fertilizer for roses

(Question)

can you please advice what fertilizer should i feed for rose plants ,and how often . as i am new to rose gardening.Really appreciate if you can email me.I live in toronto

(Answer)

Thank you for your inquiry.

You never mention what variety of rose you are growing. Roses come in many varieties, hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, climbing roses and shrub roses. These varieties can range in height, flower size and amount of scent.

Roses are sun-loving plants; they should be planted where they can get at least 6 hours of sun each day in soil with good drainage and where they receive sufficient air circulation to help leaves dry quickly whenever the get wet.

The secret to growing great roses is building the quality of your soil with compost and well-rotted manure; it not only provides nutrients for the plants, but provides food for all the soil organisms which help plants take up food. That being said, most roses need frequent application of fertilizer to keep them growing vigorously and blooming repeatedly. The simplest way to feed your roses is to apply a granular “rose fertilizer” (such as 6-12-6) available form your local garden center and follow the directions on the package.

Newly planted roses should not be fertilized until after their first bloom. The normal pattern is to fertilize established plants in early spring, then just before the June blooming period, and a third time in July. Later applications of fertilizer are not recommended so plants can harden off  before winter.

Water is another key to productive roses. Roses should be watered deeply once a week so that their entire root zone is wet. If the top 5-10cm of soil is dry then it is time to water. To reduce disease problems, water the soil, not the leaves, by using soaker hoses or drip irrigation.

You may also wish to refer to our gardening guide on Pruning Roses to learn the proper technique for pruning your variety of rose.

Good Luck and continued enjoyment of your roses.