published Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Five Tips: How to grow better Knockout Roses

Irene Tucker's Knock Out rose bush is filled with hundreds of healthy blooms.
Staff Photo by Karen Nazor Hill
Irene Tucker's Knock Out rose bush is filled with hundreds of healthy blooms. Staff Photo by Karen Nazor Hill

Irene Tucker spends time every day visiting a "sanctuary" of peacefulness that gets her through the day, she said.

Her yard, her sanctuary, is filled with flowering shrubs and plants that the 73-year-old planted throughout the 30 years she has lived at her South Chattanooga address.

Though there are many types of flowering shrubs and plants in her yard, Tucker said her three Knock Out rose bushes are among her favorites.

According to, Knock Out roses were developed by Bill Radler. A 2000 All-America Rose Selection winner was Radler's first commercial success. It broke all records for sales of a new rose and revolutionized the way gardeners thought about roses. Today, it is the most widely sold rose in America.

Tucker knows why.

"It's so easy to grow, and it's beautiful," she said, standing next to a hardy bush filled with hundreds of red blooms. "I planted this just three years ago, and look how big it is. The best thing is that these bushes will bloom throughout the summer and into fall."

The Conard-Pyle website offers the following tips on planting Knock Out roses. Also visit for a video demonstration.


1. The rose bush will need at least six hours of sun each day, so choose a sunny spot to plant.

2. Dig a hole that is about twice as wide and as deep as the container. Work the soil at the bottom of the hole with your shovel so that it's loose and aerated.

3. Remove the Knock Out rose from its container. Use your hands to gently loosen the roots at the bottom of the plant. Place plant in the hole, ensuring that the base of the plant is level with the soil.

4. Add soil back to the hole around the plant. Crumble the soil so that it is nice and aerated. At this point you can add in any soil amendments if you wish, such as manure or potting soil.

5. Water thoroughly around the base of the plant, allowing it to soak in and repeating as necessary. For the next couple of weeks, water as needed to ensure it stays healthy. Mulch around plant to help retain moisture and reduce weeds.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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