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Knock Out Rose Trees | You Need One...or Three!

February 8, 2022 Jill Raver
Filed in: yellow knockout rose tree

Most of us remember our parents and grandparents babying old fashioned rose plants.  Pruning, spraying, and picking off caterpillars and trying bleach solutions and other home remedies to treat fungal issues that returned every year.  I clearly recall that death to Japanese beetles and horned worm caterpillars coffee can filled with gasoline or rubbing alcohol my mom carried around in her garden and the work my mom put in for just a few roses on a tall, thorny, ugly stem.  To be fair those roses were stunning and heavenly scented.   

Knock Out Roses are the result of 15 years of selective breeding and the tireless hours and intense love of roses of William Radler, the dad of the Knock Out Rose.  Shout out, Will.  We thank you from the bottom of our slacker, bloom loving hearts!

Knock Out Roses rapidly became the favorite rose of gardeners worldwide since their introduction in 2000.  More recently the Knock Out Rose Tree or Knock Out Rose Standard is a prized addition to the Knock Out world.  For a formal, upscale, or exciting and unique look in your landscape this rose tree is a TKO.  Consequently, the Knock Out Rose tree is a perfect gift.  Red for your love, yellow for a friend, and pink for your mom!  Pro Tip: Moms love red and yellow too!

Knock Out Rose Colors

Knock Out Rose Trees come in three colors and varieties. Red, Pink, and Yellow.

Red knockout roseThe most popular color is the Double Red.  The lush, double petal blooms are a deep red with hints of pink . Give the gift of life and love with the Red Double Knock Out Rose tree.

Pink knockout roseThe Double Pink is a medium pink, often described as bubblegum, and it also has the double petal flowers.  The Pink Double Knock Out tree adds a feminine touch to your home.

yellow knock out roseThe Sunny Knock Out is a golden buttery yellow flower that fades to light yellow and cream as it ages.  The Sunny Knock Out Rose Tree brightens your landscape with cheerful color.

Buy one or buy them all.  These dwarf flowering trees are small and don’t take up much space so you'll have room for all three!

Knock Out Rose Care

When to Plant

In cooler zones, like 5 or 6 planting in spring or summer is best to give them plenty of time to establish before winter.  Otherwise plant your Knock Out Rose tree in spring or fall for best results.


Knock Out Roses will bloom profusely from spring until frost as long as they get at least 6 hours of direct sun.  Knock Out Roses can thrive in less light, but will not flower as well.


Knock Out Roses adapt to most well-draining soil.  Extremely sandy and clay soils should be amended with compost for best results.  Till clay soil down to at least 12 inches to improve the soil and drainage.  A neutral to slightly acidic soil is ideal for these roses.


Water in well when planting.  Then, water deeply about twice per week for the first few weeks.  For the next couple months water deeply about once per week.  Once established, Knock Out roses are drought tolerant.   Water at the base of your plant for best results.


Fertilize with our balanced, slow release fertilizer twice per year in early spring and again in late summer for the best blooms.  Our fertilizer will not burn the roots of your plant like harsh chemical fertilizers and is therefore safe to use at the time of planting.


While Knock Out rose trees do not require pruning, you will have the best shape if you trim them up from time to time.  If it is just a minor snip or two do it anytime.  Heavy pruning is best done in early spring and can invigorate your plant and even encourage better blooming.  You do not need to deadhead these dwarf flowering trees because new buds push off the old flowers.  This is why Knock Outs are considered self-cleaning.


Knock Out Rose trees are very resistant to most of the common diseases that burden other roses including black spot and powdery mildew.  Remember, no plants are completely resistant. When under stress these plants can still be affected to even the diseases they are highly resistant to.  Keeping your rose tree happy will keep it healthy too.


These rose trees are more resistant to pests than other roses, but caterpillar, slugs, and beetles can defoliate this plant, and nutrient sucking pests like aphids, mites, thrips, and scale can cause problems.  Neem oil and horticultural soaps will eliminate minor issues while heavy infestations can be treated with pesticides.  Try to identify the pest you have in order to use the ideal treatment and get the best results. Local extension agents can help identify these types of problems and even offer the best solutions for your area. Read about how to protect plants from insects and disease.


Sorry, guys, deer will nibble on the flowers and sometimes even the leaves of your Knockout Rose tree so protect it with repellent or deer resistant plants in deer heavy areas.

Salt and Pollution

Good news!  Knock Out Roses are salt and pollution tolerant.  Consequently these tree roses thrive in cities and coastal areas.


Knock Out Rose standards only reach about 5 feet tall and about 3-4 feet wide.  Plant your rose trees at least 4 feet apart to give them plenty of room to show off their individual beauty.


Because these trees are rose canes grafted to a Knock Out shrub you cannot prune them back to 12 inches like you do with regular Knock Outs.  I have heard many suggestions for over-wintering rose trees.  The best option is to heavily mulch the roots to protect them.  The trunk can be protected by using something like foam pipe insulation (basically small pool noodles) or wrapping them in burlap. Try to cover as much of the trunk and graft as possible. Spraying dormant oil will prevent insects from over-wintering with your protected plant.  This is probably only necessary in zone 5, but it certainly won’t hurt in zone in a cold zone 6.  Containers in zone 5 and 6 should definitely be protected in winter.


When planting your Knock Out Rose tree in containers always keep in mind your plant will not have the protection it does in the ground.  So, don’t expect a Knock Out Rose tree to survive in a container in a zone 5 without any protection in winter. Even in a zone 6 it is a good idea to offer some winter protection when you have your rose tree in containers.  Moving your rose tree into a garage or shed is a good option.

Offer the same conditions as recommended for ground planting, but use a good potting medium.  This offers the proper aeration, water holding capacity, and drainage you need.  Be sure the pot you choose drains well.  It is crucial to fertilize your containerized rose tree more often than a rose tree in the ground.  We recommend using a balanced, slow release fertilizer in early spring, summer, and fall for you Knock Out Rose planter.  Your Knock Out will thrive with good drainage however it will require more water that a Knock Out planted in the ground.  Check the soil moisture with your finger, and water when the soil begins to dry below 1 inch.

Knock Out Rose Trees in the Landscape

The Knock Out rose tree is a perfect focal or specimen tree in a yard, a mixed bed, or garden. Combining your rose tree with Knock Out Rose shrubs and Drift Roses adds loads of color, endless blooms, and a stunning look. Try planting a single or double Knock Out Rose tree on each side of your front door or entryway for a beautiful welcome home. The Knock Out Rose tree is even gorgeous in containers in front of your home, on your patio or deck. Those with small, urban yards can have the classy tree they want in the shrub size they need.

Because of its compact size the possibilities are endless with the Knock Out Rose tree. The dwarf flowering tree increases property value and adds color, beauty, and unique appeal.  Oh and these pretty plants attract butterflies and hummingbirds so you'll have even more beauty and life in your yard or garden!

Now that you know all about Knock Out Rose Trees, browse our online plant nursery and collection of Knock Out Roses for more options.


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