because I'm not there all the time to care for them the way I can for my more finicky babies. Everyone needs a real garden center for their special roses, probably a mail-order company for their really special roses, and a Lowe's for their everyday needs. The world is in balance after all. And, just as a note, the roses at my Lowe's look pretty well cared for. Yesterday, however, I stopped in at Home Depot for an entirely non-rose reason, but had to look at their roses while I was there. What a sad, sad lot. Underwatered, droopy, full of blackspot, and still full price. They'd be a salvage operation for the best rosarian, and I sure wouldn't take on the task at full price.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 8:44AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I too am getting tired of seeing Knock Outs (and all their relatives) all over the garden centers. Having said that, I will admit to owning 2 Double Knock Outs. It's nice to have some roses I don't have to fuss over, and they do make an outstanding display of color when in full bloom.

I suspect that the big market for Knock Outs is customers who normally don't grow roses--at last there is a rose they feel competent to grow. In that sense, I approve of the KO craze--but am also dreading the day when I see KO in everybody's front yard.

For rose lovers like those of us on this forum, KO is one choice among many. No danger that we will rip out dozens of Austins or OGRs so that we can replace them with just KOs. Thank goodness! Wouldn't want to be without my WS2000 or Anne Boleyn or Buff Beauty or . . . .


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 9:25AM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

Not to worry, Dublin Bay, there is at least ONE front yard in this world that will never ever have any flavor of KO rose in it. Don't like them. I don't care if they are low maintenance, that's not what I buy roses for.

I got lots of native plants for no maintenance, they beat a KO rose any day. Then I got REAL roses for character.

That said, I perfectly understand why so many people are attracted to the KOs, and I'm glad for them that they exist.

And kudos to you Karl for dishing out such sound advice, and saving those poor people from the heartbreak of having their expensive tree rose die in the winter!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 10:45AM
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rosesnpots(z8 Tidewater area VA)

I agree, KOs are good for some but not for me. I too prefer to go into my yard and work with my roses. I also love the fact each one of my Beales, Austins, Buck, and Kordes roses have their own destinct personalities in color, bloom shape, fragrance, and growth habit.

I too was a HD yesterday, to pick up some big pots and the roses look terrible with yellow leaves and just poor all around condition. Some had a boom or two but most did not even have a single bud on them. I also shop at Lowes and at least their roses look better. But as for me I will continue to order my roses from the rose nurseries that continually show their true passion and love for roses.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 10:48AM
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While I agree that the Knock Out series is not the most fair of them all, I got one about 5 years back because I was talked into it by someone at a nursery. Admittedly, I was surprised at how much I grew to like it. Constantly in bloom and I liked the color very much, including the new red foliage. This spring I am in a new house and I have two kids under age 4, so I can't spend much time in the front yard because I don't trust the kids by the street. So I got Knock Out for the front yard because it is low maintenance. I also could not resist a Rainbow Knock Out--it looked so pretty! I got them at Lowes, but I really don't like shopping there for plants. Their selection IS terrible--on everything garden wise! Until last weekend, I did not know where the good garden center was around these parts.

The back yard is reserved for the Austins and other roses that will require my attention more. Besides, the family spends more time in the back yard and my dining room and window seat look out on the back yard, so that's what's important!

I have not had any trouble overwintering Knock Out in Zone 5 (Toledo area) without any protection. I now live in zone 6 because I am right on Lake Erie on the west side of Cleveland, and all the roses I planted last fall came through beautifully.

I recommend Knock Out to everyone I know who does not have roses, or who does not care much about gardening. I consider it a blessing that there are varieties out there that non-gardeners can grow. It just means more roses in the world.

I suppose that makes me a non-purist, like recommending that someone read the Cliff's Notes instead of the entire Grapes of Wrath. But even Cliff's Notes have their time and place--some people just don't care about getting the full experience.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 12:48PM
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Interesting how as time goes by I learn things. I have not ever ordered online for roses. But I see that I am going to have to change that. I too have noticed so many KO roses everywhere. It's so true that we rosarians don't want something so easy. Roses being our passion we want to fuss over them!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 1:04PM
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Kind of interesting that this has been your experience Karl. Here in Quincy we have no box stores thankfully but the Rite Aid sells annuals mostly and we have one good sized nursery. Naturally I was there at the nursery yesterday morning and not only did they have NO Knockouts but they seem to have really increased their rose selection or regular roses. Or maybe I'm just noticing more now. As far I know you cannot buy a KO in town period.

I was really delighted to see so many different kinds of roses on display around the nursery. It was both tempting and encouraging to see the diversity. Then again it is much easier to grow roses here than in your neck of the woods Karl so I can see how the temptation to go for something 'carefree' might be higher there.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 1:57PM
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Maryl zone 7a

While I was standing by the pathetic rose display at Home Depot (as Nancy described) a lady walked up to me and said that I needed to try growing roses and those were the best there are. Of course she was pointing to the Knock Outs. She was so obviously proud of her success with them that I had a hard time being dismissive. When I told her I grew HT's etc. she looked at me as if I was nuts. "You must like to garden" she said. "I just like to see roses bloom". She may have hit the nail on the head. Now I'm off to spray my roses.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 1:59PM
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I didn't realize so many people disliked Knock Out Roses. What are the pros and cons of this variety?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 3:07PM
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rosesnpots(z8 Tidewater area VA)


I do not think it is because some people dislike KOs I think it is more that many of us truly enjoy the vast array of choices the HTs, OGRs, shrub, and other varitiey of roses have to offer. As for myself it is more of the joy I get going into my garden each morning and evening and working a bit with it everyday. For me it is very relaxing and a good way to get ready for and unwind after work. KOs are good for some people who what roses but do not want to or can not work in the garden. In some instances people who started with KOs find that growing roses is not that hard and will indeed expand to include other roses.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 3:30PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

In the past, although I've never relied on HD and Walmart to supply me with roses, I've enjoyed "the hunt" every spring. I've seen the occasional Austin and Romantica at HD, plus some interesting floribundas, and last year I found a fine, healthy rugosa at Walmart--where I stupidly passed up a glorious potted Julia Child a couple of years ago.

