How to Fertilize Roses – Complete Guide

Roses, in general, are demanding in terms of nutrient supply. Roses can survive without fertilization, but it is difficult for them to thrive. In this article, we will explain how to fertilize roses correctly.

Regularly fertilizing roses positively affects their health.

Did you know that a healthy rose not only produces more flowers but will also be better equipped to protect itself from pests and diseases?

It is very important to fertilize roses, but don’t worry this task is very simple. There is a simple schedule for feeding roses.

What Kind of Nutrient Do Roses Need to Grow?

It is important to understand the basic nutrient components that all plants need.

There are three major components which are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). These are the three numbers you see on all fertilizer packages and are also known as the NPK ratio.

For example, the well-known triple 15, has 15 N, 15 P, and 15 K.

How do these nutrients work? To make a practical simplification:

Nitrogen stimulates the development of new shoots and leaves.

Phosphorus stimulates root development and flowering.

Potassium is used by the whole plant (it is like a vitamin).

nutrient for roses

When Fertilize Roses?

The first fertilization is done in early spring when the new shoots are between 4″ and 6″ (10 and 15 cm) long. Which coincides with the first 4 or 5 leaves that can already be seen.

Concerning the climate, there must already be some warm days and the minimum temperatures at night have been above 46°F (8°C).

To fertilize roses what you do is to remove a little bit of soil making a circular trench about 2″ (5 cm) wide and 0.8″ (2 cm) deep, around the plant about 8″ (20 cm from) the stem. Without damaging the roots, this is very important.

Add the fertilizer of the recipe inside the trench, about 0.4″ (1 cm) high, and then cover it with soil.

It is important to give it a good watering so that the fertilizer begins to penetrate to the roots.

Apply this fertilizer once a month.

The last fertilization should be done 2 months before the first frost. Or in the middle of autumn.

when fertilize roses

How to Fertilize Roses

Organic fertilizers should be applied during the winter, with the intention that when spring arrives, they begin to release nutrients. They are slow-release fertilizers.

Chemical fertilizers can be slow-release or fast-release.

If it is not stated on the label, they are fast release, suitable for immediate absorption by the bush.

In this case, we must apply for the first time in spring when we begin to observe that the first buds want to open, and after having carried out the annual pruning. The fertilizer is applied directly to the base of the rose bush.

Liquid fertilizers are usually applied every four to six weeks, dissolved in the irrigation water. Granular fertilizers can be applied more frequently. I usually make two applications, one in spring before they start to bud, just after the first pruning, and the second when they have already made their first bloom, just before summer, to stimulate the following blooms.

Never fertilize roses at the end of the summer, since we are going to stimulate the growth of the plant when in a few weeks we can find some frosts, which will spoil the most tender buds.

how to fertilize roses

Best Fertilizers for Roses

You can create your rose fertilizer with horse manure, humus, fruit and vegetable peelings, etc. It’s very simple and it works, but if you don’t have time to prepare your rose fertilizer here are the best rose fertilizers we have tested at The Garden Style with great success.

The above-mentioned rose fertilizers are highly recommended. We hope that this article on how to fertilize roses will be of great use and that you will have beautiful roses in your garden.

Learn more about How to Grow Roses from Cuttings.

About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.