How much are knockout roses?

Planting Container-Grown Own-Root Roses

Thank you for buying your roses at Harlequin’s Gardens nursery! To get off to a good start for growing beautiful, healthy roses, please follow these planting instructions. Please read them through before you begin.

WHEN: Many of our roses have been over-wintered outdoors; these may be planted as soon as your soil can be properly dug and worked. Otherwise, in Colorado’s Front Range region, plant roses after the average “last frost” date (in Boulder,May 15). Roses that have just arrived from greenhouse growers may need to be “hardened off” for 4 to 7 days prior to planting. Keep them outdoors in a place where they’ll be somewhat protected from sun, wind and major temperature changes (you can bring them into a garage or shed temporarily to wait out a late frost or storm). You can plant roses all through the summer, as long as you can keep them watered. And we’ve had great success with fall planting, well into October, with monthly winter watering.

WHERE: Most roses need at least 5 hours of sun per day though the growing season. We do sell a good selection of “shade-tolerant” roses, and they are appropriate for locations that receive morning sun only, or filtered sun most or all of the day, but not full shade. Some roses produce better quality blooms with morning sun only, for 5 or 6 hours. However, we do offer some great selections that thrive in hot, exposed locations. Blooms on some of the dark flowered roses (red or purple) last longer and display better coloring with protection from very hot sun, so give these mid and late afternoon shade. And some pale pink or yellow roses quickly fade to white in our intense sun. Good air circulation is important for roses, so avoid crowding between other shrubs or planting at the inside corner of a wall or fence. If you are planting your rose in the same spot where another rose has been removed, we recommend replacing the soil with new backfill. Also, be aware that some roses can compete with vigorous tree roots, and others can’t.

SPACING: A good rule of thumb for spacing a grouping or row of roses is to give each rose room to grow to its full mature width without crowding. For example, if one of your selections grows to 5′ wide and the adjacent one gets to 3′, add the two figures together (8′) and divide by 2 and you’ll get 4′, the correct minimum spacing for those two roses. Your new rose plants may look small and lonesome when you first plant them, but they grow FAST. If you need room to get around your roses for ease of maintenance, be sure to leave extra space between or around them. For climbing and rambling roses, allow for at least a 6′ spread. Generally, roses will be healthier and less susceptible to disease if they have good air circulation around them.

PLANTING: Before planting, water your rose thoroughly while it’s still in the container and leave it in the pot until your planting hole and backfill mix are prepared. It is important to dig a BIG HOLE, 18—24″ across and 14— 18″ deep, regardless of the size of the pot. Reserve the soil from the top 2/3 of the hole on a tarp or in a wheelbarrow (usually, the bottom 1/3 is very poor subsoil, and should be discarded), and mix in good, mature compost at a rate of 1 part compost to 2 parts soil. At the same time, mix in one cup of Mile Hi Rose Feed and one cup ground or pelleted alfalfa. Some rosarians like to add a variety of other soil amendments, such as kelp meal, chelated iron, bone meal, “Ringer Lawn Restore”, and well-rotted manure. We advise that manure should only go at the very bottom of the hole (to avoid possibly burning the new roots), and that steer and horse manure can be quite salty or contain vermicides, so choose carefully. Composted dairy cow, goat, llama, and sheep manure are preferable. DO NOT add sphagnum peat moss unless you are prepared to ensure that the soil will never, ever be allowed to dry out.

After the initial soil preparation, your rose will not need any further fertilizer in its first growing season.

Before back-filling, bring over the hose and fill the hole with water. Wait for it to drain completely before you begin back-filling. Begin filling the hole with your amended soil, temporarily set the potted rose into the hole to check for proper planting depth, add or remove soil as necessary. Carefully remove the plant from the pot, keeping the root-ball intact. If roots are tightly circling the root-ball, gently pry them away so they’ll grow outward into the new soil. Plant your own-root rose in the middle of the hole, 4″ deeper than it was in the pot (4″ of new soil should cover the bottoms of the stems or canes). This will help protect your rose from both cold and drought, and encourage new roots to grow. See figure 1. If you’re starting with a very short plant, just cover 2″ or 3″.

