Keeping a garden filled with healthy and beautiful plants is definitely a labor of love. Plants need so much more than the usual water and sunlight. This is especially true for a complex plant like a rose. Roses need the help of fertilizer to blossom correctly and completely.
But finding the best fertilizer for roses can be difficult. Things like soil type, rose type, and fertilizer type all make a difference in your plants’ health. Here’s a little guide to help you figure out which fertilizer to buy and how to use it for maximum benefit.
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Nutrients That Roses Need to Grow
Like most plants, roses need specific types of nutrients in their ‘diet’. These nutrients ensure healthy growth during the dormant and blooming periods of life.
There are three main nutrients that roses need: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). These give the rose an all-around boost of supplements for excellent plant health.
Nitrogen helps with the roots and stem of the roses. This nutrient promotes the healthy growth of these parts and helps maintain a firm base for the rose. A strong stem means a strong plant.
Phosphorus serves an equally important purpose. It takes care of the roots of the roses, ensuring they’re well enough to absorb nutrients from the soil. Good roots are the key to healthy roses.
Finally, potassium helps in almost all areas of the plant. With potassium in the plant’s ‘diet’, disease from harmful bacteria is less likely to occur. Potassium also produces vibrant colors in both the stems and blooms of roses.
Other nutrients roses benefit from are magnesium, sulfur, copper, iron, and manganese. With consistent use, these nutrients extend plant life and keep your roses thriving. Even if you know which nutrients you need, finding the perfect blend can be challenging.
The Best Fertilizers For Your Rose Plants
With the many fertilizers on the market, new gardeners are faced with a lot of choices. Your perfect brand depends on several things. Budget, soil type, and the goals you have for your garden all have a role in your decision.
Rose Fertilizer Reviewed
1. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Rose and Bloom Plant Food
The first fertilizer we have is the Miracle-Gro Shake n’ Feed Rose and Bloom plant food. This fertilizer comes in a four or eight-pound bag, so you can buy the bags according to the square feet you cover.
Not only does this fertilizer work with roses, but also with other flowering plants as well. This saves you money in buying specific fertilizers for different plants.
The Miracle-Gro fertilizer encourages bloom growth in your roses with microbe-feeding components. Ingredients like kelp, bone/ feather meal, and earthworm castings ensure a nutritious blend.
This product helps keep your roses healthy both above and below ground. It maintains the roots underground and also produces vibrant colors in blooms aboveground.
This Miracle-Gro fertilizer provides a continuous release of nutrients into the soil. You only have to apply every three months, after which reapplication is necessary. It saves a lot of time compared to weekly or monthly fertilizers.
On top of that, the application is very simple. You just have to spread the fertilizer over your soil, then take a small rake to incorporate it into the ground. Once that’s done, simply water and repeat after three months.
All in all, the Miracle-Gro fertilizer is a good starting point. It’s affordable and produces fantastic results.
2. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Rose Plant Food
Next is another product by Miracle-Gro. This is the Miracle-Gro water-soluble rose plant food. This product only comes in a one and half pound container, so options are limited here.
This product contains the holy trinity of rose food: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. From an ingredient standpoint, it’s very thorough and well-designed.
This Miracle-Gro product dissolves in water, making it easy to water and nourish your roses in one go. It saves you time from having to fertilize your roses separately.
This product also works to keep your roses healthy. Unlike other products, this is designed specifically for roses. It’s even endorsed by the American Rose Society, so you know it’s a legitimate product.
The Miracle-Gro rose food keeps new plants growing, as well as revives dying plants. It works quickly and you should see results with its use in a few weeks.
Because this fertilizer is used in a liquid form, it’s suitable for young plants. Newly planted roses have trouble processing granule or dry fertilizers. So, this is beneficial for young gardens.
The method for application is simple, with just mixing and watering with a can. You need to reapply this rose food once every week or two. This ensures a consistent amount of nutrients every so often.
This also means that using this product is more labor-intensive than other ones. Weekly applications become tiring, so it definitely has its positive and negative points.
3. Bayer Advanced 701110A All in One Rose and Flower Care Granules
The third item is the Bayer Advanced Rose and Flower Care Granules. This product provides all-around care for roses and flowers. It’s available in a four-pound container.
This is definitely the product you should get if you’re looking for an all-in-one item. It works as a fertilizer, as well as an insect control and disease control agent.
For ingredients, this product has all the necessary components found in rose food. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium all work together to create brilliantly colored blooms.
To control insects, this protects against beetles, leafhoppers, and many more bugs. Disease prevention includes several types, including powdery mildew and black spot.
To apply the Bayer granules, simply sprinkle them around the base of the plant. Water the plant as normal and allow a week’s time to see results.
It’s important to apply the granules as soon as you see your rose sprout leaf buds. This ensures that the plants are protected through the whole growing season.
The Bayer Rose and Flower Granules offer a lot to both you and your plants. Few fertilizers offer a three-in-one compound, so this is a great bang for your buck. Whether you have roses or other plants, this seems like a good option.
