Growing beautiful roses requires care and lots of nutrients. You can grow your roses best with a food balance that’s high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as some secondary nutrients and minerals. Natural fertilizers provide steady nutrients to the soil long-term, and there are many types to choose from. Chemical fertilizers are fast-acting and need only 1-3 applications for the year. Many rose gardeners prefer to combine the two types of fertilizer for the best results.
Learning to Use Natural Fertilizers
1Use natural fertilizers before planting and before your rose’s first bloom. For new and small rose plants, it’s best to use organic fertilizers to avoid burning their delicate roots. Add nutrients to the soil before planting your rose bush, and after you first plant them, with natural fertilizers. Wait until after they bloom the first time before using any chemical fertilizers.
- In early spring, before roses come out of dormancy and start to bloom, using natural fertilizers is the best way to get roses accustomed to new nutrients in the soil.
- Look for fertilizers labeled organic at a local garden supply store, or use the recipes in the homemade fertilizers section.
2Apply natural fertilizers every 4 weeks during high growth season. To keep a steady amount of nutrients flowing into your roses’ soil, use natural fertilizers every 4 weeks from early spring until 3-4 weeks before they enter dormancy. Work whatever fertilizer you choose into the upper soil levels.
- Spread solid or granular natural fertilizers in a circle around the top of the soil about 6 in (15 cm) from the base of the bush and work it into the top 2 in (5.1 cm) of soil with a small cultivator.
- Liquid natural fertilizers can be poured in a circle about 6 in (15 cm) from the base of the bush.
3Stop all fertilization 35-40 days before the first frost date. Applying fertilizers too late in the growing season could cause young, soft growth that’s easily damaged by the first frost. To encourage your roses to begin preparing for winter dormancy, stop fertilizing them 35-
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