This year, however, there was nothing worthy of a second look at either place. Just a few tired looking Knock Outs and some sick looking HT's in bags. It's as though these stores have given up on roses.

I'm hoping their stock will improve in a week or two, although it doesn't seem likely.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 4:44PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

What are the pros and cons of this variety?

Pro: excellent disease resistance and constant bloom even without deadheading.
Con: no fragrance, flowers are not particularly showy (except the color).

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 5:53PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Knock Out can be a great introduction to growing roses but my point is, as mentioned by others, that there are a so many others on the market that there could be a better choice available. As part of the rose market they are OK but I don't think they should be the whole market at the expense of others.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 7:08PM
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donnaz5(Z5 NY)

Last year, our HD's and Lowes were stuck with a ton of knockouts at the end of the season. I was hoping that they would learn from that and get some better roses this year...I was wrong..they have less than 15 J&P, and tons of knockouts.I am trying to go own root when possible anyway, so I internet order my roses. It's a great way to wile away the long days of winter..scouring the sites and choosing what I really want, rather than an impulse buy at a box store where their chances of thriving are greatly diminished by the time I see them. Donna

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 8:04PM
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rosesnpots(z8 Tidewater area VA)


I'm with you, I perfer to to order own root from reputable rose nurseries who are committed to perserve the beautiy and uniqueness of each rose.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 10:38PM
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imho, ko's are for people who's only experience with roses are with the body bag,grafted, low grade roses sold by the discount stores. That's what they are compared to. But in my experience, when compared to other own-root roses, in regards to hardiness, vigor, and beauty, they lose their luster. They are just a ho hum rose, not any more superior in any way than so many others. I don't think i will ever see a post about someone giving up their ogr's or species or rugosas, etc. for ko's. The 2 i have which along with some red meidilands were my first roses, but i have never considered or was even tempted to buy anymore.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 1:22AM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

The Knockouts are more about the beauty en masse, which is good for landscaping.

I'm more into the incredible beauty of each bloom - each exquisite bloom that compels me to come closer and revel in each unique bit of splendor. Knockouts can't do that IMHO.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 1:28AM
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I'm with Carol - I bought some KO's for the front yard to be spray free, easy care and they are what they are. I don't revel in their beauty but do appreciate having that bit of color with no care. However, my other roses give me great joy even when it's just one incredible bloom and these roses are the ones my family love to show to their friends. No bouquets of Knockouts are filling the house with aroma or exquisite beauty.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 8:12AM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

Last year my favorite local nusery started selling only KOS, im serios they had 100s of them! I talked with the owner as to why he made that switch, he felt they were too popular and he had too many people asking for them not to try selling them. I told him its not fair to sell roses that really are not for our climate, his clientel will look at the stub of rose the next year, have the KO barely make comeback and give up! he has been one of the best sellers of cold hardy roses in the area , much better than other local nurseries.

I was happy to see he switched back this year, big group of rogosas, which I happily snagged a Hansa from, plus a coulpe of cold hardy climbers and then a mixture of less cold hardy ones. But I felt it was a MUCH better selection. I doubt what I told him last year had any effect as to his purchase this year, but IF we DO NOT express our opionion, then it never will be heard =).

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 8:43AM
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I remember a man living in Newport Beach right at the ocean's edge with an english style garden that was spectacular. When a neighbor came out, we were talking about it and I mentioned that most of the plants were not suited to life at the beach and yet seemed to be in good health anyway. They don't last too long, the neighbor said. He just buys new ones all the time as they die off in a few months. Maybe the tree roses are the same story. People growing them as annuals. Seems like a shame. Thanks Karl for helping people plant roses they can enjoy year after year.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 12:45PM
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kidhorn(7a MD)

I like knockout. I just bought 2 double from Home Depot's website they ship from Parks and the cost for both is $26 and change including tax and shipping.

I want something to plant behind my mailbox, I don't want to spray and I don't want the canes to get in the mailmans way. I also don't want to wait in line at Home Depot on a Saturday afternoon behind 25 people buying 10 flats of annuals and a couple of bags of mulch. Nothing against these people but If they had put down seeds a month earlier, they could have saved a couple hundred bucks.

Having been shopping online and finding it would cost more than $40 minimum to get 2, I jumped at the chance.

Bare roots from Parks arriving in late May or June wouldn't be my first choice, but I can make anything work.

I have 4 original knockouts I planted many years ago and they grow and bloom great. Never any problems and they only get 2-3 hours of direct sunlight a day. KO is one of my favorite roses.

