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When Do You Cut Back Knock Out Roses

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I have always loved roses, and when I shifted to a house with a garden, I was thrilled! I cleared a big patch and planted rose bushes. I waited for a couple of months, but nothing much happened!

The few roses that grew were of poor quality. However, I did not give up and kept trying with different varieties and used the best fertilizers, and yet the results were the same.

Finally, I gave up after working for more than a year. It was while visiting a friend that I noticed the profusion of colorful roses in his garden!! When I asked, he told me that these were Knock-out Roses!! They knocked me out and I am sure you want to know too when to cut back knock out roses.

What is Special about Knock out Roses?

Easy Care or Carefree roses are a part of most of the colorful landscapes. These are other names of knock out roses. They are such natural plants to grow and flower abundantly!

These are low-maintenance bushes and can grow on a variety of soils and in a variety of weather. Let us take a look at what makes these roses so unique!

  • First and foremost, it requires very less care and effort
  • No need to deadhead the bushes
  • They don’t need pesticides because they are naturally insect resistant.
  • They are also resistant to diseases like ‘Black Spot’
  • Both these factors make it ideal for an organic garden
  • They can grow in both partial shade and sunlight
  • They can grow in a variety of weather and temperatures
  • The flowering season continues for months at a time

They generally maintain a round and upright shape and are full of flowers. They can grow to a height of about 3 to 4 feet and also a width of about 3 feet. You should know that these can grow into big bushes if left to nature. They can almost resemble a tree at about 5 feet in length and nearly as wide!!

When Do You Cut Back Knock Out Roses?

Knockout roses have become very popular because of the belief that these are ‘no maintenance’ roses. It is correct to a large extent, but some people think there is no need to water, fertilize or prune!!

They feel that you have to stick it in some soil and it will start to bloom and flower!! Unfortunately, this is not correct. These roses do need some care, and that includes pruning.

Pruning knockout roses - When Do You Cut Back Knock Out Roses
via Pixabay

The best time to prune all types of roses is either in late winters or in early spring. This is the time when new growth starts. Fall is not a good time for pruning, as this could lead to the death of the plant.

When it comes to cutting back a knockout rose plant, there are some things you should keep in mind. Knockout roses are very fast-growing, and you have to prune them timely.

  • A proper pruning technique is a must.
  • February is the best month for pruning
  • First, remove the deadheads and any broken branches
  • Open up the inside of the bush by removing dead or unproductive branches
  • Now trim the healthy branches by almost a third of their length
  • Shape the bushes by following the natural formations
  • You can prune once a year and then trim and cut when you feel the need

Proper Pruning

Knockout roses are such hardy plants that any way you prune, they survive and thrive! Many people complain that it grows fast and grows more significant than expected! You will have to decide how big you want the bush to be. This will depend on your garden and other plants.

  • If you want a large bush, then you should only do a light trim. Remove the deadwood and branches, but don’t cut too deep. This will result in thicker branches and lesser flowers.
  • You can prune the thick sticks close to the ground. This will give a chance to new canes to sprout. More flowers come on the latest and young branches.
  • If you want to keep the size down, you will have to prune more severely. You should follow the first two steps and then cut the remaining branches as well. By the time you finish, the plant will look like a bunch of sticks, but don’t worry; it will recover very soon.
  • If your plant is growing too fast, then stop fertilizing. Do it just once when you are pruning, and your plant will not only survive but thrive.
  • Some people prefer to do two pruning every year — first time in January when you should cut back by about half their height. The second time you should cut back at the end of August but not very severely. This time cut them back by only about one-third of the height.

Remember these points

  • You should wear heavy gloves because the plants have thorns.
  • Use a sharp pruner to do the job. You need to make clear cuts and not damage the stems.


After going through the information, we are sure that you have a clear idea of the pruning process. They are easy to care for, which makes them a part of many gardens.

You can make them a part of the landscape or plant them as hedges. In every way, they are a great addition to your garden. If you give the knockout roses a little bit of care, they will add a lot of beauty to your yard.

Pruning the plant at the right time and in the right way will keep it in the best shape and result in better flowering. Do get in touch with us if you need more information or have any suggestions for us.

Marlene Sable

Wednesday 28th of April 2021

Quang. We have very large knockout rose bushes that were not pruned in February. Is it possible to cut them back now in May without damaging them? Thank you for all your information and timely tips.

Hoang Quang

Thursday 6th of May 2021

No, this is because during that time there is intense heat and they can be stressed up.

Kathleen Findlay

Sunday 8th of November 2020

Quang, I appreciate the valuable information regarding the pruning of the Knockout Roses. Does the February pruning also apply to those of us in Northwestern Pennsylvania? I'll reference your website per the links below for additional information pertaining to many other flowers. Again, thank you for sharing your expertise!

Verona Paynter

Sunday 23rd of August 2020

Thanks for the information on the Knockout Roses. It is very useful as I have a few to cut back this week!