As you back-fill, tamp the soil with your hands (not your feet!) to prevent excessive settling. When the planting hole is filled, mulch with a 4″ layer of wood chips, shredded leaves or excelsior (aspen shavings).

Water deeply (see WATERING) every day for 3 days, then twice a week for 2 weeks, and then about once a week thereafter. The first winter, be sure to water once each month with at least 3 gallons of water per rose.

MULCHING: Roses perform much better when mulched; mulching can even make the difference between life and death for a rose. Choose an organic mulch such as well-rotted manure (sheep, dairy cow, goat, llama or horse), shredded leaves, wood “chipper chips”, or excelsior (shredded aspen) or bark (bark mulch is controversial, as it may contain some natural toxins that may inhibit beneficial agents in the soil). Sawdust should not be used unless it is well composted. If your mulching material is not well decomposed, it is best to first spread a layer of nitrogen fertilizer to provide the nitrogen necessary for decomposition. One warning about fine-textured mulches like compost : in our hot Colorado sun, even in winter, a fine mulch can dry out and actually repel water, causing a drought effect.

Mulching provides several advantages:

  1. A mulch at least 2″ thick holds moisture and decreases evaporation, and roses perform better with sufficient moisture,
  2. A mulch can prevent alternating freezing and thawing, which can destroy the fine root hairs near the soil surface, and mulch can insulate the ground to keep it a little warmer,
  3. Mulching helps to prevent foliar fungus diseases because it prevents spores splashing from the ground onto the leaves,
  4. Mulch suppresses weeds, thus reducing competition for water and nutrients and promoting better air circulation,
  5. A mulch no more than 4″ thick can help aerate the soil because the layer in contact with the soil is broken down and earthworms, cultivation and feeding incorporate the mulch into the soil, and
  6. Winter mulch can be 4″ to 8″ deep: winter mulching is most important for the first 2 winters after a rose is planted. We like using a 6″ to 8″ layer of compost and sand (1:1) covered with a coarse wood-chip or excelsior mulch.

WATERING: Watering roses involves planning, observation and common sense. There’s an old rule of thumb that “a mature, full-sized rosebush needs about 1″ of water a week”. But there are many factors – rose variety, soil type, drainage, mulch, placement and weather – that determine how much and how often to water your roses in your garden.

In Colorado’s semi-arid climate, we rarely get enough precipitation to grow most rose varieties without supplemental watering, and our low humidity and strong, drying winds increase evaporation from the soil and transpiration from the leaves. So expect your roses to require more frequent watering when the weather is hot and dry, in locations where they’re exposed to lots of sun, heat, and wind, or where they’re growing in sandy or gravelly soils (which retain less water and drain fast). Conversely, you’ll water less frequently during cool, wet spells, in protected or shaded locations, or in clay soils (which retain more water and drain more slowly).

Most roses prefer clay soil, but all soils can (and usually should) be amended with organic matter such as compost, to improve both water retention and drainage. Mulching over the root zone also helps keep the soil moist. If you know that you cannot provide much supplemental water, please ask us for our recommendations of more drought-tolerant varieties.

To determine whether your roses need water, dig down with a trowel to a depth of 6″ at the edge of the root zone of the plant. If the soil is dry, water deeply. If the soil is dry on the surface but wet at lower levels, no need to water yet. If the lower soil is soggy, you are over-watering, which can eventually kill the rose. Newly planted roses still have small root systems, so they’ll need more water more frequently until established. Water should always be applied slowly and deeply, to wet the entire root zone to at least 18″ deep.

There are many methods of watering roses. If you water by hand, you can lay the hose on the ground and let water trickle slowly from the end, or attach a bubbler or water wand.

Various irrigation systems (drip, pop-up, soaker-hose, etc.) with programmable clocks can be designed and set to water roses during the frost-free season. Winter watering will have to be done by hand (see WINTER CARE).

