I hate Knockout Roses

A little over a year ago I wrote about how I don’t care for scentless roses. This still hasn’t changed. But if anything, over the past year, committing myself to the pursuit of permaculture practices and really trying to learn more about plants and their uses, I’ve hardened my position on the non-fragrant roses in general, and the Knockout varieties of roses in particular.

I hate them. They are stupid and gaudy and really just the worst.

There, I’ve said it for all to read and take as they will.

Really, I feel like they are just entirely too overly planted. I know that what is deemed attractive is pretty subjective, but I honestly feel like there are better choices than the cloying magenta of the Knockout varieties. They are just ridiculously cookie-cutter and silly looking. Honestly, not too insult anyone too much, but they strike me as very amateur and lazy roses (which probably accounts for much of their popularity).

So, am I a plant elitist? You can be damn well sure I am. I make no apologies about it. We can all be growing more interesting varieties plants, roses included. Sure, part of that is the challenge of finding a better place to make purchases besides Lowes and Home Depot (I’d be happy to make some suggestions if you’d like), but another part of it is holding ourselves to a higher standard of what attractive is (meaning, not having to look like every other yard or landscaped lot. Remember, I’m a damn dirty plant snob).

So, want to break out of the lame-o Knockout rose mold? Maybe check out some David Austen roses, some of them are quite nice (and there are many many other varieties to boot. People have breed a vast diversity of roses).


Hey, check it out, two blog posts this week. Neato!

~ by Nathaniel on May 8, 2014.

2 Responses to “I hate Knockout Roses”

  1. The impetus behind the breeding of Knock Out roses is worthy. I don’t disagree with your sentiments about the ubiquity, and your exasperation is completely understandable. I respect the importance of breeding programs that introduce tougher roses for beginning gardeners as well as the environment, and Knock Out roses do not have to be an end but an example for hardier roses.

    Thinking about the example Knock Out roses can set for other breeders is what changed my perspective to grudging respect (and you are right they are overused).

  2. I understand your frustration. Knock Out roses are overused. In thinking about the impetus behind their breeding program, I have come to give the idea behind Knock Out roses grudging respect.

    Many roses of the past fifty years have been outside the ability of novice gardeners to grow successfully. In today’s world, we need breeders focusing on producing new cultivars that do not need spraying.

    Perhaps Knock Out roses will be the start of something and we will get, for example, David Austin roses that are a tougher breed when it comes to blackspot, rust, and mildew.

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