Hybrid Tea Rose '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
Registered or introduced: 1964
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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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

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

Groveland, Florida

Hampton, Illinois

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Derby, Kansas

Olathe, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Coushatta, Louisiana

Byron Center, Michigan

Decatur, Mississippi

Olive Branch, Mississippi

Wiggins, Mississippi

Williamsburg, Missouri

Las Vegas, Nevada

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

San Antonio, Texas

Wells, Texas

Des Moines, Washington

MOXEE, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Casco, Wisconsin

Ellsworth, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 9, 2017, JenuineArticle from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

This comment is more specifically for those in Phoenix who claim to be able to grow this rose. I bought this plant several months ago and it was in visibly good condition in the nursery pot. I planted it and not only did it stress but the weather darn near killed it. To my enormous surprise, it somehow managed to shed all its fried leaves and grew out with some lovely new ones. However, now that summer is winding down it looks awful again. It was planted in the ground with amended soil and rose food and gets appropriate sun (according to what information I can find about what is appropriate) and ample water for our extreme heat. I can't figure out what to do with it at this point. Should I stress it further and stick it in a pot in full shade (honestly, can they really tolerate ANY Phoenix... read more


On Apr 15, 2015, td1026 from Groveland, FL wrote:

Good thing I grabbed this rose off the clearance rack at Lowe's for a meager $3.00! This rose is a real weakling. I forgot to water it for a couple of days not long after I first bought it and most of the foliage burned up and fell off. My other hybrid teas were much more forgiving of my erratic watering schedule. Flowers were remarkably beautiful with little to no scent, but that was during our brutal Florida summers. I let it die because I felt it was too weak and needed too much care, even for a hybrid tea. Had I let it live til winter I may have been able to detect a scent. If you want a star performer of a white rose that holds its scent even during intense heat than I would recommend Pope John Paul II. Now that is a white rose that deserves a place in any garden!


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".


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.


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 easil... read more


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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 re... read more


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.


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!


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.


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



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.


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

Editor's Note

Plant Patent number 2441 has expired


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.