Overhead watering should only be done in the morning, before 10:00 a.m. so that the foliage has plenty of time to dry off before evening. This is because wet leaves promote the growth of fungus diseases such as powdery mildew, black-spot, and rust. However, even if you normally water at or below the soil level, an occasional overhead watering or brisk spray of water from a hose (in early morning) is beneficial, to deter spider mites.


FROST PROTECTION: See item # 6 in the MULCHING section above.

WATER: Many more roses die from dessication in Colorado winters than from cold. We highly recommend winter watering, 3 or more gallons per rose, once a month (unless we’ve had very substantial snowfall), since rose canes and roots are likely to dry out in our strong winter sun and drying winds.

PRUNING: First of all, don’t be afraid of pruning your roses – they are generally quite forgiving.

The roses we sell are nearly all hardy shrub roses, Old Garden roses (antique varieties) or species (wild) roses, and they are grown on their own roots. They are not grafted, and they generally function as nice, full shrubs in the garden. Therefore, the conventional instructions for rose care, especially pruning, will not apply, since they are usually written for grafted, tender Hybrid Tea, Floribunda or Grandiflora varieties. So, do not cut them back to 8″ high!

We recommend using a clean, sharp pair of by-pass secateurs (clippers), wearing thick leather gloves (“gauntlet” gloves are great) and long pants, and bringing a wheelbarrow for collecting the cut canes. Any wounds to yourself, inflicted by rose thorns, should be promptly disinfected with hydrogen peroxide.

Newly planted roses will not require any pruning unless there are damaged canes (which should be cut off). Until your rose reaches its mature size, the only pruning required will be the removal of dead or damaged (broken, scraped or borer-infested), or weak, twiggy canes (stems). This should be done before much growth occurs, between late April and late May. During the growing season, if a stem dies or is damaged, you should prune it before it becomes an open invitation to disease or pests. Make your cut at a 45 degree angle, below the damaged area and ¼” above a live, out-facing growth point (see figure 2). Growth points or nodes occur immediately above where a leaf-stem (petiole) meets the cane. In cases of cane-girdler, cut at least 2″ below the swollen, split area. If there is evidence of cane-borer, cut until you are below the damage, to just above the nearest out-facing growth point. If you have problems with cane-borers, seal your cuts by applying Elmer’s glue to the cut surfaces. If your roses have any fungal disease at the time of pruning, disinfect your clippers between cuts by spraying them with Lysol.

Once your rose has reached its intended dimensions, you can prune to control its size, shape and density. Repeat-blooming (recurrent, remontant) varieties bloom on both old and new canes, and can be pruned in mid to late May, after the last hard frost or immediately after the first flush of blooms is finished. Once-blooming roses flower only on old (the previous year’s) canes, so it’s best to delay pruning of live wood until just after the blooms have finished (pruning before or during flowering removes much of the wood on which the current year’s flowers would have been borne). Remove canes that cross and rub against each other or congest the interior of the bush. Whole canes can be removed at ground level from a mature rose bush in order to admit more light and air circulation, or old canes can be removed in order to give more energy to newer ones. Loppers and hand-saws may be necessary to remove large, old and dead canes. Some rosarians ‘rejuvenate’ their Old Garden roses every 3 or 4 years by cutting them almost to the ground just after their spring bloom, but this is certainly not a necessity.

Roses should not receive significant pruning after the end of August, since pruning stimulates new growth, and late growth may not have a chance to “harden off” properly before hard frosts.

CLIMBING ROSES: The same general instructions apply to climbing roses, but climbers also need to be secured to a support. Once you have enough strong, vertical canes, you may need to remove “unruly” canes that head off in the wrong direction, and encourage vertical growth by removing short, twiggy canes and keeping the strongly vertical ones. You will probably eventually need to thin out some of the old canes to make room for younger ones.

Particular types or varieties of roses may have special pruning requirements; refer to highly regarded rose books by authors such as Peter Beales or Graham Stuart Thomas for more details on your rose varieties.

