The Complete Guide to Rose Trees
Whether you need the perfect starter rose or simply want to wow visitors to your landscape with a plant that has unique shape and bloom yield, a Knock Out rose tree is for you. Hardy in zones 5 through 10, these easy and compact roses have been bred to resist pests and diseases and to tolerate drought conditions.
The versatility of rose trees doesn't end with their easy maintenance. In fact, that's just the beginning! The compact size and tree-like shape of rose trees gives gardeners a nearly endless number of design choices for containers and planting.
The Top Rose Tree Varieties
Knock Out Rose Tree – Already pruned and ready to plant for 9 months of low maintenance and high impact.
Sunny Knock Out Rose Tree – An unusually hardy yellow rose that blooms from early spring to hard frost, even in cooler climates.
Pink Knock Out Rose Tree – The huge pink double blooms are amazingly easy to grow on this no-fuss beauty.
How and Where To Plant Rose Trees
Rose trees, also called rose standards, are considered specimen roses because their unique shape makes them stand out in any landscape. Most grow to about 4 to 7 feet tall, which is about eye level. You can add a tree rose for height behind a hedge or group of lower-growing roses, or to add color in front of a tall tree. The slender trunk rises and leads the eye to a round, pom-pom shaped dome loaded with rose blooms. A tree rose can serve as the perfect focal point when placed in the center of a circular bed of flowers or along the back wall, behind perennial and annual bedding plants.
Rose trees are perfect "welcome to our home" plants at landscape entryways and set at regular intervals along garden paths. A rose tree in a container or the landscape welcomes visitors to your home's entryway as well. They also provide a perfect burst of color in containers on patio edges, or just off the patio, where you can enjoy the sweet scent of roses while relaxing outside. And if you grow your rose tree in a container, you can push the limits on hardiness zone, as long as you bring your container inside before the first hard frost.
Selecting Your Rose Tree
Be sure to look for a rose tree with a strong, established trunk to support its rose canopy. All Knock Out rose trees are easy to care for and bloom from spring through fall in many regions. Your greatest concern in selecting a rose tree will be color and placement. It's best to purchase a rose tree that's 2 to 3 feet tall, which means the grower has already made sure the plant is strong, established and pruned for health and blooming.
Caring for Rose Trees
Your rose tree comes with instructions specific for your standard, but most tree rose care is similar to that of all shrub roses. That includes giving your rose at least partial sun each day and planting it in well- draining soil. Working some organic matter into the soil before planting and loosening the soil will help water drain better. Take care with the roots while planting the rose tree in a hole that is larger than the root ball. Gently firm the soil when filling it with dirt, and water your new rose tree deeply right away.
It's usually a good idea to stake your rose tree near the trunk, just to give it a little extra support. This is especially true in windy climates or areas of the garden. If you're planting several rose trees along a path or the back of a bed, be sure to consider the plants' mature size at the top of the dome to achieve the look you desire.
After planting, water your rose deeply every few days. Once the plant is established, it needs less frequent watering. Although our rose trees are drought tolerant, they still need slow, deep watering at least once a week during hot, dry weather. Those planted in containers might dry out more quickly than rose trees planted in the ground. Adding a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plant cools the roots and helps lessen the need for watering.
Ongoing maintenance of rose trees couldn't be easier for homeowners. The roses need no deadheading for continuous bloom. Instead, rose trees self-clean, which means spent blooms simply fall off, and new ones emerge. Just prune them as needed for shape and bloom in the spring. It's important to keep the tree rose's top shaped and pruned so that the trunk can continue supporting all of its magnificent blooms and the plant doesn't become top heavy. Most rose trees won't need pruning the first year or so, but if they do, pruning them is easier than pruning shrub roses. Just look for any dead branches, and make sure the center of the dome doesn't get too thick. This ensures air circulation and less stress on the slender trunk. Otherwise, follow the shape already started for you when you purchased your rose tree. It's that simple!
Rose trees may need some fertilizer or soil amendment, especially if you grow them in containers. But you don't need to add chemicals to these showy bloomers throughout the growing season. They're bred to bloom without help. Adding some organic matter each spring to containers replenishes soil nutrients to keep your rose tree healthy and blooming. Be sure to check the plant's tag and fertilizer package directions to be sure not to overfertilize your rose tree.
Rose trees also are called Rose Standards. They're made through a careful process of grafting, or growing of the upper part of one plant onto the root system of another plant.
One of the values of grafting and creating standards like our rose trees is the ability to create special roses that are tougher, making the gardener's job easier. Hardy Knock Out rose trees are even resistant to blackspot.
The original rose trees were grafted for nobles in Victorian England, but were taller and more prone to disease than the newer compact plants such as our Knock Out rose trees.