Knockout rose care is easy! how to plant, water, fertilize, and prune knock outs

Knockout rose care is simple, no extra time spent in the garden spraying, pruning or deadheading flowers.

  • Knockout roses don't take all that extra care! All you do is enjoy their flowers all summer.

what are knockout roses?

Knockout rose care is so easy, much simpler than traditional rose careFeature a Knockout rose

A rose breeder, William Radler started working on the Knockout rose in the 1970s. He produced the seeds for his Knockout in 1989.

Then after years of work the first Knockout rose was put on the market in 2000. It was a single red Knockout.

Single flowers have one row of petals, much like the wild roses that have one layer of petals.

Since then the popularity of the Knockout rose has grown like a wildfire and with good reason.

Knockout rose care is so easy! And they produce flushes of flowers all summer up until frost.


knockout rose colors

The first Knockout rose was a single red, but now we have more choices.

  • double red
  • single pink
  • double pink
  • pale 'blushing' pink
  • rainbow Knockout which is a single coral with yellow in the center
  • yellow, which is fragrant, but the yellow fades
  • coral
  • peachy pink with yellow in the center
  • single white that is fragrant
  • a 'Petite' red miniature Knockout

where to plant your knockout roses

You may want to feature your Knockout rose as a specimen plant in the landscapeDouble Pink Knockout Rose

Your Knockout roses will grow in average garden soil, as long there is good drainage.

The Knockout rose family needs to have sun. They need a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of sun per day for good growth and flowering. Eight hours of sun is the best.

You may want to plant your rose as a specimen plant to show off in a special place. They bloom from spring to fall with flushes of flowers about every 5 to 6 weeks.

They also look well in a group plantings for a large splash of color, along your driveway, beside your house or where ever you want to feature them.

They are very adaptable and they will grow well in any flower or shrub bed mixed with other plants.


when to plant knockout roses

Single pink knockout roseSingle Pink
  • Plant Knockout roses in the spring or fall.

The moderate weather during the spring or fall will give them a chance to get situated before hot or freezing weather.

  • Do not plant them during the heat of the summer.

They are a hardy rose and they will grow from climate zones 5 thru 10.

Plant them at least 3 feet apart and give them good air circulation around each plant.

One reason Knockout rose care is so easy is because they are disease resistant. Good air circulation helps them keep leaf diseases away.


how to plant knockout roses

Make sure the rose you bought is well watered before you start planting. If it has dried out in the container, water it well about an hour before you plant.

  • Do not take the rose out of the container until the hole is dug.

If the fine feeder roots are exposed to the air for any length of time they will die. It is the fine roots that pick up water and nutrients from the soil, not the big fat roots.

Double red roseDouble Red
  • Dig a hole twice as wide as the container and about 2 feet deep.
  • Dig the sides of the hole straight up and down.

A slanted hole that is narrow at the bottom will encourage the roots to start growing around and around inside the hole, instead of growing out through the sides of the hole.

Mix the soil you took out of the hole with some good organic matter, like compost or a good potting soil that contains organic matter, such as peat or perlite.

Mound some of the soil mixture into the hole. When the rose is placed on the mound, it will be at the same level it was in the container.

  • Take the rose out of the container.

Gently straighten out any roots that may have be going around in the bottom of the container.

Set the Knockout rose on the mound of soil at the same height it was in the container.

  • Fill the hole with the soil mixture halfway up around the rose. Fill the planting hole with water and let it soak in.

Finish filling the soil around the rose. Firm the soil down with your hands.

Use the extra soil to build a small berm around the rose about a foot away from the stem.

  • Water the rose again in the basin you have formed around the rose.

knockout rose care

The beauty of Knockout rose care is they are so easy to take of.

They are very disease resistant, so they don't need to be sprayed for leaf diseases. If they have good air circulation around the plant, they shouldn't be bothered by leaf diseases that plague many of the standard roses.

The one caveat of Knockout rose care is to be careful when you water.


watering knockout roses

After your Knockout rose is well established they are drought tolerant.

Sunny Knockout RoseSunny Knockout Rose

However they grow and flower better with regular garden watering.

How often you water depends on the weather and climate in your area. So there are no hard and fast rules about watering.

A general rule is to give the roses a good, deep watering once a week. More often during very hot weather.

  • It is important to water at the base of the Knockout rose. Don't put water on the leaves, especially late in the day. Do not use sprinklers.

Water on the leaves encourages leaf spot. Leaf spot diseases like wet leaves and the cool of the night to start growing.


fertilizing knockout roses

  • Knockout roses actually don't have to be fertilized.

When it comes to fertilizing Knockout rose care is very easy.

Pretty white rose flowerPretty White

If you want to fertilize, wait until after their first bloom cycle.

Never fertilize a dry plant. The rose should be well-watered.

If it is dry, water the rose. Then wait and fertilize it the next day.

Use a rose fertilizer following the directions on the container.

Apply the fertilizer out by the drip-line, under the end of the branches. Then water in the fertilizer.

Do not apply any fertilizer after Labor Day. The roses are getting ready for the cold weather. Fertilizer would stimulate new growth that could freeze back in the cold weather.


deadheading knockout roses

  • It is not necessary to deadhead the spent flowers on Knockouts. They are self-cleaning for easy Knockout rose care.

if you wish to deadhead knockouts do it the same as traditional roses


when and how to prune knockout roses

Knockout roses are beautiful in the landscape.Knockouts are beautiful in the landscape.

Prune your Knockouts in the spring or fall.

  • The very best time to prune is in the spring, just when the leaf buds are swelling.

Cut off any broken or damaged canes. Also, look for crossing canes that may be rubbing on each other.

Look at the buds when you are pruning. Prune just above a bud that is facing towards the outside of the plant. That helps maintain plenty of air circulation in the center of the plant.

You may want to maintain the rose in its place in the landscape. Normally you would not take off more than one third of its height and width.

Knockout roses naturally are 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. That is a good guide for your knockout rose care.


Knockout rose care is easier than traditional rose care.

  • They have self-cleaning flowers.
  • You really only have to prune broken or damaged canes.
  • They only need fertilizer once a year.
  • They are the most disease resistant roses on the market.
  • All you really have to do is water them.

and enjoy their beautiful flowers all summer!


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