Roses perform quite well when they have a continuous supply of nutrients. Knowing when and how to fertilize your roses is important to keep the plants healthy and productive.
In most cases, roses can grow and produce flowers without much attention. But if you’re looking for the biggest blooms, then fertilization is a great idea. After all, roses require more feeding than most flowering plants.
You can apply synthetic fertilizers or go for organic fertilizers. With the right fertilizer balance, roses can get all the nutrients they need and produce excellent blooms.
Are you looking to fertilize your roses but not sure where to start? Don’t worry, it’s pretty simple with the right information.
Keep reading below to learn the nutrient needs of roses and how you can fertilize them.
Nutrient Needs of Roses
Roses, like all other plants, require various primary nutrients to grow and produce healthy flowers. The nutrients they require include:
Nitrogen: Roses need nitrogen for vigorous leaf production. This is crucial as their ability to make flowers is in their leaves. But you need a good balance of nitrogen. Excess nitrogen will cause excess foliage production and fewer leaves. Less nitrogen will also cause stunted growth and yellow leaves with smaller blooms.
Phosphorus: The mineral is essential for the abundant production of flowers. Lack of enough phosphorus can lead to weak flower stems, leaf drops, and buds that won’t open.
Potassium: Also referred to as potash, it helps leaves recover from disease damage and insect stress. Potassium is also important after extreme weather that damages leave. Roses with little potassium feature weak flower stems, yellow leaf margins, and poorly developed buds.
Other essential macronutrients: Roses also require various macronutrients like copper, calcium, sulfur, boron, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc.
Ideally, a good fertilizer should have a great balance of all these nutrients. If you are growing roses in pots, we highly recommend you to check out this article on Living Boosts, 20-20-20 fertilizers will quickly add nutrients to your potted roses with a great balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
How and When to Fertilize Roses?
Now that you know the right fertilizer for your roses, you need to understand when and the right steps to fertilize your roses.
Most roses will require frequent feeding in the growing season. It’s recommended you start with a lot of compost when you start planting. Compost can be added to the hole of the newly planted rose.
You can then add a liquid synthetic fertilizer after a month or so. Next, you can feed older plants during spring when roses are about 6 inches long.
A second fertilizer feeding can be done when the roses produce the first bloom. Repeat the process 2-3 weeks after a repeat blooming until late summer.
But if the weather conditions are dry, consider watering your roses before feeding them. This is a great way to keep roses hydrated and ensure nutrients are absorbed with ease.
Fertilizing your roses should be stopped about 8 weeks before the first frost. You need to avoid stimulating excessive growth in the winter period. Extreme cold temperatures in winter will damage all the new blooms.
Fertilizing Newly Planted Roses
Fertilization starts from the moment you start planting the roses in the holes. Amend the soils with rich organic matter as you plant the seeds or seedlings.
You also need to add a slow-releasing fertilizer following the directions on the package. You can add a handful of bone meals to ensure excellent root production.
Apart from a fertilizer and bone meal, you can also add a few sprinkles of Epsom salt. Epsom salt helps promote cane and foliar development.
Make sure you continue fertilizing your roses for 3 to 4 weeks using a mild fertilizer.
Fertilizing Established Roses
You can fertilize established roses when the first new leaves arrive. The first application is done from early to mid-spring. You’re advised to use an alfalfa meal or a high-nitrogen fertilizer as the first application.
This application will help jumpstart the growth of the first leaves. This is a great stage to add some Epsom salt and encourage new cane development. When shoots are 4 to 5 inches tall, consider adding a slow-release fertilizer.
You need to continue adding fertilizer throughout the growing season for a period of 2 to 4 weeks. However, this hugely depends on the fertilizer used and directions.
When it gets to last summer to late fall, apply a slow-release fertilizer with low nitrogen levels. This will help promote root growth for better blooms after the winter.
Fertilizing Container Roses
Container roses require more frequent fertilization since nutrients leach out fast. The size of the container means more nutrients leach out faster with water. Consider using a slow-release fertilizer in the pot when planting.
In addition to a slow-release fertilizer, consider adding some bone meal to ensure healthy root development.
A liquid rose fertilizer should be applied for 4 to 6 weeks to help the roses bloom throughout the season. This is essential as frequent watering washes the nutrients.