I'll take a rose that blooms well and requires no maintenance over one that will lose 70% of its leaves by the end of summer unless sprayed every few weeks. Regardless if it's fragrant or not. But, that's just me.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 2:32PM
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kandm(8b coastal alabama)

I just ordered some JP bare root roses online at Home Depot, 6.50 each with free shipping. Worth a try.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 11:39PM
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Well, at my latest visit to Lowes, I picked up a gallon? size Bonica and Carefree Wonder for 6.98 a piece...they look like own root. They actually had roses other than KO's :)

Eric, a KO non-hater.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 10:05AM
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kandm(8b coastal alabama)

I don't have a huge problem with Lowes, I bought some 50% off a month or so ago and they are blooming fine. Nice ones too, Sunsprite, Touch of Class, Tiffany, A Darby, About Face.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 11:50AM
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mgleason56(Michigan 5b)

Really interesting how the KO's have just taken over. Sadly, my own 2 sisters went out and bought a bunch of these since they do not have to tend to them. Never figured out why someone wants to call themselves a gardener yet does not want to do any of the chores associated with having a garden. To me it would be like deciding to adopt and then adopting a 25 year old.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 12:12PM
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Funny how we don't get many knock outs here where I am. But people plant Iceberg everywhere.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 10:17PM
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I saw this post and couldn't help but comment.

Knock Out roses are amazing! They bloom longer than any roses I've ever seen. I even saw blooms in November with frost out! I'm no rose snob and I understand the blooms aren't the perfect rose shape, but you can't deny that they have something special in their habit.

I bought two Knockout Tree Roses. A yellow one and another color. I also bought a Sunny Knockout which also has a fragrance.

A plant like this doesn't take over for no reason. People are satifsifed with them for good reason. They outperform anything else out there. Until some of you post the rose that performs better, I think you should acknowledge why they are so popular. Not having to spray chemicals on them means they are better for the environment too!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 1:47PM
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I've been growing Flower Carpet roses for years and have had no trouble w/Japanese Beetles but wanted to try some shrub roses. So, I bought some Knock Outs, assuming they'd be equally unattractive to the beetles. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The JPs seemed to stay away from the KO Double Red but the KO Rainbow and the KO Pinks were both absolutely devoured by Japanese Beetles while the FlowerCarpets right next to them were barely touched.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Oddly enough, I came to this forum precisely because of my visit to Lowes yesterday!

There were a fair number of of KnockOuts, and some Floral Carpet, but I doubt it was even 25% of the roses they had. 'Course, they didn't have many roses, period....

But I couldn't talk myself out of a new-to-me rose; The Endeavor, which is why I'm here on the rose forum.

I've had qualified success with roses in the past, and found that floribundas and rugosas seemed to fit the bill of what I'm willing to do for what I want out of a rose.

But I have a new place, and I may try new things. Heck, I may put KO's in the hell strip!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:17PM
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KO's EVERYWHERE up here. I have to admitt, They make a great mass planting and a good hedge. For me, they open the door for other types when folks stop by to see the garden. I'll be glad when everything is in place the way I really want it. We only have about 22 bushs right now (good spred of everything) with lots of color and different scents. When someone says they want somethinf like that, and point to it , I explainto them WHAT it is and WHAT they have to do to keep it healthy. Most people say, "If you can do it with that little trouble, so can I." The biggest problem up here is everyone prunes all their HT's and other varieties to the bud union. When the main bush doesn't come back, they give up. I tell everyone to do the same thing with their HT's or whatever, that everyone does with their KO's. Just clean them up and shape them. The few that do this have beautiful bushs abd gardens. A bunch of old florabundas up here in the smokies. All of my roses are liking it so far.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:31PM
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There's no question Knock Outs are great performers, especially for people that really don't have the time or interest to put the time in on roses. However, after seeing how my city has gone totally beserk over them (we have them on every corner and every median all over town) I think I'll pass...

Our Home Depot plants and roses looked good to me this morning, they keep it up really well. I bought a large planter, they wheeled it down to the tool rental area where they drilled a hole in it and loaded it up for me.

Where it has really gone downhill is Walmart. They used to have a halfway decent assortment of plants but it seems like after they have run all the little home owned nurseries out of business they just aren't interested anymore. Spose the bottom line has anything to do with it?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:57PM
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I grow some Austins, some Bucks, some OGRs, some other shrub roses, ... and some

Each rose fills its own niche in my garden.

The Austins, Bucks, and OGRÂs supply beauty of flower form, while still being fairly
resistant to disease. The other shrub roses, especially the KOÂs, provide color nearly
season long.

KOÂs do that ... and provide color in my landscape like none of my other roses.

I donÂt really spray, so the varieties of roses I grow must be viable despite any disease
pressure. I use some of the Bayer systemic products to keep Japanese Beetle damage
to a minimum.

And KOÂs do, ocassionally require special care, especially in the spring when I prune
my roses. But otherwise, theyÂre fairly care-free.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:59PM
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virakech(z5 Ohio)

Until the newer colors in Knock Out came out, I wanted to burn every single one of them I saw.... the color is just so "unreal".

But the coralish and pink colors are okay. I say they work great in commercial landscaping so you can look at a pretty row of blooming 'roses'... but not in the home garden unless you have absolutely no free time to garden and are desparate for a rose.

I went to Lowes and HD and found like everyone else, tons of knock out. BUT - I also went to nurseries and there they were, all over the place. My theory is that when the economy is tough places sell things that people won't be disappointed in, things that are guaranteed successful and worthy of the money spent.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 2:30PM
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radagast(US east coast)

I like Knockouts as a workhorse, intro rose.

My Mom had a rose garden when I was growing up, and it was an endless battle of spraying, blackspot, some years JB's would eat them, etc. In the end, most of the roses died anyway; it was just too much work. Only later we learned that nearly every variety she had was particularly wimpy, though they had beautiful flowers.

