A Guide to Rose Fertilization
Fertilizing your roses is essential – we want them to have all the nutrients they need to thrive! While it’s true that there are rose varieties that are hardy and can grow unattended, the majority of rose types will greatly benefit from a little help.
What nutrients do roses need in order to be healthy?
A general rule of thumb is to choose a rose fertilizer with a good NPK ratio. Use the acronym “Up-Down-All Around” to remember how the main three plant nutrients work:
- Nitrogen helps shoots (above ground)
- Phosphorus helps roots (below ground)
- Potassium is used by the whole plant
1. Nitrogen (N) – promotes green growth. Roses require a consistent supply of this nutrient. Nitrogen allows the plant to use light to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars, enabling it to feed itself during photosynthesis. A word of caution: putting too much nitrogen will give you an abundance of leaves with little to no blooms. Putting too little will give you plants with yellow leaves, pale roses, and no new growth.
2. Phosphorous (P) – this nutrient promotes abundant flower production and helps create strong roots. A lack of phosphorous can cause falling leaves, a dull foliage, buds that will not open, and weak flower stems.
3. Potassium (K) – This nutrient promotes vigorous growth. Potassium also lends a helping hand when plants are stressed due to insect damage, disease, or extreme weather temperatures. A lack of potassium will produce poorly-developed buds, weak stems, and yellow to brown edges on the leaves.
Roses need other nutrients like magnesium, calcium, copper, sulfur, iron, boron, zinc, and manganese.
The majority of rose fertilizers have what is needed but can use some help to build and enrich the soil. Using organic alfalfa pellets into the soil provides solid nutrition to roses, giving the plant calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, and some fatty acids to boost plant growth. You can see some tips on using and making alfalfa tea from the American Rose Society.
When is it best to fertilize?
For best results, fertilize your rose plants on a 3-week schedule during growing season.
More questions about roses? Feel free to get in touch with us at Southern Botanical, your Dallas landscaping services company.