How To Care for Your Knockout Roses

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Black spot disease, powdery mildew, aphids and other insects are the norm when growing old rose varieties. Standard roses need to usually be babied, sprayed with insecticides and are often a source of gardening misery for those of us that aren’t master gardeners. Though we adore the beloved rose, who has the time and patience to deal with such a fussy plant?

The science of hybridization has brought us the rock star of roses – knockout roses! This rose makes even a newbie gardener look like a maestro in the garden with its superior resistance to disease and ultra hardy nature. This rose varietal has been expressly bred to be tough as nails, drought and heat resistant and boast continual blooms 9 straight months with little assistance from its caretaker.

Pick your shade of sweet yellow with the sunny knockout rose, dazzling pink with the pink double knockout, or a deep red with the double knockout rose. If you’ve got a dull corner that needs a pop of color, then knockout is sure to be able to put on a lively display and brighten things up. These virtually care-free shrubs can be planted in rows to create a stylish and unusual flowering hedge or you can even put them in containers on your deck or patio. If you’re limited for space, you can put a KO on an urban balcony!

Single knockout roses have a beautiful simplicity, and the blossoms look very similar to a dogwood bloom. Double knockout roses offer a more traditional rose appearance with a much fuller look that is equally as pretty. You get all the beauty, with none of the associated troubles that customary roses bring. Divine!

Once Planted, your Knockout Roses Will Respond to Simple Care


Knock Outs are both winter hardy and heat tolerant, so they are able to handle changes in temperatures easily. Before the first winter frost hits, get rid of any damaged stems and branches with a sharp clipper. Give the shrub a deep drink of water and then spread a 3-4 inch layer of organic mulch around the root base of the plant. It’s that easy!


Like ordinary roses, Knockouts require well-drained soil to prevent root-rot. Persistently puddling water is a no-no! KO’s are very heat and drought tolerant once established, so all they need is a good gulp of water at the roots every two weeks to keep them looking fresh.


No pruning is necessary for Knockouts, but you’ll get a lot of bang out of giving it a first-rate clipping to keep it shapely. A good pruning in the fall will promote new growth come spring, and a clipping in mid-summer will encourage your KO to produce even more buds. As if there already wasn’t a lot to love about Knockouts, another benefit is that they are self-cleaning, which means removing dead flowers isn’t necessary since the spent petals simply fall away. It’s a total time saver to not have to continually have to pick off dead blooms in order to force new buds to show up! If you can avoid clipping the bush during its first year while it takes root, it will certainly be happier for it.


Full sun equals big blooms, so make sure you’ve situated your Knockouts in a bright spot where they will thrive and produce the best flower display. At least 6 hours of full sun is needed to keep your KO in tip-top condition, but if you live in extremely hot climate, it’s acceptable to provide Knockouts a little filtered light in the afternoon to prevent burning the leaves.


Knockout Rose shrubs do perfectly fine without any fertilizer, but if you really want to see a Knockout truly sing, then a simple feeding regimen twice per year is all you need. Use a fertilizer that is made especially for roses 6 weeks after it has been planted, and then again in mid-summer when the shrub is blooming like crazy and that’s all you’ll need to keep the concert of blossoms going.

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Categories: garden tips

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