Why Knockouts everywhere? Because people can grow them. Perhaps instead of being angry at Knockouts, we should be disgusted that we've had to suffer through decades of roses of which 90% can't thrive in a garden without endless applications of chemicals, sprays, etc. I don't have to go out and spray chemicals all over my coneflowers, salvia, yarrow, etc. Why are the rose breeders being given a free pass to produce laughable fragile plants? If they had been creating sturdy plants all these years, there wouldn't have been a need to create the Knockout roses.

That being said, there are other tough roses out there that can compete with the Knockouts in disease resistance, but which offer a greater variety of flowers, strong scent, etc. But the big box stores will rarely take the trouble to find those plants, sadly.

As for here in Maryland, Knockouts dominate the big box stores for obvious reasons. The local nursery I visit has a nice selection of large, healthy hybrid teas of every color. Some are more modern, tougher ones, though others are the same classics I recall from my mother's rose garden, and I already know how that story ends: beautiful flowers on canes stripped of leaves by blackspot.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 4:03PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Say what we will about Knock Out roses, they've brought many who said they couldn't grow roses, back to growing them.
Among the 400 rose bushes I grow are a dozen Blushing Pink Knock Outs, 5 original Knock Outs, a Rainbow Knock Out, Sunny Knock Out, White Out, 2 Carefree Sunshine, Double Knock Out, Home Run, and Rambling Red.
While I have many other varieties I like better, The Knock Out roses have a place in my garden. I use them to show visitors they can grow these along with other varieties.
My complaint is the garden centers and big box stores seem to have forgotten the other varieties available.
But then again, they offer what sells!
Offering mainly Knock Outs, they're also controlling what sells.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 4:13PM
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I visited HD last weekend and while they mostly had KO roses, I found something interesting: they had a selection of the HT's my father grew around 35 years ago. I saw Tropicana, Queen Elizabeth, Mr Lincoln, and Peace. I thought it was interesting they had a selection that reminded me of my father's garden.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 6:38PM
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Terry Crawford

I agree with KOs were the gateway to my rose obsession. I tried a few roses and they wouldn't overwinter...and I didn't know what I was doing, which didn't help. So I gave up for a few years because roses were something I was resigned to not being able to grow. Too finicky, I thought. Then along comes the KOs. I'll give them a try...they're touted to be simple and easy. So I planted a few KOs, and to my amazement they lived! and I was hooked. I too can grow roses...and thus began my obsession.

I found GW, started reading threads about how to grow healthy roses, overwinter them here in central Illinois, and became enabled by several evil folks who posted luscious pics of their gorgeous roses. I then discovered Vintage, RU, Eurodesert, 2Sisters, and gads! I now have 300 roses.

So beware the innocent KOs...they will be your downfall. And yes, they still are part of the Gang of 300 and I still love them for their loud, jazzy colors.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 7:21PM
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Our Lowes here has nothing but Knockouts and they are all full of blackspot. Some people are very happy with KO's but I prefer HT's.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 8:06PM
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Personally, I hate knockouts and I think they are just a cliche rose, nor do I think they perform all that better than most other roses. Here in Columbus, we don't have rampant disease for the most part, so I can't comment on that. With that said, the Earth Kind garden in Columbus has a variety of roses and the original knockout is probably one of the more underperforming varieties in comparison to all the other roses.

Even lowly "high maintenance" roses like Austin's Evelyn grow perfectly fine with ZERO care. Exhibit A being this Evelyn I found in my neighborhood(1 of only 2 Austins in the entire neighborhood). This rose is located at a rental property and gets ZERO pruning, ZERO feeding, ZERO protection, ZERO deadheading, ZERO spraying, and barely gets 6 hours of sun in a day, yet it still is a 4x3 shrub rose pumping out big blooms. Out of frame is a knockout to the right of the picture that died last winter, so what's the fuss?
From 5-11-2010

I really don't understand why KOs are so praised from some perspectives. Inherently, it all goes back to probably simple marketing and some women's magazine causing them to "boom" into popularity and become the "fad" rose, just as yews were formerly popular, endless summer hydrangeas, and new age hostas. You throw it at people enough and it becomes the only rose they know and they don't even have enough wit to seek out OTHER roses. All that runs through their head is "rose", "red", and "easy".....that's honestly all that happens.

At the Earth Kind garden here, almost every Buck rose is more hardy, more floriferous, has larger blooms(much larger), better growing habit, better disease resistance, and offers a wider array of choices depending on what kind of shrub form or bloom form you wish to have. It's not limited to just Bucks either. Numerous other roses perform better than the KOs there and I'm not even just referring to the Earth Kind garden. There are floribundas and OGRs that are far better in just about every conceivable way, yet go unnoticed...Quietness being a great example.

Another thing I don't get about is the details associated with KOs. They are labeled as easy, hardy, near care-free roses that need only light pruning. I see this, yet they are only slightly more hardy than most other roses in the city, and still require deadheading and pruning to maintain a nice appearance......JUST LIKE ANY OTHER ROSE! If left alone, they will still be vigorous enough to bloom...although less than they could, plus the growth habit can become awkward.......JUST LIKE ANY OTHER ROSE! Sure they make an attractive "low maintenance" hedge planting....but so does Iceberg in southern would thousands of other roses if people actually planted hedges of them.

I had a co-worker at my current internship talk to me about KOs. I told her I grew roses and she responded with "Oh I like roses....I grow those KO roses too!"....I asked her if she had any other roses besides KOs...."Oh no way....they are way too much work to take care of!"....I asked her why she thought that...."Well don't you have to like prune them all the time and don't they always die? How should I plant my new KOs anyways and what should I feed them".......facepalm.

