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Knock Out Roses for Gainesville and North Central Florida

Double Knock Out Rose
Double Knock Out Rose
Brian Harfe

If you have ever wanted to grow a rose but were afraid of the maintenance required to grow roses in the hot and humid Florida climate, the Knock Out rose was made for you!

The Knock Out rose is one of the most popular landscape roses ever developed and is one of the only roses sold at local big-box nurseries that will survive in Gainesville (please see my previous discussion of other roses that thrive in Gainesville and North Central Florida). The Knock Out rose is an Earth-Kind rose and never needs to be sprayed for either diseases or insects. The Knock Out rose produces bright cherry red blooms that are 3 to 3 and a half inches in diameter with 7-13 petals. Officially, the mature height of this rose is 3-4 feet, but in Gainesville it can reach >5 feet (it can easily be maintained in the 3-4 foot range through pruning). The rose flowers throughout the spring, summer and fall and produces attractive orange-red hips (seed pods) in the winter months if flowers are left on the plant in the fall.

Recently, a number of variations of the Knock Out rose have been developed. While most of these new varieties are available in the Gainesville and North Central Florida area, not all are well suited for our climate. All contain the disease resistance characteristics of the Knock Out rose but some lack blooms that can withstand the Florida heat.

1. Double Knock Out – Blooms are the same color as Knock Out but contain more petals. This plant is not as vigorous a grower as Knock Out and only reaches a height of ~3 feet. An excellent selection for the home garden.

2. Pink Knockout, Double Pink Knockout and Blushing Knock Out – All resemble the original Knock Out but have either pink or light pink blooms that fade with age (Blushing Knockout).

3. Rainbow Knockout (coral pink with yellow centers) and Sunny Knock Out (Yellow) – Do not let the very pretty pictures of these roses in catalogs fool you. In North Central Florida these roses quickly become bleached by the sun after opening, leaving blooms that are an unattractive no-color-in-particular. If you desire a lovely disease- (and heat-) resistant yellow rose for your home garden, one of the best choices for our area is Carefree Sunshine.

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