What is the best fertilizer for roses after pruning, is a question we receive quite often here on the blog.
And for good reason, this is an important time to make sure your plants are well fed. Overfeed them or underfeed them and the flowers will suffer.
In this post, we are going to talk about when to prune your rose bushes, why the right fertilizer is so important during this time and how to choose the best one.
What is the best fertilizer for roses after pruning?
The answer: A slow-release fertilizer is preferred as it slowly releases nutrients over an extended amount of time to keep your plants well-fed. In addition, look for plant food that has a well-balanced blend of the key ingredients: Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. I recommend a blend that has a mixture of 12-12-12 or something similar.
Here is a quick glance at my top picks that we are going to take a closer look at in this post. For more information on each, please continue to read below.
- Schultz Rose & Flower Slow Release Plant Food
- Jobe’s Organics Time Release Rose Fertilizer Spikes
- Clean Water Rose Food
- FoxFarm Rose Food
When is the best time to prune my rose bushes?
Rose bushes are a staple plant in many gardens and landscapes, adding timeless beauty and an exquisite fragrance to their surroundings. Two of the most important aspects to growing healthy roses with abundant blooms it to make sure plants are pruned and fertilized.
Pruning removes diseased, broken or dead canes from the plant, encouraging new growth. Fertilizing plants provides them with the essential nutrients needed for growth. The two management practices work even better when they go hand in hand.
The best time to prune most rose bushes is after the first seasonal frost in the spring but before the plant breaks its dormancy and begins actively growing for the season.
Pruning can be accomplished in a couple of different ways, with each method the primary goal is to keep the center of the rose-bush open to encourage good air circulation and prevent disease. Basic pruning involves removing the dead, diseased and damaged branches from the plant.
Cuts should always be made using sharp clippers and cut on a slant to allow water to run down off the wound. For most rose bushes it’s recommended to prune the plant down leaving only 6 to 8 healthy canes.
This will result in a rose bush with good overall shape and will also help to prevent overcrowding in the center of the plant. Pruning also encourages new wood to grow and will, in turn, encourage more blossom development. Most blooms occur on the new wood that grows on rose bushes, with reduced blooms forming on the old canes.
Consult online guides to determine the best pruning practices for your specific varieties, or ask a local nursery for recommendations.
How to choose the best fertilizer after pruning..
All plants require fifteen essential nutrients for basic plant functions: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, sodium, boron, chlorine, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, molybdenum and nickel.
Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are needed in higher quantities than the others and are the three components used to classify fertilizers making it easier for consumers to compare products.
Nitrogen is needed for vegetative growth; phosphorus is used by the plant to strengthen the root systems and encourage blooms; potassium promotes vigorous growth and helps the plant defend itself pests, drought, and cold.
A well-balanced fertilizer containing all three of these nutrients is necessary to meet all of the plant needs and should be applied to rose bushes at the time of pruning.
After application, the weather will gradually begin to warm up causing the rose plant to break its dormancy and begin growing. A slow release fertilizer applied at the time of pruning will have its nutrients available to the rose bush just as it begins to grow for the season.
A quick look in any garden center, or a fast internet search, will provide the home gardener with a plethora of fertilizers to choose from. Conventional/inorganic fertilizers are made completely, or sometimes partially, from synthetic, manmade materials; they are cheaper to purchase, and more readily available to purchase.
Typically conventional fertilizers contain nutrients in forms that are quickly available for the plants although some are formulated to slowly release nutrients. Organic fertilizers are made from natural ingredients. They consist of the broken down remains of organisms or are a byproduct (i.e. waste) of the organisms themselves.
After organic fertilizers are applied to the soil, microorganisms, and bacteria in the soil ecosystem break these materials down, making the nutrients they contain available for plant uptake.
The need for a slow-release, granular fertilizer limits product choices slightly but there are still numerous, high-quality options available for purchase.
Here are my top 4 options of the best fertilizer for roses after pruning…
Schultz Rose & Flower Slow Release Plant Food – This slow release, conventional plant food has a 15-5-15 nutrient ratio and contains micronutrients as well to round out the formulation.
In many cases a slow release fertilizer is preferred over others because it releases the nutrients slowly over a period of time meaning you don’t have to feed your flowers as often. In addition because the nutrients are release at a small amount overtime there is little to no chance of you burning your flowers.
If either of these are concerns of yours, the Shultz Rose Food is a good choice.
How to apply: It does not need to be mixed into the soil; apply a ¼ cup of fertilizer to the soil surface around the base of the rose bush and water in well.
The next on our list that we want to take a closer look at is Jobe’s Organics Time Release Rose Fertilizer Spikes.
Premeasured fertilizer spikes provide organic nutrients directly to the root zone decreasing waste, runoff and reducing the possibility of over fertilization.
Jobe’s Rose Fertilizer Spikes contain Biozome, a combination of healthy bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, and Archaea.
Biozome helps create optimal soil conditions by improving soil texture, water retention, and penetration – all of which promote plant growth.
How to apply: Insert stakes around the base of the rose bush to deliver nutrients directly to the root zone.
Another great slow release fertilizer that offers a steady supply of nutrients after pruning is Clean Water Rose Food. It is a 12-12-12 fertilizer, is highly rated and recommended by rose growers.
In fact, Clean Water Rose Food keeps your plants well fed over a period of 6 months. This is definitely the kind of fertilizer where you can feed your plants and forget about it. You no longer need to worry about your plants getting enough food or overfeeding them.
Lastly, this slow release formula promotes long, lasting abundant blooms, strong healthy stems, and vigorous growth. A must-have for those rose lovers out there.
The last to option we want to take a closer look at is FoxFarm Rose Food.
Another organic fertilizer option, FoxFarm Rose Food contains active soil microbes, humic acid to increase the uptake of essential micronutrients, and linoleic acid that acts as a growth stimulant to boost plant growth.
FoxFarm Rose Food is specially formulated to be pH balanced and contains premium ingredients to feed your roses and enrich the soil simultaneously.
The slow release granules provide nutrients to the plant gradually over time.
How to apply: For maximum benefit apply a ½ cup of fertilizer per every foot of plant height
Roses make a beautiful addition to any garden and landscape. Their beauty is timeless and elegant. To encourage abundant blooms on your rose bushes, it is important to prune them properly in the spring before they break dormancy and apply a slow-release, granular fertilizer immediately afterward.
As the temperatures climb and the rose bushes begin to grow the nutrients will be available in the soil for immediate plant uptake. This will increase the uptake efficiency and the use within the plant.
Proper pruning and fertilization of rose bushes, especially when done simultaneously, will result in more vigorous early season growth, increased blooms, and greater resistance to pests and drought stress.
Now it is your turn, please share with us your experience. What have you found to be the best fertilizer for roses after pruning?