One group of roses that is not necessarily new, but has been receiving more and more attention over the last few years, is the shrub rose. "This variety has great potential," says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Allen Owings.
"Landscape shrub roses will not make you great cut flowers, but they will give your landscape an abundance of rose flowers for 75 percent of the year," Owings says, explaining, "They practically bloom non-stop during the growing season, from March to November in south Louisiana and April through October in north Louisiana.
Also, they are much less prone to blackspot disease than the traditional hybrid tea, floribunda and grandiflora roses.
The best of the landscape shrub roses is Knock Out, an All-America Rose Selection winner from 2000.
"It took a couple years for Knock Out to be on the market for most horticulturists to realize how great a plant it is," Owings says. It grows to a height of 4-5 feet and has a rounded, bushy form. Blooms are deep, fluorescent cherry red complemented by glossy burgundy-green foliage. Knock Out has been praised for outstanding black spot disease resistance, and this variety has received the best disease-resistance ratings at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center rose garden since it was first planted in the AARS display garden there in 1999.
New at retail garden centers this spring are Knock Out Pink and Knock Out Blush –new color additions to the series that will make for a great companion planting situation. A double-flower form of Knock Out with cherry-red flowers also has been developed, but retail availability will be slow – probably 2007. Knock Out can be planted through the spring with great results.
For related topics, look for Gardening and Get It Growing links in the Feature section of the LSU AgCenter Web site: www.lsuagcenter.com. Additional yard and garden topics are available from an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture