Roses enjoy regular fertilizing during the growing season, offering a much-needed boost of root development, plant growth and bud and bloom production after the winter dormancy period.
But fertilizers come in many formulations and types, so it’s understandable that you may have a hard time picking out the best fertilizer for your roses.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of the best rose fertilizers that can help you narrow down your pick.
Jobe’s Organics Flower & Rose Granular Fertilizer
The proprietary microorganism archaea makes up the Jobe’s Biozome, which has a host of benefits both for the quality of the soil and the general health of the plant, including:
- Breaks down material faster for quicker results
- Improves nutrient uptake
- Improves the quality of the soil
- Strengthens roses to better fight off diseases and insects
- Improves drought-resistance
- Safe for environment, safe for use around kids and pets
- Water soluble
- Ideal for organic gardening
As per the manufacturer’s instructions, the granular fertilizer should be applied at planting and every 6 weeks subsequently.
Jobe’s Organics slow-release fertilizer creates a healthy ecosystem around the plant, being safe for the environment and your garden.
Scotts Rose & Bloom Continuous Release Plant Food
As a continuous release fertilizer, it offers nutrients to your roses for up to 2 months. Used as directed, the fertilizer will not burn your roses.
It’s easy to use, simply apply it directly onto the soil. Apply every two months throughout the growing season starting in spring.
If you have other flowering plants in your garden — annuals, perennials — you can add the fertilizer directly from the bag all around the garden soil. You can also rake it into the top 1-3 inches of soil or mulch.
Make sure you apply it evenly and then water the soil thoroughly. The continuous fertilizer from Scotts comes in a resealable bag and it’s in a formulation that will not burn the roots of your plants.
Dr. Earth Organic Bud & Bloom Fertilizer
The Bud & Bloom fertilizer contains beneficial soil microbes and fungi that not only improve the soil, but also help your roses to efficiently use nutrients.
Besides the beneficial microorganism from the composition of the fertilizer, Dr Earth Organic Bud & Bloom Fertilizer also contains fish bone meal, alfalfa meal, feather meal, soft rock phosphate and mined potassium sulfate.
This combination of natural and organic fertilizer helps your plants to establish roots better, improves bud, bloom and fruit production and helps them tolerate droughts better thanks to the microorganisms that make it up.
The product is free of GMOs, chicken manure, and pathogens, making it suitable for use even in those organic gardens, where flowers may be grown alongside vegetables or fruit.
Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed
If you’re applying it exclusively to rose bushes, the container feeds approximately 6 rose bushes for up to 3 months. After 3 months, you need to reapply the fertilizer.
As for its application, you can apply it without dilution, directly to the soil around the plant, then make sure to water everything in. Don’t apply it close to the stem to avoid fertilizer burn issues.
This Miracle-Gro product is formulated with earthworm castings, bone and feather meal, and kelp for a nutrient-rich soil that will promote beautifully colored, healthy blooms.
For best results and to avoid issues related to overfertilizing, make sure to closely follow the instructions of the manufacturer.
Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus
Another rose fertilizer worth your attention is the smart-release plant food from Osmocote. It’s formulated with 11 nutrients designed to offer your roses the boost of nutrients it needs to grow healthy roots, buds and blooms.
But the Osmocote isn’t just for roses. It can be used on all indoor or outdoor plants. The fertilizer granules are coated with a semi-permeable resin, allowing for a slow dissolution of the encoated nutrients.
There’s another reason why this fertilizer is considered smart-release — with warmer temperatures, more fertilizer is released to sustain plant development during the growing season.
Osmocote granules must be sprinkled over the soil or mixed into the top 1-3 inches of soil. Make sure to water the soil after application and reapply the nutrient every 6 months.
All the fertilizers I described above are a solid choice for your roses. Many of these can be used to support growth and blooming in other flowers and plants as well.
How Often to Fertilize Roses?
Reading through the short reviews of the rose fertilizers from above, you may have questions about how often to fertilize roses, seeing how some products require more frequent applications than others.
Because rose fertilizers come in a variety of formulations, it’s important to closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply the fertilizer according to the instructions on the label.
Roses require fertilizing starting with spring and all through the growing season. As for how often you actually need to apply the fertilizer, depending on its type, you may need to apply it monthly, every 6 weeks to 2 months, or even less frequently.
Some slow-release fertilizers will feed your rose for up to 6 months, reducing the number of applications needed.
Don’t apply your fertilizer more often than it’s recommended by the manufacturer because of the risk of causing fertilizing burn and harming your roses.
How to Use Fertilizer on Roses?
Here too, it’s important to closely follow the instructions on the label. If a fertilizer calls for dilution with water before it’s applied, make sure to respect the water to fertilizer ratio.
Granular fertilizers are usually applied directly to the soil or need to be worked into the soil. Before every application, make sure to water the soil the day before and also the day after.
It’s also important to avoid using the fertilizer close to the stem of the rose. The fertilizer should be applied around the rose bush and away from the stem to avoid fertilizer burn issues.
The fertilizers I recommended above are all applicable to the soil of the roses, but there are fertilizers that are sprayed onto the foliage.
Regardless of the method of application called for, it’s important to understand how much of the fertilizer you need to apply and how often.
Can Too Much Fertilizer Harm a Rose Plant?
I warned about applying too much fertilizer or applying it too often. In both cases, the excess fertilizer can cause problems, and yes, too much fertilizer can harm a rose plant.
My advice is to under-fertilize rather than use more fertilizer than it’s called for by the label of your fertilizing product.
The effects of using too much fertilizer are varied:
- It can promote leaf production in the detriment of blooms
- Sudden growth can weaken the plant and leave it exposed to diseases and harmful effects of pests
- Can cause root burn and leaf tip dieback
- Too much fertilizer can cause mineral toxicity that leads to loss of leaves because of the plant’s inability to absorb nutrients
Therefore, since there are no benefits to overfertilizing your roses, use fertilizer in moderation at the dilution level and in the amount recommended by the manufacturer.
DIY Fertilizers for Roses
Despite there being plenty of commercially available organic fertilizers designed for roses, some gardeners will also use different home fertilizers instead or to supplement commercially available fertilizers.
Here are a fer DIY fertilizers for roses that you probably already have at home:
– Egg Shells
Applied crushed or steeped in water, egg shells are a common natural fertilizer that’s used in rose gardens. Because of their calcium content, eggshells are said to help the plant in developing a strong cellular structure.
– Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds used in the soil of roses are said to improve the quality of the soil, stimulate leaf, stem and cane development, improve soil acidity, and improve soil structure. For best results, use coffee grounds in a composted form.
– Banana Peels
Banana peels can also be used as an all-natural home-made fertilizer for roses, especially because they’re said to promote bloom production and sustain healthy root development.
It’s important to remember that these natural fertilizers aren’t complete fertilizers and don’t replace specially formulated rose fertilizers.
Like many houseplants and other garden plants, roses benefit from fertilizer added to their soil either during planting or periodically after planting.
I hope that my tips for the best fertilizers for roses can help you choose the ideal fertilizer for your rose bushes. Make sure to apply the fertilizer in the growing season and don’t overdo it as you may cause more harm than help your roses.