Gardening

12 Best Rose Fertilizers And When To Apply Rose Food

Roses are among the hardest plants to maintain due to the specific nutrients that they need to absorb during their growing season.

Whether you have been growing roses for a long time or have decided to start growing roses in your garden, this guide covers everything you need to know from the nutrients that roses need to thrive, the best rose fertilizers on the market that you should consider, and the various tips and tricks on how to successfully apply the fertilizer.

This will mean that you can start building up your own rose garden with confidence.

What Nutrients Do Roses Need To Grow?

Before we delve into which rose fertilizers are the best to consider, it’s important to learn about the various nutrients that roses need to thrive. This will ensure that when it comes to researching various fertilizers, you’ll be able to know which ones are best for roses in particular.

Here are the most essential nutrients that roses must have to promote healthy growth:

Macronutrients

The first thing that is important for roses are macronutrients which allow every part of the plant to thrive. Some macronutrients that are important to consider include boron, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, sulfur, and zinc.

Nitrogen

The next nutrient that is important for roses to have is nitrogen in balanced amounts which helps to promote vibrant colors and encourages leaf growth .

Make sure that you add the right amount of nitrogen as too much can cause an abundance of foliage with little blooms and too little will cause discoloration in the leaves and see a stunted amount of growth.

Phosphorus

Another important nutrient is phosphorus which helps to promote a healthy amount of root growth as well as a lot of flower production.

If your roses don’t get enough phosphorus then the stems will be weak and this can cause further problems with the buds as they may not bloom properly.

Potassium

Lastly, you need to make sure that you roses are exposed to plenty of potassium which can build up their tolerance and strength when the plant is attacked by harsh weather conditions, insects, or disease.

If your roses lack the appropriate amount of potassium then you may find that the plant dies prematurely, especially during colder weather or is more susceptible to insect attacks as well as discoloration in the leaves.

Quick Comparison: Top Picks For Rose Fertilizers And When To Apply Rose Food

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12 Best Rose Fertilizers

Now that you know all the important facts about feeding roses, you’ll be able to make a decision as to which fertilizer is best for you. Here are the best rose fertilizers on the market that you should consider:

Best Overall: Espoma RT18 Rose Tone

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Our first recommendation is the Espoma RT18 Rose Tone which is an all natural and organic plant food that has been enhanced with thousands of living microbes that has been approved for organic gardening.

This fertilizer is often the top choice for professional rosarians as it provides plenty of safe and long-lasting reservoirs of nutrients.

Made in the United States, this fertilizer has a long lasting slow release formula that is trusted by avid gardeners across the country thanks to its complex blend of natural organics.

Packed with 15 essential nutrients, this is complete plant food so you can be assured that your roses are getting the nutrients they need to thrive.

Pros

  • Often the top choice for professional rosarians as it provides plenty of safe and long-lasting reservoirs of nutrients
  • Has a long lasting slow release formula that is trusted by avid gardeners across the country thanks to its complex blend of natural organics
  • Packed with 15 essential nutrients, this is complete plant food so you can be assured that your roses are getting the nutrients they need to thrive

Cons

  • The bag is large and heavy which can make it difficult to distribute

Runner Up: J R Peters Inc (52064) Jacks Classic No.4 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer

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Our second selection is the J R Peters Inc (52064) Jacks Classic No.4 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer which releases the nutrients slowly for up to four months of continuous growth to help your roses thrive.

This fertilizer’s formula has been blended with an enhanced micronutrient package which provides optimal nutrition for green foliage and strong roots while also featuring the highest safety factor prevent burning when applied as directed.

This fertilizer also comes with a free measuring spoon which has been enclosed for easy and precise application so you can be assured that you use the appropriate amount to optimize the amount of growth.

Pros

  • Releases the nutrients slowly for up to four months of continuous growth to help your roses thrive
  • This fertilizer’s formula has been blended with an enhanced micronutrient package which provides optimal nutrition for green foliage and strong roots
  • Comes with a free measuring spoon which has been enclosed for easy and precise application so you can be assured that you use the appropriate amount to optimize the amount of growth

Cons

  • High price point

Alternative: Down To Earth Organic Rose & Flower Fertilizer Mix 4-8-4

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Our third choice is the Down to Earth Organic Rose & Flower Fertilizer Mix 4-8-4 which comes as a five pound box that contains a natural fertilizer complete with 4-8-4 formula that supplies nutrients for optimized growth and beautiful roses that will thrive thanks to the strong nitrogen constant, extra phosphorus to promote plenty of color, and potassium and trace elements to ensure healthy plant stock.

This fertilizer is great for all kinds of plants, especially roses, as you will see the results during their seasonal growth.

It has been listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic production making it an ideal choice for using on flower beds, vegetable gardens, houseplants, and containers.

Packed with a variety of nutritious ingredients, this fertilizer contains fish bone meal, langbeinite, blood meal, alfalfa meal, seabird guano, rock phosphate, kelp meal, and humates so your roses are getting all the nutrients they need.

Pros

  • Comes as a five pound box that contains a natural fertilizer complete with 4-8-4 formula that supplies nutrients for optimized growth and beautiful roses that will thrive thanks to the strong nitrogen constant, extra phosphorus to promote plenty of color, and potassium and trace elements to ensure healthy plant stock
  • Has been listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic production making it an ideal choice for using on flower beds, vegetable gardens, houseplants, and containers
  • Contains fish bone meal, langbeinite, blood meal, alfalfa meal, seabird guano, rock phosphate, kelp meal, and humates so your roses are getting all the nutrients they need

Cons

  • May have to add calcium source

Alternative: Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Rose Plant Food

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Our fourth recommendation is the Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Rose Plant Food which instantly feeds your roses to grow bigger and faster compared to unfed plants.

Specifically formulated with roses in mind, this fertilizer should be given to your roses every one to two weeks to promote healthy growth and provide them with the nutrients they need.

This fertilizer has been endorsed by the American Rose Society so you can purchase it knowing that you will be using the same fertilizer that a lot of professional gardeners use on their roses.

You can use this fertilizer with the Micro-Gro garden feeder or any watering can making it highly versatile when it comes to the application and is guaranteed not to burn when used as directed.

Pros

  • Specifically formulated with roses in mind, this fertilizer should be given to your roses every one to two weeks to promote healthy growth and provide them with the nutrients they need
  • Has been endorsed by the American Rose Society so you can purchase it knowing that you will be using the same fertilizer that a lot of professional gardeners use on their roses
  • Can use this fertilizer with the Micro-Gro garden feeder or any watering can making it highly versatile when it comes to the application and is guaranteed not to burn when used as directed

Cons

  • Can be difficult to open

Alternative: BioAdvanced 043929293566 Bayer Advanced 701110A All in One Rose and Flower Care Granules

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Our fifth selection is the BioAdvanced 043929293566 Bayer Advanced 701110A All in One Rose and Flower Care Granules which is a fertilizer that promotes strong roots and beautiful blooms to provide your roses with the nutrients that they need to thrive.

This fertilizer is great for those who have insect infestations in their garden as it will kill a variety of insects including aphids, Japanese beetles, and leafhoppers among much more while also helping to control any spread of disease including black spot, powdery mildew, rust, and southern blight.

It also features systemic rainproof protection that lasts up to six weeks and can treat up to 32 roses at one time making it great for those with larger gardens and rosebeds.

Pros

  • Promotes strong roots and beautiful blooms to provide your roses with the nutrients that they need to thrive
  • Great for those who have insect infestations in their garden as it will kill a variety of insects including aphids, Japanese beetles, and leafhoppers among much more
  • Features systemic rainproof protection that lasts up to six weeks and can treat up to 32 roses at one time making it great for those with larger gardens and rosebeds

Cons

  • Not suitable for sale in certain states including Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Vermont.

Alternative: Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Rose & Bloom Plant Food

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Our sixth choice is the Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Rose & Bloom Plant Food which contains natural ingredients that can feed microbes in the soil while also promoting more blooms and spectacular color in your roses and other flowering plants compared to unfed plants.

This is a great option for both new and existing roses as it will help improve the color and condition by providing them with the nutrients they need.

This fertilizer can feed your roses for up to three months which helps to take the guesswork out of the feeding process.

It can be used on any flowering plants as well as roses, both in the ground and in containers making it versatile for application.

Pros

  • Contains natural ingredients that can feed microbes in the soil while also promoting more blooms and spectacular color in your roses and other flowering plants compared to unfed plants
  • Can feed your roses for up to three months which helps to take the guesswork out of the feeding process
  • Can be used on any flowering plants as well as roses, both in the ground and in containers making it versatile for application.

Cons

  • Can take a long time for the roses to thrive

Alternative: Jobe’s 04102 Rose Fertilizer Spikes

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Our seventh recommendation is the Jobe’s 04102 Rose Fertilizer Spikes which comes with pre-measured rose fertilizer spikes that help to nourish your roses at the roots while the slow releasing fertilizer helps your roses to maintain their color and condition by providing them with the nutrients they need.

These fertilizer spikes are easy to use as they include no measuring, no wasteful runoff, no mess, hazards or smells, making them highly convenient to use for those who don’t want to spend too much time fussing over their garden.

These spikes work best when they are applied in early spring or late summer when the roses are about to grow and bloom to ensure that they have the best growth.

Each spike feeds for eight weeks meaning that there is a continuous supply of nutrients below the surface which is where the active roots are growing which ensures no dangerous runoff.

Pros

  • Comes with pre-measured rose fertilizer spikes that help to nourish your roses at the roots while the slow releasing fertilizer helps your roses to maintain their color and condition by providing them with the nutrients they need
  • Easy to use as they include no measuring, no wasteful runoff, no mess, hazards or smells, making them highly convenient to use for those who don’t want to spend too much time fussing over their garden
  • Each spike feeds for eight weeks meaning that there is a continuous supply of nutrients below the surface which is where the active roots are growing which ensures no dangerous runoff

Cons

  • The plastic cap can be hard to remove once hammered in place

Alternative: Dr. Earth 702P Organic 3 Rose & Flower Fertilizer In Poly Bag

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Our eighth selection is the Dr. Earth 702P Organic 3 Rose & Flower Fertilizer in Poly Bag which provides optimum levels of primary plant nutrients which ensures that you will have larger and more abundant blooms while also loosening and improving the soil texture so your roses can thrive.

This fertilizer contains no GMOs, chicken manure or sewage sludge meaning that you can be assured that it is all natural and organic while also having the ability to feed your plants for several months meaning that you don’t have to worry about fussing over your roses.

It contains a variety of helpful ingredients including eight select strains of Ecto and Endo Mycorrhizae which help build up drought tolerance as well as enhanced nutrient availability and increased plant performance.

This eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers when it is used as directed so you can be assured that this is an organic solution while boosting exceptional results due to the nutrients that are released quickly.

Pros

  • Provides optimum levels of primary plant nutrients which ensures that you will have larger and more abundant blooms while also loosening and improving the soil texture so your roses can thrive
  • Contains no GMOs, chicken manure or sewage sludge meaning that you can be assured that it is all natural and organic while also having the ability to feed your plants for several months meaning that you don’t have to worry about fussing over your roses
  • Eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers when it is used as directed so you can be assured that this is an organic solution while boosting exceptional results due to the nutrients that are released quickly

Cons

  • Has a strong odor

Alternative: BioAdvanced 701210A 2 In 1 Rose & Flower Care 8-12-4 IMID Bonus 10lb

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Our ninth choice is the BioAdvanced 701210A 2 in 1 Rose & Flower Care 8-12-4 IMID Bonus 10lb which can feed roses and other flowers to promote strong and beautiful blooms that have vibrant colors and are kept in a healthy condition while providing eight week protection against certain insects.

This fertilizer will kill certain insects such as aphids, Japanese beetles, lace bugs, leafhoppers, and whiteflies among much more while providing eighth weeks of systemic rainproof protection.

This fertilizer is great for those with larger gardens as it can be used on up to 80 rose bushes. There are certain states where this fertilizer cannot be sold so bear this in mind when doing your research.

