Content Detail

Shrub roses are one of the most reliable and popular roses available.  They are long blooming, come in many colors, low maintenance and feature good resistance to disease. The Knockout® series and the Carefree™ series withstand hot, humid summers and cold winters of the Midwest.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early fall, late summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Pink, Red
  • Shape or form Irregular, Round
  • Growth rate Moderate, Slow

Size & Form: 

Rounded to irregular form. Carefree™ roses reach 4 to 5 feet high and 2 to 4 feet wide, while the Knockout® series reach 3 to 4 feet high and wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Of hybrid origin. 

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

Alternate, compound leaves emerge purplish-red, turn to dark green in summer then turn purplish-burgundy in fall. Leaves are semi-glossy with slightly serrated margins.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Multiple colors are available from red to pink to yellow, white and coral.  Knock Out® roses produce lightly fragrant flushes of blooms every five to six weeks from late spring to the first hard frost. Carefree™ roses are long blooming and fragrant. Flowers can be single or double depending upon cultivar. Self-cleaning, flowers fall off once they fade. 

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Rose hips can be red to orange and usually develop late fall if plants are left unpruned to encourage dormancy.

Plant care:

Best in full sun with at least 6 hours for maximum flowering, shrub roses will tolerate part shade with reduced flowers. They require well drained soil. Grown on their own roots, they should be planted at the same level they are in the pot, or slightly deeper. Drought tolerant once established. Prune slightly in early spring to remove dead canes, shape the plant and promote new growth. Site plants in areas with good air circulation to prevent diseases. Shrub roses do not require winter protection.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Powdery mildew in wet weather. Rose slug sawfly, Japanese beetles, and plume moth are occasionally problems. Resistant to black spot.

Many types of shrub roses have been developed.  The following are a few of the most common.

 Knock Out® series

  • Knock Out® (Rosa ‘Radrazz’):  Continuous blooms of large clusters of semi-double, deep cherry-red flowers. Flowers have a light rose scent. Bright orange-red hip in fall. Glossy leaves are burgundy-tinged, turning deep green. Black spot resistant.
  • Blushing Knock Out ® (Rosa ‘Radyod’): A cluster of light pink, single flowers. Bloom color starts out light pink fading to soft pink..
  • Double Knockout® (Rosa ‘Radko’):  A double-flowering cherry-red flowering sport of original Knock Out.
  • Pink Knock Out® (Rosa ‘Radcon’):  A double-flowering, medium pink in cool weather turning light pink in warm summer. Good resistance to black spot.
  • Rainbow Knock Out® (Rosa ‘Radcor’): A deep, coral pink with yellow centers that do not produce a fragrance.
  • Sunny Knock Out® (Rosa ‘Radsunny’): A more upright, compact habit. Bright yellow flowers fade to pastel cream color. Yellow more intense in cool weather.

Carefree ™ series

  • Carefree Beauty™ (Rosa ‘Beubi’): Open habit, 3 to 4 feet high and wide; semi-double, fragrant pink flowers; thick glossy green leaves with good resistance to black spot and mildew
  • Carefree Celebration™ (Rosa ‘Radral’): Oval to rounded 4 to 5 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide; beautiful coral orange flowers
  • Carefree Sunshine™ (Rosa ‘MEIpitac’): 4 to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide; clear yellow fragrant flowers


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