The Q&A Archives: Knockout Roses

Question: I bought 9 Double Knockout roses and I am looking for information on how to care for them and when is the best time to prune them also what type of fertilizer do they require? They are very low to the ground and their stems are very thin, is this normal?

Answer: Knockout roses are very low maintenance roses. You can prune in the spring down to about fifteen inches from ground level; more if needed to remove winter damaged stems. After a year or two you might also thin out some of the oldest canes to keep the center of the plant open to light and air. Knockout roses do not need deadheading (removal of spent blooms) in order to keep blooming. If you opt to remove the faded blooms, take as little foliage as possible when you do so. A slow release granular fertilizer is fine, follow the label directions. You can also topdress with compost in the spring if you wish. Annual fertilizing and the organic mulch breaking down over time, will help feed the soil. Winter protection would mean a generous mulch layer over the root area in late fall after a few freezes. Knockout roses are grown on their own roots and should come back nicely even if killed back to the ground. Since your plants are young, the stems will be thin. As the plants mature they will thicken up nicely. Enjoy your roses!

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