Roses have long been one of the favorite garden plants. Properly cared for, they’ll provide color all season long – from mid May up until past frost. There’ve been changes in how we grow roses.
Traditionally, we planted what we call hybrid tea roses, which are grown for large, showy flowers. Today, though, most people plant what we call easy care or shrub roses. The most famous of those shrub roses is this one I’m standing by called the Knock Out rose. The Knock Out roses came on the market a few years ago and they were touted for their disease resistance and free flowering. They come in pinks, reds, and various colors.
If you go in and deadhead the Knock Out roses, or the easy-care roses during the growing season, you may get a few more flowers, and also keep the plant looking a little more clean and neat. On the other hand, if you’re a low maintenance, less fussy gardener, you wouldn’t remove the blooms. You’d just let them cycle in and out throughout the growing season.
Many types of these easy care roses will also produce a hip or a seed that can be interesting during the winter months. If you want to let those develop, you probably don’t want to deadhead your roses much after the first part of August, because that then gives that last flush of bloom time to develop a seed head.
So, when you go to prune a Knock Out rose, or an easy-care rose, you’ll basically look for where the blooms are spent. Then, you’ll trace down to a nice, healthy bud or another leaf junction, and just cut and remove it from the plant. That will signal the plant to send out a new burst of growth, and a new flower a few weeks down the road. You can go in during the summer months and cut out the dead blooms, or just leave them. The plant doesn’t care. These easy care roses are bred to bloom, and to perform all season long for you to enjoy in your garden.
This feature story prepared with Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Johnson County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.