Pros

  • Can feed roses and other flowers to promote strong and beautiful blooms that have vibrant colors
  • Will kill certain insects such as aphids, Japanese beetles, lace bugs, leafhoppers, and whiteflies among much more while providing eighth weeks of systemic rainproof protection
  • Great for those with larger gardens as it can be used on up to 80 rose bushes

Cons

  • High price point

Alternative: Mycorrhizal Inoculant by DYNOMYCO

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Our tenth recommendation is the Mycorrhizal Inoculant by DYNOMYCO which has been made with a highly concentrated formula that has a concentration of 900 propagules per gram while the Dynomyco mycorrhizal inoculants improves the uptake of both micro and macro nutrients that means that your roses will be healthier, resilient, and have higher yields and quality.

This fertilizer includes high performing fungal strains which develops robust beneficial symbiotic relationships with the plant roots while the blend of strains are sourced worldwide which includes vigorous strains from the harsh conditions of the Israeli desert so you plants will benefit from an enhanced capacity to cope with the stress that comes with the suboptimal soil pH levels.

It has been developed from state of the art research that is based on 30 years of groundbreaking Israeli research of soil inoculants meaning that you can be assured that your roses grow safely and effectively.

This fertilizer is one that is guaranteed to bring high yield increases by 10-45% compared to unfed plants.

Pros

  • Has been made with a highly concentrated formula that has a concentration of 900 propagules per gram while the Dynomyco mycorrhizal inoculants improves the uptake of both micro and macro nutrients that means that your roses will be healthier, resilient, and have higher yields and quality
  • Includes high performing fungal strains which develops robust beneficial symbiotic relationships with the plant roots while the blend of strains are sourced worldwide which includes vigorous strains from the harsh conditions of the Israeli desert so you plants will benefit from an enhanced capacity to cope with the stress that comes with the suboptimal soil pH levels
  • This fertilizer is one that is guaranteed to bring high yield increases by 10-45% compared to unfed plants

Cons

  • Unsuitable for larger gardens

Alternative: Jobe’s 09423 Organics Flower & Rose Granular Fertilizer with Biozome

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Our penultimate selection is the Jobe’s 09423 Organics Flower & Rose Granular Fertilizer with Biozome which is an organic granular fertilizer that is specifically fast acting for roses and has been formulated for more abundant beautiful flowers.

This fertilizer has been OMRO listed for organic gardening by USDA which means that the certified organic means no synthetic chemicals while containing Jobe’s Biozome which is a proprietary microorganism archaea that aggressively breaks down the material for faster results.

The Jobe’s Biozome helps to improve soil conditions which helps to resist various diseases, insects, and drought while the roses are going through their growing season.

This bag makes distributing the fertilizer easy and should be applied every six weeks meaning that you don’t have to worry about fussing over your roses regularly.

Pros

  • Has been OMRO listed for organic gardening by USDA which means that the certified organic means no synthetic chemicals while containing Jobe’s Biozome which is a proprietary microorganism archaea that aggressively breaks down the material for faster results
  • Helps to improve soil conditions which helps to resist various diseases, insects, and drought while the roses are going through their growing season
  • Makes distributing the fertilizer easy and should be applied every six weeks meaning that you don’t have to worry about fussing over your roses regularly

Cons

  • Unsuitable for those with dogs as it is toxic if they eat it

Alternative: Great Big Roses Organic Rose Food Fertilizer

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Our final choice is the Great Big Roses Organic Rose Food Fertilizer which is an organic rose fertilizer that has been specifically designed to increase flower set and retention while the beneficial plant nutrients includes an array of essential micronutrients, humic acid, and kelp meal.

This fertilizer is the best plant food for your roses which makes a great substitute for traditional compost or manure and works incredibly fast which maximizes potential for root growth, nutrient uptake, and better soil structure.

It is incredibly easy to use as you simply have to shake the bottle well, add around 4oz of fertilizer of water to 1pt of mixture per plant.