4. Scotts Super Bloom Water Soluble Plant Food
Next is the Scotts Super Bloom water-soluble plant food. Unlike other products, this one is made to be used with various blooms. It’s not specific to rose use, so you don’t have to worry about harming other plants.
The Scotts Super Bloom plant food works like other fertilizers do. It has nutrients to help your flowers grow better above and below the ground. This product comes in a two-pound container, so it’s a bit smaller than some of the other products on the list.
This is another fertilizer that’s water-soluble. Applying it to your plants is easy, just mix it into a watering can and water away. The Scotts plant food is more potent than other products, so it’s very important to water twice.
Water it once to get the product on the desired area and another time to incorporate it thoroughly in the soil. If the solution is left on leaves and buds, it might burn them, so use it carefully.
You should be watering your plants with this solution every two weeks. That’s enough time for the product to work its magic in the soil and be ready for more.
Scotts Super Bloom plant food is best used by experienced gardeners. The formula is strong, and too much can hurt your plants. However, if used correctly, it’s an excellent product that goes a long way.
5. Jobe’s Organic Rose & Flower Fertilizer Spikes
Next up is Jobe’s Organic Fertilizer Spikes. This is a new kind of fertilizer. It comes with ten spikes, enough to cover around seven to eight feet of plant matter.
Jobe’s Organic Fertilizer spikes are good for a few reasons. For one, there’s no waste or runoff of fertilizer from your soil. It all stays underground where your plants can enjoy the nutrients.
These are also great because they don’t need any extra work from you. Once you insert them, you can forget about them. Just make sure to consistently water your plants as usual.
These spikes are useful to gardeners who don’t have a lot of time on their hands. You just need to insert the spikes in the soil at the beginning of the growing season. No further application is needed until the following year.
The application process is different from other fertilizers. As these are spikes, you’ll need a hammer to gently push them into the soil. Once they’re buried, make sure to cover them over with additional soil.
All things considered, Jobe’s Organic Fertilizer spikes provide a unique way to fertilize. They leave no waste, are organic, and are also affordable. It’s an effective, unconventional method for plant care.
6. Jobe’s 09423 Organics Flower & Rose Granular Fertilizer
This organic fertilizer from Jobe’s is great for roses as well as flowering shrubs. It’s certified organic by the USDA and comes in an easy-pour bag for mess-free application. The granules are meant to be worked into the soils around the roses to get the best results.
It contains the brand’s proprietary Biozome which uses archaea to break down beneficial material for fast results. Biozome works to improve the conditions of the soil and helps your roses resist insects, disease, and even drought.
This product is safe for the environment and can be used around kids and pets without worry. It’s formulated to improve the long-term quality of your soil and will help your rose garden be more beautiful than ever. For best results, apply at initial planting and once about every six weeks during the growing season.
7. Espoma RT4 Rose-Tone Plant Food
Rose-Tone from Espoma is 100% organic and suitable for all types of roses, whether plants in flowerbeds, bare roots, or containers. It’s also effective for a few other flowering plants, including Clematis and Bougainvilleas.
This fertilizer contains thousands of microbes that improve the nature of the soil, creating long-lasting nutrition for your roses. It’s a complex blend of the 15 essential nutrients your roses need to thrive, including nitrogen, calcium, potash, and phosphate.
For best results, apply once a month during the growing season, typically May through September. The granules make it easy to measure accurately and apply without getting too messy. This is a single four-pound bag of fertilizer but there are two, three, and four-packs available so you can buy in bulk if you need a larger supply.
8. JR Peters Jacks Classic All Purpose Fertilizer
One of the great things about this fertilizer from JR Peters is that it’s great for roses as well as most other plants. It’s often seen as the industry standard for general-purpose fertilizers and, since it comes in a large 1.5-pound bucket, you’ll have enough for your roses and much more.
This formula works by nourishing plants through both the roots and the leaves. It’s appropriate for indoor and outdoor plants and is particularly good at helping indoor plants stay green. Outdoors, you can use it on roses, vegetables, fruits, and more.
While this fertilizer is in granular form, it’s meant to be dissolved in water and applied to plants with a thorough watering, about once a week or so. There are detailed application instructions on the side of the container for both indoor and outdoor plants.
9. Osmocote 274850 Smart-Release Plant Food
This formula from Osmocote is one of the brand’s best. It’s ideal for roses and works with just about all plant varieties in all kinds of conditions, including indoor, outdoor, and potted plants. One application can last up to six months, too, so this eight-pound bag should last awhile.
The granules of fertilizer have a special coating made of semi-permeable resin that allows water to get in and dissolve the nutrients, releasing them into the soil. What’s really impressive about this process is it actually responds to heat, releasing more nutrients during the warmer growing season.
With 11 essential nutrients, this plant food is ideal for roses. Osmocots offers a no-burn pledge when the product is used correctly. Sprinkle one scoop for every square foot and mix it into the top layers of soil. Then, water regularly and reapply every six months.
