Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Hybrid Tea Rose
Rosa 'John F. Kennedy'

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rosa (RO-zuh) (Info)
Cultivar: John F. Kennedy
Additional cultivar information: (PP2441, aka JFK, President, John. F. Kennedy, J. F. Kennedy)
Hybridized by Boerner; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1964

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3 vendors have this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

Hybrid Tea

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Bloom Color:
White (w)

Bloom Shape:
Tea shaped

Flower Fragrance:
Very Fragrant

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Blooms repeatedly


Patent Information:
Patent expired

Other Details:
Stems are moderately thorny

Pruning Instructions:
Blooms on new wood; prune early to promote new growth

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
By grafting
By budding

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By got2Bgreen
Thumbnail #1 of Rosa  by got2Bgreen

By Kell
Thumbnail #2 of Rosa  by Kell

By chicochi3
Thumbnail #3 of Rosa  by chicochi3

By pammiet1
Thumbnail #4 of Rosa  by pammiet1

By Gindee77
Thumbnail #5 of Rosa  by Gindee77

By chicochi3
Thumbnail #6 of Rosa  by chicochi3

By chicochi3
Thumbnail #7 of Rosa  by chicochi3

There are a total of 28 photos.
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14 positives
6 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kobusk On May 30, 2014, kobusk from Helmond
Netherlands wrote:

I live in the Netherlands and bought this Rose at K'Mart in HoustonTX. For many years this Rose is in my garden and it is really the king between the roses. People that pass by ask me always about that "beautiful rose".

Negative Citro On May 29, 2013, Citro from Eden, MD wrote:

Shovel pruned both of my JFK's as have all of my rosarian friends here in Maryland. A much better choice and a higher rated white HT would be Iceberg.
Don't waste your money on this one.

Positive ralaw On May 29, 2013, ralaw from Knoxville, TN wrote:

I was always afraid of raising roses because I heard so much about the difficulty involved. I am only a moderately successful gardener. A friend suggested knockout roses because they are said to be the easiest to grow and maintain, basically foolproof. When I went to nursery, I was so struck by the photo on the tag of the JFK Rose that I purchased one of them as well. Three seasons later it has produced bloom after bloom after gorgeous bloom. More than 60 over the course of last growing season (from mid May to early September here in Tennessee). It is a beautiful shade of white that doesn't look cheap and fake, extremely fragrant, and enormous fist-sized flowers. I cut it way back every fall, removing any horizontal branches. It has grown to about 5 feet tall when in season. It's easily the show piece of my yard, and I really have no strong knowledge of care for roses.

Positive midgey On May 27, 2013, midgey from Denver, CO wrote:

another true to it's name rose. just magnificent in color, almost blinding it is so white and gets whiter as it fades. large blossoms, i get many many of them, i have it planted in a morning sun area. i've grown this rose in california and colorado, grew much better in california due to the climate, but a close second here in denver. but long stemmed, very thorny, the foliage is very beautiful, nice to keep a little on them as long stem cut vase roses. justified in a vase with them only, just stunning.

Neutral Wolfladyca On Apr 28, 2013, Wolfladyca from Yucaipa, CA wrote:

This is a very difficult rose, it produces large buds but they fail to open and just dry up. Have several other roses in the same area and they do just great. They all get the same amount of water and they are regularly fed a systemic food (Bayer). It does not appear to have any type of blight, leaf eaters, powdery mildew or anything. If anyone else has had this same experience I would love to hear from you.

Positive Jenn323 On Aug 1, 2012, Jenn323 from Satsuma, AL wrote:

I bought a JFK and transfered it from container to ground. It has perhaps done the best of all five of my roses. I have had a problem with beetles though. That's been the worst thing because they not only eat the open blooms but also the little buds that haven't opened, so then I have a stunted/deformed bloom. I had a small problem at first with powdery mildew but have gotten that under control. I live in coastal Alabama, so for anyone thinking of planting a JFK beware of this. It seems more prone to beetles and powdery mildew than other roses. Overall though, I have had great success with this rose; it is huge and full of beautiful, fragrant blooms!

Neutral drlmcknight On Jul 1, 2011, drlmcknight from Fort Wayne, IN wrote:

it is a beautiful and very fragrant rose. my problem with it is it always has beetles on it. it has more blooms than the other 25 bushes i planted this year but every bloom has beetles even though i spray it often.

Positive JAMIESMITH On Mar 22, 2011, JAMIESMITH from Decatur, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

I ended up with this rose accidently. I never intended to buy a white rose (they just aren't my favorites). This plant is more compact and "bushy" than anything else in my rose garden. It blooms constantly from April to November. I moved the bush to a different part of my yard this year (and bought another JFK to go with it) and it is growing like crazy and already has a few buds.

Neutral tgwWhale On Dec 17, 2010, tgwWhale from Casco, WI wrote:

In my unending (and so far unsuccessful) attempts to get a white hybrid tea I can raise in this climate (NE Wisconsin, zone 5), I have tried John F Kennedy more than once. I am able to get it through the winter if it is buried in ground, but only the very bottom inch or so of the plant ever survives, which means it has a long way to go every summer before it is big enough to produce blooms.

Unlike some others, I find this rose never is purely white. The blooms for me seem to be more cream-colored or off-white, and I had one that would get little pink speckles on some of the petals. The stems are very thorny.

I rate this rose as neutral because it can (barely) survive the winter up here on the "frozen tundra" (10 miles east of Green Bay). But It is not a real success for me, and I will keep searching for a white that grows better.