FERTILIZING: We like Mile Hi Rose Feed, formulated for Colorado soils and almost 100% organic. You can use it according to the directions on the package, or cut back to once or twice per season if you don’t have time or the roses don’t seem to need more. Once-blooming roses generally get by on less feeding than repeat-bloomers. We also use Mile Hi Alfalfa meal twice per season. Roses always appreciate occasional top-dressing with compost or well-rotted manure, too.

DEADHEADING: In its first full growing season, your newly planted rose will want to save as much of its energy as possible for establishing a strong root system. Therefore, we recommend that you remove all flowers as soon as they are “spent” and do not allow any hips (rose fruits) to form. This is called ‘deadheading’ and can be done with clippers or by just snapping off the old blossoms with your fingers.

For advise regarding pests and diseases, please consult your county’s Agricultural Extension Service, or give us a call.

To Water or Not to Water, That is the Question

By: Kristen SmithAugust 21st, 2012

The best time, way and frequency to water during dry spells

Well, it has been quite a hot summer so far. Have there really been six heat waves in southeastern PA? I’ve lost count… but that is what I overheard on the news report the other day. The few summer thunderstorms passing through have helped us out a bit, but things in the garden are still stressed out. Watering is pretty critical when it comes to horticulture. Too much or too little water could kill a plant. Here are the basics that apply to both growing in the ground or in containers:

  1. Water early in the morning
  2. Let the soil dry out slightly before applying more water
  3. Make sure your soil is well drained

It is always best to water early in the morning and to avoid getting foliage wet which is sometimes kind of hard to do especially if you are using a hose or wand attachment. By watering in the morning, there is time for the foliage to dry off before night fall. Wet foliage should be avoided because it could make a plant more susceptible to fungal diseases. The situation could be further complicated by letting the foliage stay wet at night. Fungus loves damp and dark conditions. For plants in the ground, it is best to water deeply for established shrubs. This may mean as much as a gallon or two per plant depending on the size of the plant. For newer plantings you may need to water every day during the first four weeks or so while roots are struggling to establish in their new soil surroundings. Containers should be closely monitored and may require water every day, especially during a heat wave. Below is a short video featuring Steve Hutton that shows good watering technique for a newer planting.

Try not to overwater. Sometimes people get so anxious about watering that they overcompensate by drowning their plant. Remember that roots need oxygen to survive and that by applying too much water you kill the plant. If growing in containers, be sure to check that the pot you are using has adequate drainage –at least one or many holes depending on the size of the container. If you use a saucer under the plant, check the saucer regularly to make sure it is not always filled with water.

The maturity of your plant determines how much water it needs. Generally speaking, a plant that is very mature in a pot many need more water since it has so many roots that are sucking up water all at once. Grey foliage plants like Artemesia, Russian Sage, and Lamb’s Ears do not need a lot of water; nor do succulents. Examples of plants that require a lot of water are Hydrangeas and many types of Ferns. Let the soil dry out slightly before watering again. Don’t be tempted to water immediately if the soil surface looks dry. The soil below the surface surrounding the roots could still be well saturated.

Lastly, make sure your soil is well drained. If growing in containers, use a good airy potting mix. Most bagged brands should have the right mix already blended for you. If growing in ground, make sure your soil has a lot of organic material mixed in. This will welcome good organisms in your soil which will help to keep it aerated. Have fun watering and try to stay cool until fall!


New Plant Coordinator at Star® Roses and Plants

More from this Author

Fall is finally here, a wonderful gardening season for many reasons. Temperatures are dropping, bothersome biting bugs (mosquitoes) are becoming less of a n Summer is officially here and all that spring busy work is finally starting to pay off. The soil of my small vegetable garden that was so carefully dug and In Wilmington, Delaware, there are a plethora of wonderful gardens to visit all within very close driving distances to one another. I never tire of visiting

Knockout roses are some of the most beautiful and versatile flowers in existence. They’re adaptable to various environments and can grow in a variety of colors, making these roses a great addition to any garden. While knockout roses may be low maintenance, they still require proper care in order to grow properly and stay healthy. There are several tips that every gardener should follow when trying to grow knockout roses.