Why is it that KOs are so popular and people are so willing to go out of their way to avoid supposed "high mainenance" roses?????????????????


We evoke the image of having perfect rose bushes, with perfect blooms, perfect health, perfect shape, and perfect visual appeal and go to extraordinary lengths to achieve this look in our gardens. This image of us "slaving" over our roses for this perfection makes the "common person" think roses are wonderfully beautiful, yet near impossible to grow because they require all that "work". In reality, we are all just aspiring rose gardeners that want to see our roses do best, but if we simply let our roses grow wild, they really probably wouldn't be THAT much worse(minus disease ridden areas). We simply strive to get those extra 10% of blooms and make the blooms and the shrub that 10% bigger and go to great lengths to do it. Just as anything else in the world, our extremes carry over to the unknowing others and present an impossible challenge for them. Sedentary people can't begin to imagine exercising or doing some type of sustained aerobic exercise while watching the Olympics because it seems out of reach for them and exercise is too much "time and work", yet in reality, they will never be an Olympic athlete, but if they actually tried exercise, they could become a healthy and fit individual capable of completing 5Ks, marathons, etc. I can make endless analogies to roses. At the end of the day, it just boils down to people willing to actually TRY something as opposed to shooting down an idea for any action to finally occur....the action in this case being....buying something other than a KO for once.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 8:07PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I think KOs have a place. I call them summer azaleas. They provide a lot of color and are good planted en mass. I see them a lot in commercial type landscapes and on the side of the highways and they look nice. And if you want a bunch of carefree summer color and don't care about fragrance or bloom form, they are good. Here in GA, they don't get blackspot but do get powdery mildew. And they get very big and have to be cut back, But you don't need to get crazy with the pruning. I've talked people here out of body bags at Home Depot, but I don't have a problem with Knockouts.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 7:28AM
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the_morden_man((Z4-Z5) Ontario, Canada)

I don't have any issue with the Knockout roses as such and I actually like Homerun and Ramblin' Red a great deal, which are related to the KO series. Disease resistant, less fuss roses are the way of the future whether rosarians want to admit it or not. If this brings more people into gardening with roses, than I say this is a good thing for roses, rosarians and the rose industry in general.

This said, KO's are so popular in the U.S. because of a very influential marketing machine. Here in Canada, KO's are still relatively unheard of and while the KO's are certainly disease resistant and bloom very well without deadheading, a lot of roses do this now, but do not have the same fanfare in the U.S., the catchy name and the marketing machine that goes with it.

For example, I would place a great majority of the newer Kordes series of Fairy Tale and Vigorosa roses up against KO's any day in terms of hardiness, disease resistance, pest resistance and blooming power. And more importantly to some, unlike the KO roses, there is great variation in both colour and bloom form in these series of roses. It is a shame that they are not widely available in garden centers and that more people don't try growing them. These are the roses I recommend to those who want low care roses and also roses that I will freely add to my own garden as more interesting varieties become available. There is something to be said for lower care when you tend to two gardens and over 500 roses each year.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 8:52AM
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As a nursery owner, I can tell you that the nurseries carry KO because people are asking for them. They are hyped everywhere. When a customer comes in a asks "Where are your KO's ", I ask them why they're looking KO's. The response is usually they heard about them in a magazine or a gardening show. I show them the KO's & then I show them the Easy Elegance. They usually walk away with a beautiful Superhero or Macy's Pride.

Tom Curruth has said that Knock Outs will be the death of the Rose Growing Industry. That the public is being so sold on the KO's that all other roses are being cast aside. That being said, I'm absolutely in love with White Out.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 9:05AM
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radagast(US east coast)

IMHO, the rose breeders and big-box stores did this to themselves. When was the last time we saw a rose that was NOT advertised as "disease reistant" even if in reality it is a leafless stick with thorns halfway through July every year?

People buy the Knockouts because they actually deliver what is promised: they are disease resistant, and that offers hope to gardeners that they can grow roses.

I do wish that other disease resistant roses got the attention they deserved, and that is where marketing comes in. But without the internet and support of places like Gardenweb that are full of experienced rose growers who aren't trying to sell their own products, it is very difficult for the average gardener to separate the wheat from the chaff in the rose world. So, they end up with Knockouts since those about the only roses they know of that grow easily.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 12:14PM
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Knockouts are popular because they are marketed to the non-rose-growing public ... which is the majority of Americans.

The only other roses which have been consistently marketed to non-rosarians ... are the typical body-bag HT's. And that marketing consisted of the roses, themselves, lying on a table at the local grocery or harware store, perfectly convenient to grab up as you shop for other household essentials. Now, those few body bags that remain sit next to jaunty pots of Knockouts, typically sunnily blooming away.

Face it ... non-rosarians are going to buy their roses at Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, etc., ... if not the local grocery chain. And non-rosarians have faithfully bought body-bag HT roses from time immemorial ... all the while being spectacularly unsuccessful in growing them.

Knockouts have, quite simply, ... replaced the body-bags. And their buyers, typically, have great success in growing them. And for a public that's dealt with poorly growing roses for decades, Knockouts are a delightful breath of fresh air. They're just so vigorous and disease-resistant. "I can grow roses" ... proclaims the average householder. And they plant them, and then go on to their next household activity.

You know ... I like to grow things. I have indoor plants (mostly African violets), and probably ver 200 outdoor landscaping/gardening plants (mostly trees and shrubs), ... but after my first real experience at trying to grow some Jackson & Perkins HT's (I thought that I was being sophisticated by avoiding the supermarket body-bags), ... I concluded (after a couple of frustrating years) ... that roses were not for me. I'd grow anything else ... but not roses. Noone likes to see their hard work and expectations just go down the drain of black-spot, aphids, powderey mildew, Japanese Beetles, etc.).

