Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

How to Grow Knock Out Roses

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roses
Knock Out roses are the epitome of low-maintenance.

Forget what you thought you knew about growing roses! Here’s a family of roses that leaves fussy rose gardeners twiddling their thumbs with no work to do. If you like low-maintenance gardening that packs a wallop, the Knock Out® family of roses are a must have for your yard or garden. Here’s what you need to know about growing Knock Out roses.

rose bush
Knock Out roses can tolerate partial shade.

About Knock Out Roses

You’ve probably seen these roses, whether or not you knew it. Since being selected as an AARS (All-America Rose Selections) winner in 2000, the patented Knock Out roses quickly became the largest-selling rose variety in North America. They’re fast becoming a staple of home and municipal landscapes and parks due to their carefree attitude and showy, summer-long blossoms.

I have several Knock Out roses in my garden, and the most frequent comment is, “Wow, these things just don’t stop!” Knock Out roses don’t make the best cut flowers – they’re thin-stemmed and don’t last very long – but they’re lovely and sweetly fragrant in arrangements while they last.

Advantages of Knock Out Roses

  • Shrub Roses: In general shrub roses are the most carefree of all rose types. Most Knock Outs grow about 3-4 feet high by 3-4 feet wide in a naturally compact, upright, round shape; although I’ve seen them sprawling upwards of 5 feet if they’re happy and unpruned.
  • Hardy to Zone 5: In colder climates, Knock Out roses can be protected for the winter or brought indoors in pots.
  • knock out roses
          Original Knock Out rose.

  • Long Blooming: Knock Out roses start blooming in spring and keep it up full tilt until well into fall.
  • Disease Resistant: Knock Out roses are resistant to black spot and other diseases.
  • Shade Tolerant: While roses are usually full-sun plants, Knock Out roses will tolerate some partial shade.
  • Fast Growing: Within a month or two you’ll think these roses have always been there, and they’re quick to respond to pruning.
  • Drought and Heat Tolerant: Once established, Knock Out roses can tolerate all but the most extreme heat and drought.
  • Versatile: Knock Out roses can be used anywhere in the landscape, from roadside plantings to garden borders to containers and specimen plantings.
  • Low Maintenance: Knock Out roses need very little care for season-long enjoyment.

Knock Out Rose Varieties

There are several varieties of Knock Out roses to choose from:

    pink knock out rose
            Pink Knock Out rose.

  • Knock Out: (Rosa ‘Radrazz’) The original variety, with single cherry-red to magenta blossoms.
  • Double Knock Out: (Rosa ‘Radtko’) Also cherry-red, but with double blooms, and is a little more cold tolerant than the original.
  • Pink Knock Out: (Rosa ‘Radcon’) Has single blossoms that is a light pink color.
  • Pink Double Knock Out: (Rosa ‘Radtkopink’) Similar to pink, but with double blossoms.
  • Rainbow Knock Out: (Rosa ‘Radcor’) Has pink single flowers with yellow centers. The plant is a little smaller than other varieties.
  • Blushing Knock Out: (Rosa ‘Radyod’) This single-blossom variety is the palest pink of all.
  • Sunny Knock Out: (Rosa ‘Radsunny’) A bright yellow rose with the most fragrance.

Growing Knock Out Roses

For best results, Knock Out roses need:

  • Light: Knock Out roses do best in full sun or partial shade.
  • Soil: Rich, well-draining soil means less maintenance!
  • Pruning: Knock Out roses really are carefree (they don’t even need deadheading!), but if you want to keep them in top shape, cut them back pretty heavily in early spring – they’ll quickly fill back in with bud-covered branches. In addition to annual pruning, I also do an occasional shape-up as I’m cutting flowers, just to keep the plants symmetrical.
  • Fertilizer: Feed about once a month from spring through late summer with a balanced organic fertilizer.
  • Water: While Knock Out roses are drought tolerant, they’ll do best if watered every week or so.

Further Information



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17 Comments on “How to Grow Knock Out Roses”

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  1. Phyllis Says:
    May 15th, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Just planted a knock out rose tree for the first time. Some bug is eating it alive. Also it have white spots all over the leaves. Using a organic spray on it but it is starting to look like a plucked chicken. It has some new growth at the bottom but as of today it is very ugly. What can I do? I watered every evening when I first planted, do I need to stop watering everyday? I live in the Knoxville, TN area.