Initial Planting

When planting knockout roses, it’s best to keep them in areas that get plenty of sun. Ideally, knockout roses should get six to eight hours of sun per day with most of the sunlight coming during the morning hours and shade falling over them in the afternoon. The soil should also have a good degree of drainage. An overabundance of sand or clay in the soil can negatively affect drainage, possibly causing rotting.

Be Mindful of the Cold

Knockout roses grow in many different types of climate with little to no issue. They can even thrive in areas that typically experience extremely hot weather. However, they can still be damaged in areas that have severely low temperatures. During winter or in particularly cold climates, knockout roses can use a bit of protection to ensure that they don’t suffer from freezing damage.

It’s a good idea to cover the rose bush with a large box to help prevent freezing and snow buildup. If covering the roses is not an option, regularly clear snow and ice from the flowers to ensure that the stems don’t get damaged from the weight. Ensure that you’re gentle when removing snow from the flowers. If ice is stubbornly attached to them, it’s best to leave it alone. If your roses are in a container instead of planted in the ground, it may be a better alternative to take them indoors during harsh cold snaps.

Feeding Roses

Knockout roses aren’t very picky when it comes to feeding, but it’s still a good idea to give them a healthy dose of high quality food in their first spring feeding. A high grade organic or chemical rose food is a great choice for its first feeding as it provides the flowers with plenty of nutrients to help it thrive in the first few months after being transplanted or planted. After that, foliar feedings will do just fine in providing plenty of nourishment for the flowers to flourish.


Knockout roses should be pruned of any blackening stems as well as withering or possibly diseased areas. Knockout roses are known for being self-cleaning and very disease resistant, meaning that deadheading them isn’t really necessary most of the time. However, it still gives your rose bush a clean and appealing look, and it never hurts to take some extra precautions against disease. Also, pruning off spent blooms makes growing newer ones a bit easier.


Even the newest of gardeners know that one of the most important aspects of keeping a plant healthy and fresh is proper watering. Knockout roses aren’t very greedy for water, but they’ll need regular watering just like any plant. The soil should always be kept moist, but beware of over-watering as it increases the risk of developing diseases and rotting. Giving the roses a quick watering once a week should be sufficient enough to keep them healthy. However, it’s always a good idea to check the soil every other day to ensure it’s not drying out too quickly. The soil should be checked every day during periods of extreme heat and droughts.

If your roses are kept in a container, you may need to water them more regularly since soil tends to dry out more in pots and planters than when it’s in the ground. Ensure that there are holes in the containers to allow proper drainage.

Finally, ensure that you water your roses from the base instead of overhead. While it won’t really damage the flowers to water overhead, the water droplets drying on the petals can wash out the colors and leave spots.


Knockout Roses

August 4, 2018

My Knock out roses that I cut back in February to one foot are now about five foot tall plus are hindering a Street view. Can I take them down a foot now without damage to them?

By all means make sure you have good visibility to the street. Many rose growers do a light haircut in late summer to give their roses a break from the heat and then they bounce back with better blooms in the fall.

March 28, 2018

We moved to this house last July and these knockout roses were in this bed. There are 20 of them and they are so diseased that we are going to take them out and replace them with something else. This bed is in the middle of our circle driveway and gets full sun all day. We are at a loss as to what to plant here. The man we are hiring to take out the roses has suggested replacing them with Encore azaleas but we aren’t sure they could take the full sun. I was thinking maybe a dwarf maiden grass but not sure about that either. Any suggestions would be appreciated. We live in Batesville, Ar.

I would not plant Encore azaleas in full sun in Batesville, Arkansas. In more southern climates without cold winters they can take full sun, but not where you are. An ornamental grass of any kind would take the conditions well, but it might be better to plant something evergreen along with it. Maybe a taller evergreen shrub in the center like a Little Gem magnolia or even a deciduous tulip magnolia for spring color, then the dwarf maiden grass around it with some daylilies or seasonal color around the edge. This will be the first bed people see when driving up, so adding color in various seasons would be nice.

