There is a ton of information out there on feeding roses. Most of it quite complicated and involves using all kinds of different products on a military like time timetable.
They are fine if you exhibit roses, grow them for the florist industry or just enjoy doing it. But Garden Roses don’t need much feeding, and in fact it’s easy to overfeed them. I realize over-feeding roses sounds like an oxymoron but it’s true. This is one of the reasons we advise against synthetic chemical fertilizers for Garden Roses.
Garden Roses are best fed with organics and natural products.
Here’s why. Chemical fertilizers are like those high energy drinks. The give you a short boost but they don’t last. Organics feed more slowly and steadily and in the long run this gives you healthier roses.
Here is a basic feeding program that will keep your Garden Roses at their best all year long and won’t break the bank.
- It starts with the soil. So make sure your soil is well amended before planting and then keep adding compost and mulch every year. See our page on Mulching in this section.
- In spring when the new growth is about 1-2″ long apply a good organic fertilizer that releases nutrients over time. There are many different kinds out there and we suggest you consult your local Independent Garden Center for some good recommendations for your area.
- In late summer apply a little more organic rose food for the fall bloom.
- If want to supplement a little during the year then use a liquid seaweed based product. Roses love them and it really perks up the foliage.
- That’s it! This simple program coupled with good soil health via adding compost and mulching will keep your roses going all season long.
A final word
Never use those all-in-one feeding, disease and insect protection products that you sprinkle into the soil. They kill all the beneficial fungi in the soil and are therefor a bad idea.
For further reading:
- Please see our article “A Year In The Life Of A Rose“.
- Please see a flyer from the Arlington Rose Foundation on Fertilizer Programs
- Please see a flyer from the Arlington Rose Foundation Rose Nutrition Needs.