  2. Alan Mintz Says:
    March 2nd, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    It amazes me that ease and carefree is more important than beauty when it comes to flowers. People used to grow roses because they were the most beautiful flowers in the world. To me, knockout roses are just one step above sticking plastic flowers in your yard.

  3. Mimi Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I feel that knockout roses are an answer to a person wanting roses for sentimental reasons but does not have the soil to grow the type great grands did. I have tried to grow old fashioned roses as my father. I have been told that due to my location of my yard to try knockouts. So let’s not be a snob about this lovely answer to growing roses. It is also great for a beginner. I was feeling that Mr. Mintz could have been a little kinder in his comment. Good for him and his roses.

  4. ron Says:
    June 3rd, 2012 at 7:37 am

    We are having the same problem Phyllis. Last summer, we planted several knockouts in a fairly shady area, and this spring, they are awful. Few flowers, most leaves are dying – some have holes. The plants keep trying to put out new growth but it seems a losing battle. Then, we bought some more healthy looking plants with the idea to plant in sunny locations, but set them in shade while we were out of town for 2 weeks to protect them from a week of 90 degree, dry weather. When we got back, they looked the same as the other plants described above. Any ideas/suggestions?

  5. Mimi Says:
    June 9th, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I planted 3 last year. They are in good soil, bloom profusely, morning to early afternoon sun. Only problem is that they have sprawled everywhere and are huge! I didn’t know until I read on here that I could prune in the spring. Also just planted 2 more double pink ones. Will have to try and shape them come next spring. Other than that, they are lovely, but like any other rose, must be routinely sprayed for pests.

  6. Larry Says:
    August 16th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I have six red double knock outs, they are 3 years old, this year one is dying, one stem at a time, same watering for all same sun, 5 are great. The one stem at at time I don’t understand. help

  7. Martin Says:
    January 6th, 2013 at 10:30 am

    when is the best time to plant knock out roses?

  8. Ron Says:
    January 7th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    A little late to respond to Larry, but Bayer makes a liquid systemic insecticide/antifungal for roses that rescued our knockouts this summer when they looked like they were about to die – same thing, losing parts of the plants progressively. We have also used the same Bayer product on our ornamental cherry trees that were heavily infested with apparent fungus and they too bounced right back. Only problem is that this is definitely not an organic product. It needs to be handled carefully with concern for environmental contamination. Good luck.

  9. Muna Ali Says:
    June 10th, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I love knockout roses and I have 7 of them in my yard. I have a problem though, when they bloomed this spring it only lasted very short time. My neighbor’s is still blooming and all those that I see in the area are still blooming with tons of flowers. Why are mine not blooming?Please help.

  10. bernice noble Says:
    July 25th, 2013 at 8:03 am

    just plant some knockout roses water every day now for a week and lees is turning yellow am i watering them to much need help.

  11. Liz gasiorowski Says:
    May 23rd, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    My knock-out roses have new growth from the bottom. Should I cut down the old existing stalks?

  12. Sheila Lawless Says:
    June 21st, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I have knock off roses that have always been red.. However this spring they bloomed pink, and now the flowers that are coming out are deformed. Can you give me some idea what’s going on and what I should do to fix the problem.

  13. Lorene Guest Says:
    August 2nd, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    I have 3 knockout roses and they bloom profusely, then it seems insects gets to the bloom and it falls apart within a few hours. Today, the blooms were falling apart and there was sign of pests. What gives? What does one use to keep the pest from ruining the blooms?

    Lorene

  14. Esther Says:
    August 8th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Planted 6 knock out roses in a flower bed in my back yard that has white small rocks covering bed. Roses bloomed when I first got them but not blooming now. I gave them some chicken manure is that a good idea?

  15. Lon Williams Says:
    August 14th, 2014 at 8:17 am

    While my wife and I are struggling to keep our backyard alive and somewhat attractive in August our Knock Out Roses are smiling with beautiful blooms! We have them around the pool area and our deck/pergola flower beds. Combined with the Lady Banks covering a large arbor the comments from friends keep coming! I see many more Knocks Outs in our landscape because the old fashion roses just don’t cut it – for the amount of maintenance needed with not much reward from our old roses especially in Texas summer heat.

  16. G. mitchel Says:
    October 4th, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Container pink knock out rose, can it be planted in the ground in Oct. in Mobile, Al.?

  17. J Fyfe Says:
    October 16th, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    When is the best time to plant Knock Out Roses in Myrtle Beach SC? Thank you…

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