August 5, 2017

I finally dug up the root of a knockout rose which died one stalk at a time in my backyard. The rose bush was in an area with sun about 50% of the day, but near the drip line of a Southern Magnolia tree. If I want to replant the rose near the same location, what measures should I take to avoid losing another rose bush?

Magnolias are large trees with competitive roots. Did you water the other rose bush? Rose bushes can be planted near magnolias, and Knock-out roses can bloom in as little as 4 hours of sunlight, but you may need to counteract the competiveness of the roots by watering and fertilizing a little extra. I don’t see any reason why you can’t replant.

February 25, 2017

Is it too early to put 3 in 1 Bayer on my knockout roses? They have the beginnings of some new growth at this time

I do not think we should start using pesticides just yet on our roses—the three in one products also contain fertilizer, and we sure don’t need to speed things up. A lot of folks have been questioning whether or not they should still prune roses this year, since many have started growing. I still recommend pruning all roses with the exception of climbing roses, which should be pruned AFTER the first flowering. Late season pruning doesn’t hurt the roses, but the later you wait, the later they may start flowering. If you don’t prune, you won’t have as many flowers and your plants may be huge. Wait until mid-March to early April before using pesticides on roses.

December 31, 2016

My knockout roses were still blooming when the hard freezes hit a few weeks ago. The leaves are now burned and brown but still attached to the branches. Should I handpick the leaves off to make them drop? I know they are supposed to be deciduous but it was so warm so late that they didn’t know it was winter until too late. When should I prune them?

Many roses were still blooming when the arctic weather came in. I would not hand pick the leaves off of the plant. It would be a tedious job and totally unnecessary. They may look a bit ugly with the shriveled brown leaves but in time they should fall off. The remaining old foliage could actually help protect the plant from any winter damage. You will need to prune your Knock-out Roses back to within 18 inches of the ground in late February to early March. That should also remove any remaining foliage, if there is any.

July / Aug 2016

Many of my roses from Knock-outs to hybrid teas have been diagnosed with rose rosette disease. I first noticed that some of my roses in the front yard looked kind of odd–there were strange branches shooting out which had a very pink stem with a lot of thorns. The cluster of roses formed in a tight ball at the top. I thought that the Knock-outs were resistant to all diseases. What should I do now, remove all my roses?

To my knowledge, no roses are totally resistant to rose rosette. Some are more susceptible than others, but they can all get it. The disease is a virus, and there are no sprays or cures for viruses. It is usually spread from insect feeding, particularly a mite. We have been seeing more cases of rose rosette in recent years, but that could be attributed to the fact that because of the carefree roses like Knockouts and Drift roses, more roses are planted in our landscapes. It could be a combination of things. Drier years tend to give us a larger mite population and we had an extremely mild winter. Secondly, there are a lot of roses in our landscapes. The success of the Knock-outs as long season, almost bullet-proof plants, has led to a lot of these planted in our landscapes. As with any disease, you have to have a susceptible host, the right environment and the introduction of a pathogen. If you have a lot of host plants, when a disease hits, it can multiply. You are correct in that there is no cure. I am not sure you need to remove all roses from your landscape, just those affected. Proper pruning of roses in late February and spraying to control mites can also help.

June 11, 2016

My aunts knockout roses have diseased looking leaves, can’t find specific online match. Can I send you photos for a diagnosis?

If you have plants which seem to be diseased, take a sample in to your local county extension office. The best days of the week to take in samples are Monday and Tuesday so that the samples can get to the lab quickly without lingering in the mail over a hot weekend. If the local agent can’t identify the problem, they will send it to our disease diagnostic lab in Fayetteville. Once the plant pathologist has determined the problem, you will get an email with a diagnosis and control method. This is currently a free service.

(November 2012)

I rooted a cutting from a knockout rose this year and planted it in a pot on my patio. It has bloomed all summer, can I safely move it now to a flower bed on the west side of my house, and expect it to live through the winter. I live in Little Rock.

Yes, plant it in the ground, mulch it and water if dry and it should do well. Wait to prune it back in late February. Even though we don’t prune Knock out roses as severely as hybrid tea roses, they do need to be pruned by at least 1/3 – ½ every year before growth kicks back in.