So ... for years, I walked by every rose I encountered, saying under my breath ... "you'll never suck me in again."

But, after around 3 years of working on a landscape and gardens with no roses, I began to yearn for something to color up the landscape in the summer, and from my research, it looked like roses might be a good candidate.

I had forsythia, dogwood, redbud, lilac, etc. for the spring ... and pretty good autumn color, but, even with tree and shrub specimens with yellow-gold or maroon foliage here and there, ... the landscape was just too green in the summer.

So, about (5) years ago, I cautiously began to place some roses into my landscape/gardens. After doing some careful research, I put in some Carefree Wonders, Bonicas, Carefree Beauties, ... and Knockouts. Of the set, the Knockouts were the most immediately successful. I felt reborn. I could grow roses.

Since then, I've added some Austins and some OGR's, and most have been successful additions. I still avoid the HT's ... my understanding is that I really can't grow them here in zone 5, ... and I don't spray.

And my Knockouts bloom every year, almost all season long, and my only issue with them ... is that I have to cut the thorny things back each spring to keep them in bounds.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 12:17PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Admittedly, I am an OGR snob. To me, KOs are the Big Mac/fast food of the rose world.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 8:12PM
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If we value a particular plant then it is up to us as consumers to buy it at a place we want to stay in business..a nicer nursery. If Wal Mart ran the small nurseries out of business then it is the people who live in that community who gave Wal Mart their plant business and allowed those smaller nurseries to go out of business. I do not ever shop for my plants at box stores..I do occasionally buy fertilizers..and annuals I some times buy..but no roses.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 11:16PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I agree catsrose. And I like Burger King once in awhile, but I don't want it all the time:)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 8:33AM
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This conversation is funny to me and mimics the one that groomers and dog fancy people in general have. I mean, many prefer purebreds over mixed breed (AKA Designer pups) and many cannot see past the lable to see the true beauty or purpose behind the other side. Simply ask a show dog owner about a Labradoodle or Morkie and watch the eyes roll into the backs of their head or steam come out of their ears, especially if the dog du jour is from their fave breed! they forget that they are still dogs and still valuable to many.

I have many types of roses from HTs to Floribundas to minis to romanticas and yet I also have knockouts. The KO do something that the other roses I have cannot do as well or as fast (create a hedge between my shop and the neighbors driveway) and allow me time to play with the other varieites and still have color because they take so little work or product to thrive.

There is a place in the world for everything and if the market is driving it, like it is in dogs, towards something that purists dont like there is an attempt to make those who participate in the (what is PERCEIVED TO BE) "new improved" feel as if they are not as important or worthy as those who are more "old fashioned or truist" in their choices.

Just my take on it for what is worth.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 9:19AM
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teeandcee(Florida 9b)

I have a row of light pink KOs in my front yard where I wanted guaranteed bullet-proof roses. They're lovely against our beige brick. I grow OGRs (and a couple of KOs) in my backyard.

My city over uses KOs, especially the reds, but I still would rather see them than another boring row of redtop or juniper.

Having said that though, I'm disturbed by seeing nothing but KOs and cheapo HTs more and more at Lowes and HD. I haven't even seen any bodybags this year. I buy my roses online or at the local nurseries, but even the local nurseries carry VERY few OGRs and acres of KOs.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 7:31PM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

Again.. I dont care if people grow knockouts.. go knock yourself out if you want..

Its the admited failure of even knowledgable staff to stock items that are not hardy for your local area...

KOs are not hardy here.. they will die back to the crown and most likely regrow, but you might lose some in any given year...

If you are into garish red blooms, I would tell people who live here, KORDES robusta is a 10 time better rose, plus to me it actually has a slight scent to it.

I get frustated as well that for some reason.. with 100's of roses they could sell that would grow well here they dont, they push roses not meant for our zone.. Ive seen standard roses like Karl that would never make it.. yet people buy them expecting to plant it and for it to come back every year.. GOOD GRIEF, at least they could put them by the huge pot area with a sign that says, IF YOU ARE going to purchase this rose, we HIGHLY reccomend you plant it in a 20 gallon pot and drag it inside a protected area every winter...


    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 8:44AM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Hardy often means root or crown hardy not cane hardy. While I grow 400 hardy roses, many require severe pruning to remove winter dieback. I can accept that in order to grow the many roses I like.
If all you want are cane hardy varieties, grow only rugosas or Canadian Explorers. Even the Canadian Parkland and Artist series die back considerably.
Along with the Griffith Buck roses, they don't say they are cane hardy.
The average garden center and big box stores are only interested in selling roses. They sell what people buy. When the average buyer is faced with a hybrid tea bloom or those on a hardy shrub they usually opt for the hybrid tea. Its up to the buyers to do their homework.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 1:53PM
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lovemysheltie(5/6 Chicago)

jeffcat, that's an amazing pic! Makes me feel more confident about the not-so-great sunshine wise parts of my yard where I want to plant OGRs/Austins. If that Evelyn can deal with that level of neglect, she'll surely do better in my not-so-sunny part of the yard!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 2:02PM
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I had a KO several years ago. It grew and bloomed and grew and bloomed, but no matter how I tried, I just could not love it or even like it. I pruned it heavily,tied the huge canes with a rope, forced it into a big pot, then forced it into the trunk of my car. Gave it to friend who loves it but it gets very big in a season. Her daughter calls it "the monster outside her window". LOL!

