Knockout Roses In Winter

by Susan Jones
(Richmond, VA USA)

QUESTION:Do Knock Out Roses retain any foliage at all in the winter in zones 7 or 8? I am planning to put 4 in a berm next to the street in front of my house, but cannot find out how they will appear during the winter.

Hi Susan,
Knockout roses should look good about 9 months of the year.

What you are forgetting is that roses must be pruned yearly in order to
So when it's pruning time in your area (check with your local nursery that
sells roses), you have to prune them down about one third, or a bit more (
I do a bit more).

And in zones such as yours, you most likely will have to force them to go
Roses need to go dormant to build up energy for next seasons flowers.

To help the roses go dormant, you have to remove all foilage, every single
leaf, on the bush. That's right!

This is actually good for the rose, because you are removing old foilage
that could have some disease residue left from the previous season.

So if you can bear having bare stems for six weeks or so, the Knockout
roses will reward you with a supershow of rose blooms for months on end.

Why don't you underplant the roses with some very early spring bulbs such
as tulips and daffodils, that way your bed will still look nice.

I always underplant my rose bushes with low growing perennials and/or
annuals and bulbs.
Best Regards,

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