What Are Home Run Roses: Tips On Gardening With Home Run Roses
Everyone has heard of the Knock Out line of roses, as they are a dandy rosebush. But there is another line of rosebushes that should be at least equal in popularity – Home Run roses, which come from the original Knock Out. Read on to learn more.
What are Home Run Roses?
Home Run is a nice bright red-blooming rosebush that was bred by none other than Mr. Tom Carruth, whose name is associated with many AARS (All-American Rose Selection) Award Winning roses. When Mr. Carruth saw Knock Out on the West Coast, he felt there was room for improvement. He felt the red color of the blooms could be brighter and that the disease resistance of Knockouts could be improved upon (like with powdery mildew and black spot issues). So the research team at Weeks Roses took Knock Out and brought in the Baby Love rosebush bloodline.
The other thing that bringing the Baby Love bloodline in did was to create a rosebush that is constantly in flower. Home Run may not be totally packed with blooms but is constantly blooming and has a nice mild apple fragrance. The foliage of Home Run is richly colored and provides a wonderful backdrop for the blooms too.
Home Run Roses Information
When it came time to see which young roses would actually make it out into the test fields, Tom Carruth stated that only three sisters were up to the task. One of them was pink, one light pink and one red. He played a hunch on the red one and it played out wonderfully. The Weeks Home Run line of roses turned out to be hardy, self-cleaning shrub roses having brighter red blooms and greater disease resistance.
In addition to better resistance to powdery mildew and black spot fungus, it has shown a higher level of resistance to downy mildew. Home Run is said to be a “Grand Slam” both in the landscape and in containers, and is heat tolerant as well as cold hardy. Most roses take 10 years to actually make into the market and, in turn, our gardens. Home Run only took 7 years!
Other Self-Cleaning Shrub Roses in the Series
Another in the line is Pink Home Run, coming from a mutated sport of the original red Home Run rose. This variety has a wonderful “sassy pink” color and carries the same disease resistance and other attributes of the original Home Run. Along with eye-catching, head turning pink color, it also has a nice apple fragrance and performs very well in the landscape or containers around the porch, patio or deck.
New to the market and not officially introduced until 2016 is the stunningly beautiful Watercolors Home Run shrub rose. The mesmerizing blooms are a clear pink with bold yellow centers. When fully in bloom, heads of passersby will turn, traffic will nearly stop and comments of adoration and appreciation are sure to follow. It boasts the same disease resistance and low maintenance of this line, as well as the same fine performance in containers and landscapes. The overall bush shape is said to be tidy so that not much, if any, shaping is needed.
Home Run Rose Care
As these are still quite new to the industry, little is known in regards to gardening with Home Run roses. That being said, Home Run rose care should be relatively similar to that of any rose variety.
I recommend feeding the Home Run line of rosebushes with a good organic based rose food just with other roses. Keep them watered and pick planting locations with good sun exposure for optimum performance.
When I asked Mr. Carruth about deadheading (removing old blooms) Home Run roses, he stated that he recommends not deadheading them at all. The reason is that the new blooms come in so high upon the same bloom heads that this will actually remove new blooms that are forming. If one must remove the old petals, it is best to pinch them off directly at the base of the old bloom instead.
The Home Run line of rosebushes should be pruned in early spring to remove any dead, broken or damaged canes. This is also a good time to do some “shape pruning” as needed. A general thinning is good for any rosebush to allow good airflow keep diseases away. Even though these outstanding rosebushes are low maintenance that does not mean no maintenance. Just as with other rosebush, good care is important. Just heed the recommendation of Mr. Carruth to resist any urges to deadhead and you will be happy you did!
With adequate care, the Home Run Series of rosebushes will delight you with their continual blooms in the rose bed, landscape or container garden!
Hand out the cigars! That handsome ol’ devil ‘Knock Out’ has crossed his pollen and become a proud papa. The resulting bundle of joy is a cheerful, festive little shrub rose called ‘Home Run.’ So far it’s every bit the perpetual workhorse that Dad is: tough, impervious to disease, and a non-stop bloomer. But there are a few differences. ‘Home Run’ starts out a darker, more dignified crimson red; it’s a lower, more compact bush; and the flowers are single, with only five petals. ‘Home Run’ is also reported to be more resistant to powdery mildew than Knockout, thus better suited for west coast gardens. I wouldn’t know, because down here in Louisiana, both roses are healthy as cast iron and blissfully unaware that they’re living in the Black Spot Capital of the Universe. I barely had my new ‘Home Run’ in the ground for a month before he was up and running, tearing around the bases with dozens of buds. They quickly opened to a deep alluring crimson-cherry red, and with the five petals and bright yellow stamens, the flowers initially looked a lot like ‘Altissimo.’ But within a day or two, the blossoms softened to the exact same dark cerise pink as ‘Knockout.’ In fact, the two colors look quite appealing together and don’t clash with each other a bit. Plus: this is another self-cleaning rose! All in all, ‘Home Run’ is an excellent new addition to the ‘Knock Out’ family, and to my garden. Dr. Leda
A Better Rose Than Knock Out
‘Coral Drift’ rose. Photo: starrosesandplants.com
No doubt about it, ‘Knock Out’ rose has been the most successful plant introduction since marijuana. Millions upon millions have been sold to people looking for constant color with zero maintenance to the point where it’s hard to find anyone growing a rose that isn’t ‘Knock Out.’ But perhaps for the average homeowner, there might be something better.
