Knock Out Roses With Red Purple Canes and Leaves

red purple canes and leaves on knockout rose

Patty is concerned about the color of her knock out rose canes and leaves.

She writes: I have beautiful Knockout Roses. They are two years old. They are planted twenty feet apart.

I lost one last year and in the same spot this year I lost the second. Now this summer the other group is showing the same signs.

Dense formation of prickles on the canes and stems. Canes and leaves are deep red and purple in color.

Is there any way to save the rest? The tea roses in the same bed are not affected. Thanks so much!

My reply:

Hi Patty
the dense formation of prickles along the canes and stems is nothing to worry about, as that is typical of a knocout rose bush.

Also the description of the canes and leaves being a deep red and purple color sounds like it is just putting on new growth.

As you can see from the picture at the top left of this article, the purpley-red new growth (where I have white arrows pointing) is typical of the color of the new growth of knockout roses. Actually it is a good sign that the plant is growing.

I don’t know what could have caused the death of your other knock out rose last year, but I would inspect your knockouts on a regular basis to be on the lookout for any sign of pest or disease problems that may have contibuted to that other rose’s death.

Knockout roses are hardy roses and aren’t troubled by the usual rose disease problems, but to be on the safe side and control any future problems with your other knockouts, just be vigilant with checking them over when you’re watering them. That way you can be on top of any problems before they get a hold of your rose plants.



2 Comments so far

  1. Lily on June 19th, 2012


    I’m planning to plant double knock out roses around the foundation of my home. How far away from the foundation should I plant them?

    Also, the stems of the roses are drooping/leaning. For example, it appears as if the blooms are too heavy for the thin stems. Any ideas or advice?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. admin on June 19th, 2012

    Hi Lily
    You want to plant well away from any concrete and also allow enough space for the double knock out roses to grow. They usually grow 3 foot (1 metre) in width so allow that much width for the bed.

    As far as the drooping stems because they’re are too thin to hold up the blooms; when deadheading the spent flowers maybe make the cut a bit further down the stem, where the stem is a bit thicker and sturdier. Going down the stem 3-5 inches from the stem tip should find the stems being a bit thicker than the first couple of inches down from the tip of the stem.

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