Learning How to Care for Knockout Roses in 6 Steps

Knockout Roses are one of the most popular rose bushes. They are a trademarked variety that requires little care in comparison to other rose bushes. Knockout Roses push the old blooms out of the way as new blooms form. Another amazing feature of the Knockout Roses is their resistance to insects and diseases.

If you want a low maintenance rose bush, Knockout Roses are the way to go. Learning how to care for Knockout Roses is relatively easy; they are designed to be durable. In fact, I think you could do nearly anything to these bushes and not kill them.

However, the last thing you want to do is make a misstep and destroy your absolutely beautiful bushes. Some people may be intimidated, but it is simple. Here is what you need to know.

If you want a low maintenance rose bush, Knockout Roses are the way to go. Learning how to care for Knockout Roses is relatively easy; they are designed to be durable. In fact, I think you could do nearly anything to these bushes and not kill them.

Things You Will Need:

caring for knockout roses pruning


1. Prior to Planting

pH level in your soil

Before you plant them, you need to find a location in your yard that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of light per day. Some afternoon shade is great as well. These roses need soil that drain well; the bottom of a sloped area wouldn’t be ideal.

The pH level for your rose bush matters as well. There are tests you can purchase for determining the pH level in your soil. They aren’t expensive, and it can make a huge difference the successfulness of your bushes. Ideally, you want the level to be 6.0 to 7.0.

2. Planting

One important thing to remember is Knockout Roses can grow to 4 to 6ft wide. If you are planting more than one, you should set them out in their containers first. Arrange them so they are the appropriate distance apart.


When it is time to plant, you should dig a hole that is at least 12 inches deep and as wide as the container. Always wear garden gloves when planting rose bushes! Those thorns will dig deep into your hands. Check for any damaged canes or roots and remove them.

It is usually a wise idea to water the hole before planting if the soil is dry. Spread the roots inside the hole once you plant the rose bush. Refill the hole and water very deeply. You want to see a puddle on top around the bottom of the bush.

3. After Planting

wood chips for planing

Once your roses are planted, you should place a deep, 3-inch layer of mulch 6 inches away from the base of the bush. Wood chips are a great option, but pine straw is a viable option. One of the downsides of wood chips is they attract termites, so don’t place them near your foundation of your home.

4. Regular Care

Typically, you only need to water your Knockout Roses two times a week, unless your location is going through an extremely hot and dry spell. When watering, you need to water at least 2 inches deep. They handle extreme heat very well with proper watering.

If you feel like your bush isn’t doing as well, you may need a different watering schedule. Make sure the changes in your schedule are gradual so the bush has time to adjust. Also, try to keep the water off the blossoms; these bushes resist mildew, but this helps the overall health of the plant.

How to Fertilize Roses

via: Wikihow

Your rose bushes need a good, healthy start each spring. In order to achieve this, a good practice is to feed them organic granular rose food. Stores sell a variety of options. After the first feeding, you should use foliar feedings until the end of the season. Providing your rose bushes with fertilizer encourages the continuous blooming. Feeding every 4 to 6 weeks is recommended.

5. Pruning

Pruning is essential to keep the shape and size desired. These bushes will explode and grow quite large. It is a great idea to remove the dieback of the canes. Spring pruning is encouraged; it helps the bushes perform and grow the way they are designed.

It is important to remember that pruning Knockout Roses is not a necessity, but it’s an important step in the care. Proper pruning ensures the bushes look the way you want them.You may be wondering how to prune the bushes. Here are some of tips to help you.

  • The best time to prune is in early spring.
  • Prune the entire bush back by one third of its height. These bushes can easily get 4ft tall or more if not pruned.
  • While deadheading, which is the removal of the old blooms, isn’t necessary with Knockout Roses, it is great to do sometimes. Doing so encourages the growth of new blossoms as well as the entire growth of the bush. If you have a party coming up, dehead the bush about a month beforehand so they are full of beautiful blossoms. It will make an impression.
  • Even though spring is the optional time, you can prune a Knock Out Rose bush anytime of the year. This is because they follow a different cycle than usual rose bushes. During their growth season, they will explode beautiful blooms for a few weeks, go into a resting phase, and then explode again. Pruning may delay the flowering, but in a matter of weeks, you will have blossoms again.
  • Don’t prune in early fall. This is the one rule to remember for pruning. Your beautiful rose bush has to harden off before winter. A late pruning will encourage late growth and may cause damage to the bush. This only applies to the North; Southerners can prune whenever!
  • Make your pruning cuts at a 45 degree angle with a sharp tool. Blunt pruning shears can do damage.

6. Winter Care


If you live beyond Zone 5, Knockout Roses won’t handle the winter. If you live in Zone 5 or 6, the bushes are going to need some winter protection. They will naturally harden as the temperature drops. Once a frost takes place, you should add a deep layer of mulch around to protect the topsoil and keep the soil temperature even.

Some gardeners cover the bushes with a burlap sack. This is to help deter deer from eating the bush. If you live in Zone 5a or lower, you should place 8 to 10 inches of soil around the bottom of the shrub for extra protection. Also, covering with a cone is a great idea.

Learning how to care for Knockout Roses is very easy. They are designed to tolerate heat and are hardy and durable. I hope these steps make taking care of your roses even easier! This variety of roses is perfect for those without time to dedicate to delicate plants.

Watering on a regular basis, feeding once a month, and pruning a few times a year will go a long way to ensure your bushes blossom for years to come. Defend it from the winter and your landscape will be breath taking each season.

Do you have any awesome tips for taking care of Knock Out Roses? Tell us about them in the comments!

If you want a low maintenance rose bush, Knockout Roses are the way to go. Learning how to care for Knockout Roses is relatively easy; they are designed to be durable. In fact, I think you could do nearly anything to these bushes and not kill them.


About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann, I have dedicated most of my life in gardening. This is a subject I enjoy the most. Since then, I committed to developing my website to be the best guidance when it comes to taking care of flowers and plants. I am trying my best to be well-versed with plants found in desert areas, tropics or Mediterranean. I still need to be knowledgeable about so many kinds of botanical life.

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