A Smaller Rose Perfect for Patio Pots and Container Gardens

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When I worked at a garden center years ago, they had Knock Out Roses always in stock for sale. I recall Knock Outs were easy care, disease resistant, and great repeat bloomers, but for some reason, I can not remember exactly what made them special, other than they were really reliable compared to other fancier roses. I’d walk around looking at them at the nursery outdoors, leaning down to read the tags and smell the blooms, and always admired them, but I had never seen a compact variety of Knock Outs Roses until last year.

Photo 1 – Upon Planting Memorial Day Weekend – Knock Out Rose Petite with other plants

That was when I spotted the new member of the Knock Out family – last summer at a local nursery. Because I was familiar with the Knock Out logo and pots (from years ago), it caught my eye right away from a distance, and I thought, “Is that a miniature or smaller rose by Knock Out?” Long story short, I grabbed a few because the smaller new size, called Petite! Knock Out, is well suited for patio pots and container gardens for our summers here in Connecticut. I also knew that my customers would like traditional rose blooms in their outdoor planters. It would be a nice addition to the urban outdoor setting with various planters throughout the area.

Photo 2 – A Month or so Later after Planting It

The Petite Knock Out rose color is a beautiful intense deep red (their website refers to it a “fire-engine red”), and the plant’s tag indicates its mature size would be about 18″ tall, and that really is perfect for patio pots and containers, plus roses are sun lovers. These required about 6-8 hours of full sun and my customer’s site is definitely a sunny location. Another aspect is these are easy to carry to my location and plant, which is a side bonus for me as a container garden installer. And it would bloom all summer into fall (long-bloomer candidate!). What’s not to love?!

Photo 3 – Later in the Summer towards fall season – by Cathy Testa of Container Crazy CT

I usually don’t plant or play with roses too much. Some will say roses are for experts and/or I know roses may develop issues, insects, or diseases but the thought of using a smaller, more compact, or miniature rose from Knock Out didn’t scare me. As I took photos at different times, it is apparent the blooming power of this Petite Knock Out Rose plant did not disappoint. Looking at the sequence of the above photos, you can see Photo 1 – upon planting, it has many buds ready to open, Photo 2, lots more flowers opened a month later, and Photo 3 was taken at the end of the container gardening season, towards the start of fall. The flowers are still abundant right before our fall season. And the blooms retained their deep fire-engine red color. When you have very full sun situations, as in super full sun, sometimes flower colors will fade, but they did not fade on this Knock Out Petite. Take a look at the foliage as well – shiny, healthy, and no issues. No signs of trouble, thus, I and my customers’ were pleased.

Plectranthus – Flowing Over the Planter!

The Knock Out Petite retained its shape overall, did not overgrow the tall blue planter, but the trailing spiller plant next to it got rather large. Sometimes I laugh at myself, when I see how big a plant got over the course of the summer, and I have to always remind myself to restrain my plant enthusiasm and remember that some plants will grow faster and fuller than others. So next time, a more controlled spiller perhaps with this rose plant will be used.

Early in Season – Container Gardens By Cathy Testa

This Petite Knock Out Rose will give a show from the time you plant it till end of the container gardening season in Connecticut, then you may transplant it later if you wish or store the container with the rose shrub in it in your garage or basement over the winter. After my first year of using the new Petite Knock Out rose, I can’t think of any flaws with it – so it is a nice one to add to your full sun locations list. Well, one flaw, make more of these with other bloom colors. Again, it is noted as disease resistant, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get diseases. Overall, I find if you select a healthy plant to start and maintain your container gardens with appropriate watering and care, all should move along well. Container gardening is not like that of a shrub in the ground which may get subjected over the long term to issues, but anyhow, I really was happy to find a smaller rose plant perfect for container gardens and patio pots.