10. Dr. Earth Total Advantage Rose & Flower Fertilizer
Last but not least, is the Dr. Earth Total Advantage Rose and Flower Fertilizer. This fertilizer comes in the biggest bag with 25 pounds of product.
This product is effective in many cases. It works great when you’re moving plants from one pot to another. This is a time when they need more nutrients to survive, so this is a good way to help them.
Dr. Earth fertilizer also helps newly growing plants, as well as dying plants. You can even feed your plants mid-season with this, as it’s not too strong, but still gives benefits.
A great bonus with this fertilizer is that it’s safe for humans and pets to be around. If you have a lovely pet who just loves to sniff around the flowers, you don’t have to worry about them getting sick.
To add these to your plants’ diet, just sprinkle the mixture on the ground. Use a small rake to mix it in and you’re good to go.
This Dr. Earth product offers a solution to the bad parts of fertilizers. Even if it does get in the water supply, it won’t do any harm, nor does this leave weak plants even weaker. It’s a great product for gardeners who want to help their plants, without harming the earth.
How to Choose the Best Rose Fertilizer?
Choosing the fertilizer that works best for your roses depends on what you want them to do.
If your roses are blooming, but die after a certain amount of growth, use a bloom-boosting fertilizer. This type of fertilizer gives your plants some extra nitrogen to help the blooms along.
If your roses aren’t budding, use a fertilizer that focuses on strengthening the stems. A good stem allows for good water absorption and makes for a strong base for the blooms. This type of fertilizer usually has more potassium in it.
Probably the best kind of rose fertilizer you can get is the one that helps the soil around the roses, as well. Organic fertilizers assist the flowers, but they also give the surrounding soil nutrients.
Good soil means that beneficial organisms are going to come and populate your rose bush. Earthworms and certain bugs are necessary for good soil turnover. So, taking care of their home with an organic fertilizer helps your roses too!
If you’re unsure of which fertilizer to get, speak with a specialist at your local rose nursery. They can show you which fertilizers work best for your roses’ needs.
How to Fertilize Rose Plants?
Before you even begin to fertilize your roses, you need to conduct a pH test on your soil. Roses have a particular taste in soil (around 6.0 – 6.5) and don’t grow well if the level goes above or below. Start by fixing the pH level of your soil before tackling the fertilizer part.
When fertilizing roses, you want to be careful to switch up fertilizers now and then. If you start with a dry mixture, use it for about two to three weeks before switching to a liquid one. Similarly, switch to granules after some weeks have passed.
This reduces unwanted salt in the soil and keeps the soil and roses fresh and light. A good thing to note here is that young roses don’t respond well to granule fertilizer. Start them off with a liquid to get them strong, and then introduce other fertilizer types.
How Often to Fertilize Roses?
When it comes to how often to fertilize your roses, it depends on many things. Generally, fertilizing every four to six weeks during the growing season is optimal. This changes depending on the type of fertilizer you use and your soil type.
If you’re using a slow-release fertilizer, like a spike or granule, you won’t have to fertilize as much, if at all. Liquid fertilizers need reapplication on a weekly basis. Following the instructions provided is the best way to ensure safe and effective use.
Soil type also plays a role here. Loam and clay type soils keep nutrients better, meaning less fertilization from you. On the other hand, sandy soils don’t have that luck. They need more fertilizer over a period of time because it just drains out of them.
It takes a little practice to figure out what your roses’ growth patterns are. Adding too much fertilizer can burn the roses, but too little doesn’t help either. However, once you find a balance, roses very easy to maintain.
When is the Best Time to Fertilize Roses?
Roses are considered difficult to manage because of their fertilization timetable. They are very hungry plants and take a lot of nutrients to grow strong. Yet, they don’t need much effort in terms of physical labor.
As roses grow through winter, you want them to have the nutrients they need to survive the harsh season. Apply fertilizers with little nitrogen content during fall, so their roots get stronger. This ensures that they’ll carry on through winter and appear strong in spring.
After winter, you need to fertilize again during spring. The best time to fertilize your roses is when spring has set in for a few weeks. If day temperatures are 60-70 degrees F. and the nights stay in the upper 40’s, it’s a good time to introduce the fertilizer.
Although we use spring as a time placeholder, it really depends on the weather and your roses’ state. When you notice that you have four to six inches of new growth, add in some fertilizer. This should produce strong, fresh blooms in the warmer days.
Through all this, you’ve probably realized that good fertilizer means good roses. Finding a good rose fertilizer takes time and effort. You need to consider the weather conditions, the soil type, and even the rose type.
The best thing to do is to track down which fertilizer you’re using and exactly how you’re applying it. Taking note of this helps you understand what’s working for your garden and what isn’t.
When you find out the routine your roses love, stick with it! You don’t need pricy products if your roses and soil are thriving with affordable ones. Taking the time to understand your roses pays off when you have a luscious garden of vibrant colors.
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