How To Transplant Knockout Rose Plants

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Growing landscape roses require a few key traits – a green thumb, patience, and lots of attention. For this reason, many consider the family of Knock Out rose varieties to be a plant lover’s dream come true.

These plants are hardier, more resistant to common rose diseases, and produce wonderful blooms. However, there are times when your prized Knockout has outgrown its spot or needs moving for other reasons.

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The good news is they’re much more receptive to transplanting than regular roses if some care is taken in the process.

How To Transplant Knockout Rose Plants

There are a few simple rules to transplanting Knockout roses successfully.

Knowing what to do and how to tell if something went wrong will keep your rose bushes happy during and after the process.

When Should You Transplant?

Timing can make a huge difference with transplanting the disease resistant Knock Out rose.

  • Aim for late winter to early spring when the plant is still dormant.
  • In its sleepy state, it will protest less, and there’s no new growth to damage.
  • If possible, try to make the transplant right after the final frost.

Choosing a Container

In the event you’re growing your Knockout Rosebush in a container, you’ll want to select a new pot that’s two full pot sizes larger, so the rose has room to grow.

Remember to ensure the new pot has proper drainage to avoid the risk of root rot.

Choosing a Location

Before beginning the actual process, check to ensure the new location for these landscape roses gets plenty of sun.

4 to 6 hours of full sunlight or partial shade is generally best. If possible look for a spot where there’s some dappled light during the hottest part of the day if you live in a particularly warm region.

Outdoor locations must also have good soil drainage and should have the appropriate soil for your roses.

Related: Growing Knockout Roses in Zone 8

Preparing the Plant

  • Before uprooting your Knockout, take a moment to prune away any damaged, diseased, or dead canes.

    Details on Pruning Knockout Rose bushes
  • You may also wish to trim away any branches with dead growth or are rubbing against each other.
  • A major pruning not only will make the plant look better, but it will also recover faster without the literal dead weight.
  • Next, gently dig around the bush, being careful to dig a foot or two out, so you don’t cut into the root ball and lift it along with the old soil around it.
  • Avoid knocking away the old soil, as it will help the bush adapt faster to its new surroundings.
  • A piece of burlap makes for a good cradle to carry the bush in.
  • Note the size of the root ball and check for signs of root rot or other potential issues.

Preparing the Garden Spot

Depending on how fast your work, this step may be performed after uprooting the bush.

You may also choose to prepare the new location before digging up the rosebush, but you will have to estimate the size of the root ball.

Dig a planting hole equal to the height of the root ball and two feet wider.

Mix in 2” inches of compost with the excavated soil.

Read: How To Dig a $10 Hole for Planting

Plant the Bush

  • Finally, you’re ready to plant the rosebush.
  • Gently lower it into the hole and backfill it with the soil and compost mix.
  • Gently pat the soil and water thoroughly.


As with most plants, your Knock Out roses will suffer from some degree of transplant shock.

Moving the plant when it has new growth will usually result in some wilting or other signs of distress.

Be sure to keep the soil moist but not drenched and ensure the plant is getting enough sunlight.

The shock symptoms will usually diminish after a couple of weeks.

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