(September 2012)

My Knock out rose bushes have only bloomed once so far this season. Can you please advise me what the problem is?

The intense summer we had has impacted many flowering plants. Whether it is roses, crape myrtles and even some annuals, they slowed down or stopped blooming just to stay alive. Now that we have gotten some rain, the temperatures are cooling off, hopefully they will rebound and bloom through fall.

(August 2012)

Our knock-out roses have had the wind knocked out of their beauty by this year’s drought. We have a dozen plants along the fence line that receive full sun from 8am to 6:00pm! They were planted May, 2011 and we babied them through the hot summer last year and won that war. We use a soaker hose rather than above ground watering. Where do I go from here to try and save them from further drought damage? You can see the yellowed/scorched leaves, the bare canes!! Can they be pruned now? Can they be revived at all?

This question and answer are similar to the butterfly question above. Knock out roses should be pruned by at least 1/3 every year in late February. Right now, a light corrective pruning can give them the chance to produce foliage instead of flowers and get a bit more attractive. Once the cooler weather kicks in with some rain, they should begin to bloom again. For now it is a temporary fix, but by next Feb, you can do more severe pruning. Fertilize them lightly now as well and they should begin to bounce back. All the watering we have done this season has also leached out the nutrition of our soil and roses can take one last application of fertilizer now.

(Aug. 2012)

My knockout roses are staying alive, with a little watering, despite the punishing summer. They would probably look better if I deadheaded them aggressively, as well as maybe blooming more later. Or should I leave them in place to produce hips for wild animal/bird food. Should I deadhead my other roses, the climbers and the shrubs and teas? I usually leave them pretty much alone, but they are pretty neglected concerning feeding and pruning.

Many rosarians do a little corrective pruning, both deadheading and thinning a bit of the rose plants in the heat of summer. This lets the plant conserve some of its resources, gives it a fuller foliaged plant and allows for better blooming when the temperature eventually breaks in the fall. Keep in mind that when a plant is blooming, its main resources go to the flowers. Some of our roses can get a little leggy by late summer, and could use a little more fullness of foliage. Don’t get carried away and do extensive pruning, but a little corrective pruning may be just what the doctor ordered. Continue to water and if it isn’t too awfully hot, give them a light dose of fertilizer as well. Knockout roses usually don’t form rose hips, since they are “self-cleaning” which means they don’t set seeds, but try to continually bloom. The only roses I would not prune are the climbers, especially those that only bloom in the spring, as you could interfere with flower set.

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Properly Water Roses

How to Properly Water Roses

Roses love water. Water helps them grow and promotes large, long-lasting flowers with rich color and thick, sturdy petals. Water is the means by which the rose transports nutrients. Did you know that roses assimilate food either through their roots or leaves (foliar feeding)?

  • Water roses early in the day, at ground level, to help prevent diseases like black spot.
  • Avoid routinely wetting the foliage, especially when overcast. This can encourage and spread disease.
  • Once a week, on a sunny day, it is okay to spray your rose bush with water. A spray nozzle attached to the hose will provide enough force to clear the leaves of dust, dirt, spider mites, and other insects.

Soil, temperature, and surrounding plants affect how much water a rose needs. In temperate climates, weekly watering is usually enough. Two inches of water a week (4 to 5 gallons) may be all that is needed. If the soil is sandy or the garden is hot, dry, or windy, more frequent watering may be necessary. Care needs to be taken in areas where the soil holds a lot of moisture, as too much water can promote root rot.

Deep root systems are achieved by deep watering; this will help the rose to survive both droughts and winter freezes. Light watering, in turn, results in shallow roots, making the plant more susceptible to the effects of summer heat and winter freezes.

Invest in a water probe or just stick your finger into the soil to know when to water. If it comes out completely dry, you may need to step up your program. If it comes out muddy, there might be too much water or not enough drainage. Another indicator of too much watering is yellowing leaves that are soft. Yellowing leaves that are dry and crispy can indicate insufficient watering. If the soil is moist, that will indicate that the watering is about right.