See, one of the misconceptions about ‘Knock Out’ is that planting it is the only demand it ever makes of you. Not so. Look closely and you’ll notice something astonishing. It grows bigger every year! An unpruned plant eventually reaches 6 feet tall and wide. And since it’s one of the most viciously thorny of all roses, you can imagine how many blood transfusions you’ll need after you prune it and your frantic but not overly bright neighbors find you unconscious. I can hear them now: “What’s the number for 9-1-1?”
Image zoom em’Red Drift’ rose. Photo: starrosesandplants.com/em
Thus, the Conard-Pyle Company, those friendly folks from Pennsylvania who introduced ‘Knock Out’ rose to America, saw an opportunity. They brought out a new line of roses called Drift. Just like ‘Knock Out,’ they bloom nonstop and don’t need spraying for disease. But these roses grow only 18 inches tall and about 3 feet wide with an arching, graceful shape.
Image zoom em’Sweet Drift’ rose. Photo: starrosesandplants.com/em
Conard-Pyle calls them “ground cover roses” because you can plant them in a sweep at the front of a bed for a blanket of color. But you can also let them drift from a container or drift over a low wall or drift over a bank — if you get my drift.
The way Grumpy sees it, Drift roses offer several advantages over ‘Knock Out.’ To wit:
1. They’re not ‘Knock Out.’ The world needs something different.
2. They don’t grow as big and have more graceful forms.
3. Their flowers have a more traditional rose shape.
4. Quite a few of the Drifts, such as ‘Coral Drift’ and ‘Sweet Drift,’ are fragrant.
Image zoom em’Peach Drift’ rose. Photo: starrosesandplants.com/em
How to Grow There’s not much to master here. Just plant Drift roses in a sunny spot with well-drained soil. They grow well throughout the South and also parts north — USDA Zones 4-11. Look for ‘Drift’ roses at garden centers now and in the fall.
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Roses have regained popularity since the release of the shrub roses. Before the new varieties, rose gardeners had to devote huge blocks of time to roses and the disease issues associated with them and it was intimidating to us novice.
Prior to shrub roses most of us equated roses with the traditional hybrid tea style rose with large flowers and long growing canes.
Shrub roses, also known as landscape roses, are different and tend to grow more in a shrub fashion with flowers that grow in clusters rather than on single stems. Shrub roses do not have as many disease problems, such as powdery mildew and black spot, as the more traditional type of roses. This leads to less spraying and therefore lower maintenance with higher quality foliage.
There are a number of shrub roses on the market that perform well in our hot humid climate. A very recognizable name would be the Knockout varieties, but you may also be familiar with Home Run, Carefree and Lady Elise May.
Another good choice of shrub rose is Belinda’s Dream. It was selected as a Louisiana Super Plant in 2011 by university and green industry professionals and is worth taking a look at. Belinda’s Dream has medium pink flowers that are fully double with a much higher petal count than most shrub roses. This variety could be used for cut flowers. Another noted feature is that the blooms are larger and much more fragrant than most other shrub roses.
The landscape roses will go through a number of blooming cycles throughout the year. You will have a number of flushes and I have personally counted up to a hundred blooms on one mature plant at one time, impressive. You can increase the blooming frequency by cutting off the dried blooms once they are finished. This practice is known as deadheading. Use a pair of sharp pruning shears to snipe off the blooms after the bloom starts to fade.
There are different sizes of plants in the shrub roses, but my experience is that they all will get taller and wider than advertised in our climate. When Knockout roses first arrived they were supposed to get 4-5 feet tall by 4-5 feet wide. Realistically they will surpass 8 feet if they are not pruned. The older the plant and more established it is the faster they seem to grow.
Many of us are finding that our landscape roses are growing a bit out of their intended boundaries. Late August to early September is one of your two opportunities to trim back your shrub roses. The idea at this time of the year is to make some minimal cuts if needed to shape up the shrub roses and get them ready for the fall blooming cycle. You would not want to take more than one-third of the growth now. After pruning come back with a light fertilizer application. You do not want to push too hard with nitrogen as winter is coming and lots of lush growth could result in winter injury.
If you need to make significant size reductions to your shrub roses wait until winter. In late January to early February you can take off up to two-thirds of the plant material to get overgrown plants back in shape. I would not prune the roses lower than 2 feet in height.
For more information on these or related topics contact Kenny at 225-686-3020 or visit our website at www.lsuagcenter.com/livingston.