Many low-maintenance roses now on the market

John Young, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.  |  1/30/2009 10:05:36 PM

Sustainable Landscape News Distributed 01/30/09

By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists

Growing roses in Louisiana has been a challenge for home gardeners, mainly because of diseases brought on by our environment. Heat and humidity adversely affect the many rose varieties we grow.

Landscape shrub roses have made that challenge easier. Shrub roses require minimum pruning and less irrigation, fertilizer and disease management.

The enhanced popularity of landscape shrub roses has stimulated new interest in roses over the past few years. Traditionally, modern roses, such as hybrid tea, floribunda and grandiflora varieties, dominated the market. Shrub roses were a small percentage of the modern rose market in the 1990s, but that trend is now totally reversed. This trend has been driven, in large degree, by the tremendous success and popularity of the Knock Out rose.

Millions of the Knock Out roses are being sold annually since the initial variety was introduced in 2000. That year, approximately 7 percent of roses sold in the modern rose category represented shrub roses. The remaining 93 percent were dominated by hybrid teas, floribundas and grandifloras.

In 2005, the percentage of modern rose sales in the landscape shrub rose category increased to 17 percent. By 2010, that percentage is estimated to reach 45 to 50 percent.

Knock Out was an All-America Rose Selections (AARS) winner in 2000. It took a couple years of Knock Out being on the market for most horticulturists to realize how great a plant it is. The bush is advertised to grow to a mature height of 4 to 5 feet with a spread also of 4 to 5 feet. If not pruned, however, it easily can grow 8 feet tall.

Blooms are deep, fluorescent cherry red complemented by glossy burgundy-green foliage. In addition to the original Knock Out rose are Knock Out Pink, Blushing Knock Out, Rainbow Knock Out, Double Knock Out, Pink Double Knock Out and Sunny Knock Out. Sunny is new for 2009 and sports bright yellow buds that open to yellow petals fading to light yellow and a yellowish white.

Knock Out also is one of the original 11 Earth Kind varieties being promoted by Texas A&M University. The Earth Kind program uses research-based techniques for maximum gardening enjoyment while preserving and protecting environment. The other original varieties are Belinda’s Dream, Caldwell Pink, Carefree Beauty (Katy Road Pink), Climbing Pinkie, Else Poulsen, Knock Out, Marie Daly, Mutabilis, Perle d’Or, Sea Foam and The Fairy.

In the last few years, more varieties have been added to the Earth Kind list. They include Spice, Duchesse de Brabant, Ducher, Georgetown Tea, Madame Antoine Mari, New Dawn, LaMarne and Souvenir de St. Anne’s.

Some hybrid tea roses also require less maintenance and also are less susceptible than others to blackspot disease. These include Gemini, Elle, Valencia, Mister Lincoln, Tiffany, Veteran's Honor, Olympiad, Tahitian Sunset, Midas Touch, St. Patrick and Moonstone.

Come to LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is located near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (La. Highway 30) in Baton Rouge across the street from the new LSU baseball stadium. Go online to and for more information.


Dan Gill at (225) 578-2222 or
Allen D. Owings at (985) 543-4125 or
John Young at (225) 578-7913 or
Editor: Mark Claesgens at (225) 578-2939 or

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