Use Mulch to Conserve Water

Conserve up to 50% water consumption by mulching. A 2- to 3-inch layer keeps weeds down and cools the soil, lowering the temperature 10 to 20 degrees. Purchase mulch from your local nursery or use what you have on hand. Newspaper, either shredded or laid down in sheets, anchored with soil, will keep weeds at bay and retain moisture. Aged sawdust (composted for a year to prevent loss of Nitrogen), grass clippings (make sure there is no herbicide residue) compost, hay, and aged (well composted) horse manure (applied in late winter to early spring) are good choices, too.

Plant Care 101: Double Knock Out Roses

Why are Double Knock Out Roses so popular? For starters, they’re extremely cold hardy and heat resistant.

Why are Double Knock Out Roses so popular? For starters, they’re extremely cold hardy and heat resistant.Double Knock Out Rosesare recommended for growing zones 5 through 10, but they can survive frosts and temperatures down to 10 degrees. These tough roses can also handle the heat in Southern Florida, Texas, and California. Best of all? They’re extremelydiseaseand pest resistant. Black spot, rust, mildew, and more pose no threats.

But we can’t forget about the main attraction for Double Knock Out Roses: the blooms. They have a lot of large, thick, bright and beautiful blooms. Their blooming season is one of the longest blooming seasons out of any rose bush. Double Knock Out Roses start to bloom early in the spring and last until the first frost. While otherrosesare going dormant, Double Knock Outs are still bursting with aromatic blooms.

Planting Double Knock Out Roses

The first step for properly maintaining Double Knock Out Rose Bushes is to plant them in the right location. Doubles thrive in areas that receive full to partial sunlight and prefer at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. An area that gives your Double Knock Out shade in the afternoon will be more beneficial than morning shade. Make sure that your roses don’t sit in a low area of your yard that collects a lot of water runoff, or where standing water collects. If you’re roses are potted and kept indoors, place them by a large, sunny window.

Double Knock Out Roses will adapt to a variety of soils as long as the soil is well-drained. Your natural soil will be great for your roses. If you’re concerned that your soil is too sandy, mix it with a bag ofplanting mixthat specifically says that it’s for roses. If your soil seems too heavy with clay, mix it with a fine potting mix or sand.

Even the most inexperienced gardeners know that it’s very important to give any plant the correct amount ofwater. Double Knock Out Roses prefer moist soil that’s not oversaturated. Check on your soil every few days – if it starts to feel dry, then it’s time to give your roses a drink. Soil in containers tends to dry out faster than ground soil, so Double Knock Out Roses planted in containers may require water more frequently.

Most Double Knock Out Roses only need weekly watering, unless there is a period of extreme heat or drought. If your Double Knock Out Roses are kept in a container, make sure that it has drainage holes. Some containers don’t have holes, but holes can quickly and easily added with a drill.

Give water to your roses at the base, not from overhead. If water droplets get on the leaves and dry in the sun, then spots can emerge on the leaves and blooms where the water droplets were sitting. Also, moist blooms and foliage can lead to common rose diseases. It’s best to water Double Knock Out Roses during early morning hours so they can absorb all of the moisture before the heat of the day sets in.


Double Knock Out Roses will always benefit from a nice, nutritious meal. One quick way to provide nutrients for your roses? Spread a 3 to 6 inch layer of mulch around their bases. Mulch will give your roses nutrients and help your soil retain moisture longer.

Fertilizer is also great to give plants extra nutrients. Double Knock Out Roses love well-balanced fertilizers, like formula 10-10-10. Give your roses some fertilizer in the late winter or early spring every year after the final freeze, or once your ground has thawed out. You’ll really notice the difference that fertilizer provides once your first round of bright rose blooms.

Enjoy Your Roses

Even if you plant your Double Knock Out Roses and leave them to maintain themselves, they’ll provide beautiful, fragrant blooms for months. If you choose to follow these basic rose maintenance tips, then you’ll receive even more blooms that are bigger and brighter. No matter your gardening skills, any variety of Double Knock Out Roses will flourish in your backyard.

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