Rose Growing Tips
Cold Protection for Roses
Fertilizer is, simply put, food for roses. And roses love to eat. If you feed your bushes a healthy, nutritional diet, they will take the fertilizer and turn it into big, beautiful blooms. Here’s how to do it. (Note that if you get the bushes initially through a flower delivery service, make sure that your treatment program is similar to theirs.)
The best time to fertilize established bushes is in late winter during the dormant season, just after pruning. That way you are not feeding the parts of the rosebush that are destined to be cut off. Once the soil begins to warm up in the spring, the fertilizer will begin to break down and feed your bushes. Here is a great basic recipe to use for your fertilizer. The amount is per medium-sized bush:
1 cup bone meal or superphosphate (0-20-0)
1 cup cottonseed meal
1/2 cup blood meal
1/2 cup fish meal
1/2 cup epsom salts (magnesium sulphate)
To apply the fertilizer to your rosebushes, first water the area liberally. Then apply the mixture evenly on the ground, out to the perimeter of the bush. Rake it lightly into the top couple inches of soil, then water again.
For newly planted bare root rosebushes, care must be taken not to burn the new roots. For these bushes, wait until after the plant has produced its first blooms to apply fertilizer. Water well first, apply the fertilizer and water well again. You may now begin a regular feeding program, but take a little extra caution – use weaker strength fertilizers on a more frequent basis for a safe, adequate food supply.
Roses appreciate an application of slow release fertilizer in spring, midsummer, and again in the fall. Use organic fertilizer and add a tablespoon of chelated iron to the dry mix. Apply the fertilizer mix around the base of the plants, dibble it into the soil and water well. Your bushes will love you for it, and will reward you well with flowers. Happy Growing!