Pros

  • Is an organic rose fertilizer that has been specifically designed to increase flower set and retention while the beneficial plant nutrients includes an array of essential micronutrients, humic acid, and kelp meal
  • The best plant food for your roses which makes a great substitute for traditional compost or manure and works incredibly fast which maximizes potential for root growth, nutrient uptake, and better soil structure
  • Incredibly easy to use as you simply have to shake the bottle well, add around 4oz of fertilizer of water to 1pt of mixture per plant

Cons

  • High price point

Fertilizing Rose Plants

Now that you know what fertilizers are best, we’ll be delving into everything that you need to know about how to fertilize your rose plants.

A lot of gardeners like to mix the amount of organic and chemical fertilizer that they use because chemical fertilizers act faster but organic fertilizers are friendlier and less aggressive towards the plant.

Therefore, you can choose to purchase a variety of fertilizers and see what combination works best for you.

However, this isn’t the only thing you will need to bear in mind. Here are some tips on how to successfully fertilize your rose plants:

Use Fertilizer Before Planting The Roses

If you are planning on using fertilizer for new roses then make sure that you use an organic fertilizer before planting your roses as this can help to build up a tolerance in the planting area for the rose’s roots so they will not get burned if you do decide to use a chemical fertilizer.

Not only does this help to prevent any damage, but this can also ensure that your roses are open to receiving the vital nutrients it needs to have a healthy growth with vibrant colors.

Use Epsom Salt

Two weeks after you have begun fertilizing your roses, add some Epsom salt to the soil as this will provide extra magnesium and sulfur to your roses which encourages and promotes healthy growth.

The best way to do this is by making a mix of Epsom salt and water and then pouring this into the soil where it will be exposed to the roots and flowers to build up strength in the entire plant.

Making Your Own Organic Fertilizer

For those who want to make their own organic fertilizer, it is surprisingly easy to complete. Here is the best recipe for making an organic fertilizer:

Ingredients

  • Blood meal – 230g
  • Bone meal – 110g
  • Epsom salt – 110g
  • Fish meal – 110g

Here are the instructions for making your own organic fertilizer:

1. Combining The Ingredients

The first instruction is that you will need to combine all of the ingredients together. Bear in mind that the mixture has a strong odor but it incorporates all the nutrients that your plant will need to thrive.

2. Preparing Your Rose Bush

Once your mixture is complete, prepare your rose bush that watering it thoroughly around the base of the plant and make sure that the there is room within the soil for the mixture to be immersed.

3. Adding The Mixture

When you are confident that the soil has been hydrated enough, add in the mixture around two inches deep and make sure that it has been buried within the soil.

4. Water The Rose Bush

Once the mixture has been added, water the rose bush again so the mixture can begin to spread the nutrients through the entire plant.

Using Banana Peels

Another solution for those who want an alternative to fertilizers is to use banana peels or skins as they contain a lot of potassium which can be great when used as compost or if you want to bury it within the soil under the flower beds.

If you are wanting fast results then grinding the banana peels and skins will mean that their nutrients will be absorbed quicker as the banana will be broken down faster.

How Often Should You Fertilize Roses?

Fertilizing your roses is always best when done at the start of the rose’s growing season at the start of spring and how often you will have to fertilize them will depend on what the specific fertilizer dictates on the label.

On average, your roses will need feeding every eight weeks but always read the instructions for your fertilizer as this may differ depending on the brand.

Another thing that can cause the fertilizer to be fed is how the roses are kept as container roses will need feeding more often than those planted in the ground as there is less soil to provide them with nutrients so they will need to be topped up more often.

When Is The Best Time To Fertilize Roses?

The best time to fertilize your roses is around springtime after the roses have recovered from the winter months and then every few weeks until fall months as the roses will have everything they need to survive the winter months and any frost damage.

Conclusion

Overall, knowing how to fertilize roses properly and choosing a fertilizer that has been formulated with roses in mind will ensure that they get the best growth possible while ensuring that they boast vibrant colors.

Whether you have been growing roses for years or are just starting out, this guide is sure to point you in the right direction to make the most of your garden and improve the overall appearance and health of your plants.

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