Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lo, How a Rose is Growing

Back in March, My Florida Backyard planted its first rose, a pink double Knock Out. We'd been hesitant to plant roses, especially in Florida, because they generally require a great deal of care, and one of our basic rules is to avoid plants that might require excessive pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizer. We were assured, though, that Knockout roses are easy to grow, and it turns out that was certainly true.

Here's the rose when planted in early March:

And here it is now:

By comparing it to the bricks on the wall behind it, you can easily see how much it's grown. By our measurements, it's now about 2.5 feet tall; it was about a foot tall when we planted it. And the growing season is just getting started! Other than some rose fertilizer spikes and the occasional dead-heading, we've done nothing to it, and it looks great. We can certainly add Knock Out roses to our list of Florida-Friendly plants!

The bush to the right of the rose is a Silver Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), a really wonderful Florida native with beautiful silver foliage. Our two buttonwoods are planted on the west side of the house where they get a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This native is salt-tolerant, so you often see it along beaches and in coastline landscaping.

Buttonwood, unfortunately, doesn't like frost. It's generally considered hardy to Zone 9b. Being close to the house, ours have never shown any damage before, but we all know this past winter was very harsh. One of our buttonwoods took very serious damage and is only just now recovering. Several branches had to be cut off to the ground, but new growth is beginning to show and we expect the bush to rebound. The other took damage to the leaves, but the wood itself seemed to be spared. It has now put out new and beautiful foliage and is doing well.

So, like most everything in a Florida summer, our rose and buttonwoods are growing like crazy. We love to watch life thrive in the summertime in My Florida Backyard!


  1. Your rose is beautiful. I have not tried knock-out roses yet. I've seen some real beauties and read about them here in blogland.

    Buttonwood is a wonderful silvery, wooly shrub. I love it. I need to take some cuttings from ours to make more to spread around the property.

    Have a lovely day ~ FlowerLady

  2. Your knockout rose seems very happy in your garden. I am trying a few myself this year. So far, no extra care or chemicals have been needed.