Positive CROI On Nov 6, 2010, CROI from Williamsburg, MO wrote:

We purchased this rose from a home store called Menards in Spring 2010. It gets a lot of sun, but also morning shade. It grew so fast we could hardly believe it. The roses are beautiful and very abundant and all in the first year of planting. It is about 4 feet tall with plenty of new growth. It has been blooming all through the fall, but we haven't had a heavy frost yet. I was amazed that it bloomed in the fall.
We love this plant. I take roses to work to place on my desk and people love them. I have a friend who just lost her mother suddenly. I had a rose in my hand for my desk but when I saw her I gave it to her to take to her office. When someone saw her carrying it she said 'that's a John F. Kennedy rose'. We were very surprised that someone would recognize it.

Positive litisk On Jun 27, 2010, litisk from Gold Canyon, AZ (Zone 8b) wrote:

Beautiful blooms. It took a little while to take off but once it did, it flourished. My blooms don't smell a great deal but they are very nice looking!

Positive TwiceRetired On Sep 21, 2009, TwiceRetired from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

I purchased this plant several years ago and was amazed at the large bright white blooms. I built a large container (4'X4') for it but the second year it had lousy looking blooms and got less impressive after that. This year it didn't bloom at all in the spring, so I transplanted it to the ground and also mixed some rich compost in the soil. Well, I waited to see if the 95 degree heat would do it in, but it survived. And were we astonished when the first bloom started to open on the day of Senator Ted Kennedy's funeral. We thought possibly there was a message there, maybe JFK was happy to be reunited with his brother or something.

Positive monniemon On Jun 10, 2009, monniemon from Lansdale, PA wrote:

I purchased JFK at local store. It was kinda slow to take off but after the first fertilizing it began to bud, and what a beauty it is. Very large double blooms of 5" in size. I had a little bs but nothing that stopped the plant form blooming.

The growing habit of the rose is a little strange to me, it has two or three buds on one stem like a grandiflora, but the blooms are still very large, can't take my eyes off of this one. I did notice that it tends to wilt in 85 degree wheather, to solve this problem i purchased Wilt Pruf, and since using this product JKF has stopped wilting. We will see how JFK survives the winter here in zone 6


Positive Mori1 On May 7, 2009, Mori1 from Olathe, KS wrote:

This rose and Sonia are my absolute favorites. Lots of big, white and strongly fragrant blooms. Loves sun but make sure to mulch really well come winter.

Neutral Joan On Apr 11, 2009, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Editor's Note

Plant Patent number 2441 has expired
Positive elefunt On Sep 8, 2008, elefunt from Lubbock, TX wrote:

I planted a grafted grade #1 J.F.K. this year in April in full sun. For over two months it did NOTHING! I was going to give it another couple of months to atleast see some new growth or I was going to toss it...So glad I didn't. Although it was the last to bloom in my gardent this year,it has shot out of the ground is already over 4 ft. tall. It has consitently produced one beautiful flush of large white flowers after another. It has proved itself to be very reliable and a very good cut flower. It has stayed clean with very little spraying, even when other roses had BS around it. I wouldn't be without it! Can't wait to see what it does next year!

Positive shuggins On Apr 5, 2008, shuggins from Houston, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

I purchased three of these bushes bareroot last year. I put them in pots until last fall when I planted two in the ground. They are really starting to fill out this year and each have buds on them. The blooms are fantastic and I have not had any significant problems with disease or pests.

Only possible problem is that I put them in an area that I wanted bushes that would be three to four feet high. One of the bushes is already reaching the 4 foot height and we are just starting our growing season, so I may have to re-think their location.

Neutral got2Bgreen On Aug 21, 2007, got2Bgreen from Coast range of, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this rose but I am only giving it a neutral rating because in the past 4 years I have grown this type in two different locations only 8 miles from each other. It is a vigorous growing, healthy rose where I live now but my first plant was sickly and prone to powdery mildew. I drive by the first one on a regular basis and it still is not doing well.

Positive Photographer On Apr 9, 2007, Photographer from Moxee, WA (Zone 4a) wrote:

We have only a handful of roses here with plenty of room for more. This one caught my wife's attention and the price was right. It is hardy to Zone 4 which is a bonus in this difficult dry and windy micro climate. We have this rose protected from wind and extreme cold. It struggles here but more probably due to our inexperience with gardening.

Positive smacavoy On Jul 17, 2006, smacavoy from Santa Barbara, CA wrote:

Rangy, casual plant with fragrant, floppy blossoms. Sometimes a red stain on one petal. Does best with dappled shade in intense summer heat. Big feeder.

Neutral Gindee77 On Jun 5, 2005, Gindee77 from Hampton, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

This rose doesn't bloom much and needs lots of winter protection in zone 5.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Dothan, Alabama
Saraland, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Beaumont, California
San Diego, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Barbara, California
West Hills, California
Yorba Linda, California
Yucaipa, California
Denver, Colorado
Washington, District Of Columbia
Hampton, Illinois
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Derby, Kansas
Olathe, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Coushatta, Louisiana
Byron Center, Michigan
Decatur, Mississippi
Olive Branch, Mississippi
Williamsburg, Missouri
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hornell, New York
Concord, North Carolina
Taylorsville, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Blodgett, Oregon
Eugene, Oregon
Mount Angel, Oregon
Lansdale, Pennsylvania
North Augusta, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Houston, Texas
Lubbock, Texas
Rockwall, Texas
Wells, Texas
Des Moines, Washington
Moxee, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Casco, Wisconsin
Ellsworth, Wisconsin

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