I have to admit KOs look wonderful when I see them blooming in mass plantings. When someone asks what kind of a rose to buy and I know they don't have any experience, I say "buy a knockout!" I even designed a small garden for a coworker who needed color quick and used three KOs as the basis. Now he wants other roses.

When I know someone is going to really garden, I say ROSES! I have about 140 roses and have several that start blooming in April and are still blooming in late November/early December. Love having fresh blooms on my desk or in my house!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 8:45PM
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Do the knockout roses eally have no fragrance at all? Is the Sunny Knockout available at Lowe's? Is it anywhere near as common? Are they really that resistant or can their enemies just not find them if they don't smell so good?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 7:56PM
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petaloid(SoCal 10a/24)

Skye, on these GW rose forums you can start a your own new thread or topic, rather than adding onto an old one like this.

The Knock Out series of roses bloom a lot, even if you don't cut off the old flowers. This makes them good for landscaping.

Most have foliage texture that makes them resistant to powdery mildew and blackspot fungus.

I'll post a link below to a Sunny Knock Out rose description, and you can click on the tabs at the top of the page for more photos and info.

You would have to check with local nurseries to see who carries it in your area.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 8:29PM
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I really don't understand the love of Knockouts. In Florida they do get some blackspot. They do have to be watered and fertilized in our poor sandy soil. The chilli thrips love them. I guess I would rate them a solid "B-" grade. I wouldn't really hate them if they weren't the only rose available anymore. I think they should just be one of the roses a person could get if they wanted. They should not be THE rose for everyone in America.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 8:36PM
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It's an old thread, I know, and the Knockout debate has been rehashed again and again and there's no doubt to anyone where I stand. But I wanted to point out to everyone that I was in Lowe's in Topeka yesterday and among the many Knockout's, the obligatory table of potted roses had a number of 'CAREFREE BEAUTIES' Might have even been properly labeled by the look of the blooms.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 4:31PM
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I'm with you Professorrouch. If you are an East Coast gardener, it is wonderful to have a carefree rose that blooms continuously with no toxic sprays. I've had cancer. Don't want to risk going there again. I have other easy care roses too, Julia child, Hot Cocoa, Lady Elsie Mae, Flower Carpets, but I keep planting roses like Living Easy and losing them to BS It isn't worth it. The buds of Knock Outs are long, pointed and gorgeous.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 9:40PM
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I've been growing Flower Carpet roses for about 8-10 years and haven't had any trouble with them at all, other than trying to find them. This year both our Home Depot and Lowes has a collection of them - mostly in pink pots. A few years ago I bought some Double Pink and Rainbow Knock Outs to plant next to my Flower Carpet, thinking that they'd be a nice compliment, being taller, etc. For the last 2 summers, the Knock Outs have been loaded with Japanese beetles while they neighboring Carpet roses were untouched (Scarlet and Pink Supreme). I'm giving the Knock Outs one more summer, and if the same thing happens again this year, I'm pulling them out, even though I hate the thought of doing that.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 9:24AM
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I have to say, I enjoyed this perspective:

" Why Knockouts everywhere? Because people can grow them. Perhaps instead of being angry at Knockouts, we should be disgusted that we've had to suffer through decades of roses of which 90% can't thrive in a garden without endless applications of chemicals, sprays, etc. I don't have to go out and spray chemicals all over my coneflowers, salvia, yarrow, etc. Why are the rose breeders being given a free pass to produce laughable fragile plants? If they had been creating sturdy plants all these years, there wouldn't have been a need to create the Knockout roses.

I also think of KOs as more like an azalea. I have 3 on the hill that are planted right on top of a massive layer of rock. They don't care. My only con with them is that they get HUGE with pure neglect and have to be cut back substantially once or twice a year. I can live with that since this is the only thing they ever ask of me.

As far as the big box stores....people buy things in bloom, based on the look of the flower. KOs are always in bloom and thus sell easy. When the HTs are not in bloom, no one looks at them. I actually got my Double Delight on clearance for about 5 bucks because it sat out of bloom and went unpurchased. I think KOs will continue to be a 'staple' of the garden centers as long as the demand is there. I suspect it will be.

Overall, I think that KOs have their place and I just can't see why folks get so worked up about it. I get more frustrated when I see my garden centers selling invasive plants like pink primrose, English Ivy, mint, and Obedient plant to unsuspecting customers....or poisonous plants with no warnings such as oleander and digitalis.

Just my 2 cents....

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 8:49AM
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milleruszk(z6 NJ)


My sentiments exactly. Knockouts proved to me that I could have carefree roses in my landscape. After doing much research and joining the ARS I have introduced other roses this year. These are Ramblin Red, Julia Child, Cinco de Mayo, Easy Does It and Living Easy. These varieties are supposed to be disease resistent. Time will tell if a sustainable rose garden is truly possible.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Knockouts remind me of Kroger peaches, beautiful, flawless and taste similar to cardboard. But....many HTs have no fragrance! Give me the Double Delights and Sun Sprites! Now you are talking ROSES! Just saying...;-)).

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 2:10AM
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I'm not crazy about Knockouts, but I grow them. I am disheartened when I go shopping and most of the retail space is crowded with Knockouts and there are just a few "other" roses. The market is going that way, no doubt. It is scary to think of a future with only one type of rose in every garden in the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 2:26PM
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At one time, garden centers would put out flats of lobelia, portulaca, and other common annuals as soon as the root systems were developed. They didn't have to be in bloom to sell. Now in mass marketing garden centers, big box AND private owned everything has to be in bloom to sell.