Container Gardens by Cathy Testa of Container Crazy CT

Plants in this tall blue planter are: Petite Knock Out Rose, Delosperma ‘Pumpkin Perfection’ (orange flowers; called Ice Plant), Senecio (succulent plant with blue foliage; called Chopsticks), and Plectranthus (white edges to leaves and a spiller habit). As far as planting requirements, full sun, potting mix for pots (I added a small amount of aged compost), and use at least a 12″-14″ diameter pot for this size plant, but in my case, I used a larger and taller pot. Go with about 16″ deep, but deeper will help those roots grow down, and use larger pots if adding more plant candidates with the rose. And oh, placement: I suggest you put the outdoor planter near a window if you are able to do so, it will allow you to see the roses from the inside too.

For more information about Knock Out Roses, click here.

Cathy Testa
Container Garden Designer
Broad Brook, Connecticut
Zone 6b
Posted: 1/25/2022
See also:
containercathy at gmail.com

Mites have a Mighty Impact on Roses – and It Ain’t Pretty

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I have been seeing more reports and articles regarding a disease called Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) in my gardening trade magazines, and thought it worthy to note on my blog for those unaware of this disease in roses.

RRD is not new, and mostly affects the weedy multiflora roses (Rosa multiflora) which is particularly susceptible to RRD.  But now RRD is being discovered in production on cultivated roses in more states.  Three confirmed cases were reported in Florida in nurseries located in the counties of Gadsden, Alachua and Levy per a recent article in Nursery Management (see link below).

Roses affected with RRD will exhibit particularly odd growth – you may see excessive thorns along the stems, elongated shoots, deformed blooms, and weird red growth (similar to witches’ brooms) from the growing tips of stems or branches.

It was noted all of the infected plants in the Florida cases belonged to the Knock Out series.  This made me think, “Uh-oh” because Knock Outs usually don’t experience lots of problems, and is a type of rose I’ve recommended to the beginning gardeners interested in having a rose bush in their landscape.  Knockouts tend to be reliable, easy, and disease resistant.

RRD is a virus disease transmitted by a tiny mite.  After the rose starts to look distorted in places on the plant initially, the disease will take over the entire plant and lead to the plant’s death.  The mites can be carried from an infected plant to a healthy plant by wind (and RRD is also transmitted via grafted roses).  While the mite is tiny and a critter (not a true insect) invisible to the naked eye, it has a mighty impact as it transmits the disease from plant to plant.  No one wants to see their treasured roses deformed and if you haven’t heard of RRD yet, you are probably wondering as you read this what you can do if it appears on your roses.

Some references indicate you should cut out the bad canes infected by RRD and toss (destroy) them.  If the problem is prolific in the plant, you should dig it up with the roots, bag it and toss it all together.  This is not a soil born disease, so it should not affect the spot where the rose was growing, but if you happen to have the weedy and noxious multiflora roses near your property, you may want to move those out since RRD can spread from the multiflora roses to your cultivated roses.

I’m not an expert on RRD or roses for that matter, but I felt it worthwhile to give a brief note about RRD on this blog due to the confirmed cases in Florida.  While this disease has been around for a long time (since 1941) and is occurring in several other states, it appears to be creeping into new areas.  Hopefully it won’t show up in your gardens.  Most infections occur in the spring, so this is something to look out for or at least be aware of if you aren’t already with spring fast approaching.

For detailed information, it is best to visit the experts (see links below), or ask your local nursery experts about it when you visit the nursery this season.  You can find a few experts discussing the RRD problem via video links at the AmericanHort website along with detailed information sheets about the rose rosette disease.  Photos of the symptoms caused by RRD can be found via the links listed below as well.

For details, visit:  www.roserosettedisease.com

Useful Links:


Missouri Botanical Garden

Michigan State University

Virginia Cooperative Extension

Alabama Cooperative Extension

NRCS (Control of Multiflora Rose)

Utah Pests fact sheet (Eriophyid Mites)

Nursery Management (Florida cases)

Written by Cathy Testa