I'm about to go buy myself a gorgeous rhododendron & it'll be at least half off because its going out of bloom.

No WONDER all the garden centers stock Knock-Out, due to the rapid repeat they'll never have to mark it down and I suspect in many places where they have space, they can carry the leftovers over the winter & then sell them the following season. So it's not just consumer demand, it's retailing.

I grow a lot of shrub and OGR's but frankly I'm hard put to think of any variety which blooms so continuously.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 6:07PM
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At our local nursery store, I complained to the manager that half their roses were KOs. He sighed and told me that is because they carry what sells. He also lamented that it appears to him that every year it is less and less of the other rose varieties are sold and they react by getting less and less of them year after next. You could see the pain in the guy's eyes.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 11:49PM
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I was actually kind of surprised how many varieties outside of knockouts our Lowe's carried, but it's more of the same....knockouts everywhere. 20 years from now, the only rose that will exist on Earth will be KO roses at this rate. It's definitely a worrysome long term outlook. I noticed this the other day with my Mother. She just wanted to get KOs for her storefront. I asked her to try other varieties and explained what would work and even showed her some pictures, but she went to a local bargain store and picked up a "Lady Diana" hybrid tea anyways.....not sure if that was any better or worse than a knockout...pretty bloom for sure, but in terms of rebloom, diease, and overall health, I'm not quite sure. At any rate, I'm hoping she changes her outlook once she sees the 20 or so Austins I planted in her yard last year...almost all of which overwintered perfectly fine. Most people don't even know what an Austin, Antique, or hell.....EVEN a HT rose is. They just know roses and the most common mainstream rose is the KO, so that's all they know. Need to be creative and expand horizons.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 11:56PM
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I hate KOs and I hated them from the first moment they appeared because I foresaw that they would destroy the wish, curiosity, and need and squeeze the market for other roses. Locally there are practically no other roses in the stores, chain or nurseries but Knockouts. I call them gas station plants. That's what you see around gas stations and supermarkets: Knockouts and lantanas. Boring and depressing.
Nowadays there are many roses to choose from that are disease free, as matter of fact more disease free than KOs and many have fragrance and more finesse: beside the Bucks, some polyanthas there are the new Kordes varieties and some of the Romanticas and Delbards.

I am sick of seeing that many KOs. They are the anti- rose if one can create a term like that. Interestingly, in the area of perennials I see a different trend. I can find plants in chain stores what I could research and if found, order only from very exclusive nurseries a few years ago.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 2:10PM
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Half the roses in our Earth Kind Garden in Columbus outperform Knockouts....and there are 3-4 different varieties of KOs in there. Hell, even Dublin Bay outperforms it. The soil is all the same, the sun is all the same, treatment is all the same. Frontenac is one rose that gets really overlooked. It EXPLODES in blooms during it's 1st flush....there is almost no green left on it because it's all pink.

The other nice thing I noticed last month when I went to the park, is that they planted at least 20-25 NEW Buck roses in the main garden. I'm interested to see how they look. Here at the park of roses, Buck roses seem to be much adored and rightfully so.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 2:50PM
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Please help me understand the Knockouts. Why are they so popular? I've has Sunny Knockout, Rainbow Knockout, and Blushing Knockout. Chilli thrips loved the Blushing Knockout so it is now gone. The Rainbow Knockout didn't thrive and looked like puke in the sun so it's gone too. I still have Sunny Knockout, but it's small and blooms rarely. I'll grant you I put it in a bad location, but if I had a really good location and wanted to lavish attention on a rose, I'd get a REAL rose. I'm no rose snob. I love both modern and old garden roses.

Today there was a man at Home Depot. He asked the clerk if they had any Knockout roses. The clerk showed him where they were. He asked again if these were Knockout roses. The clerk said yes they were. Now clearly this man had never seen a Knockout rose before, but he knew that he had to have them. Why is that? Who told him that the only roses he should look at were Knockouts?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 8:40PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I have one KO. I keep it because it was one of the roses Mom left me. While it is very winter hardy for me it DOES BLACK SPOT! And mildew as well for that matter. As commercial landscaping or a hedge it's fine but it isn't what I would call a lovely "specimen" rose for a "Rose Garden".

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 10:29PM
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Around here, blackspot doesn't seem to be all that bad but I see roses completely defoliate still here and there. A lot of times I see KOs completely defoliate, but the difference is that it behaves like a weed and keeps growing and blooming even though it has little to no leaves. I've seen some that look like they are almost just dead canes and thorns but still blooming. I've seen some nice hedges from them....about the only thing they can be used for, but as far as I'm concerned...most of the time they are just invasive weeds to me.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 10:44PM
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I haven't posted on this forum--but I visit often and have learned alot from everyone who posts. I love gardening and don't mind spending hours caring for plants including roses. I moved to a new house two years ago that has a wonderful woodland setting--with that setting comes the four legged garden destroyers. I added a row of KO as foundation planting for the house because they are deer resistant. Since I love roses and had lots at my last house, I couldn't resist adding a climbing rose to the end of the row and planted Golden Showers. Last year the KO bloomed freely all season without out a single browse from the deer. My climber on the other hand was pruned to the ground so many times that I only got one bloom. I also have Marmalade Skies in my front garden that gets consistently badly damaged by the deer--I thought if I planted it by the front door they would leave it alone--WRONG. So until I win the war with the deer I am a fan of the KO roses. Also, if anyone knows of any other roses that are not considered a delicacy to deer, I would be interested.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 9:07AM
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