How to Organically Fertilize Your Rose Garden
Welcome back to Rose Friday. Rose Friday is our weekly series where we discuss tips and how to care for roses. Last week, we talked about The 7 Different Types of Roses.
Would you like to fertilize your roses organically?
Are you wondering what the best fertilizer for your roses?
Once upon a time, fertilizer was known as one thing to gardeners and rose gardeners in particular, well-rotted cow manure. They would bring the manure in by the load, thickly spread it over their rose beds and knew they would have impressive results.
The microorganisms in this well-rotted manure made the soil’s nutrients available to the plants. Its nutrient content is somewhat small compared to chemical fertilizers and large amounts had to be used. The use well-rotted cow manure provided these gardeners with the beautiful roses they had come to expect and according to Roses by James Underwood Crockett and the Editors of TIME-LIFE BOOKS there is not another fertilizer like it.
The Science Behind Fertilizer
Fertilizer has three main ingredients.
- Nitrogen. This stimulates the green growth, produces more and bigger canes, leaves and stems.
- Phosphorus. Increases flower production and stimulates root growth.
- Potassium. Helps the plants to be disease and cold resistant by promoting growth.
Most chemical fertilizers use a 5-10-5 ratio.
When to Fertilize
All America Rose Selections gives a great way to remember when to fertilize your roses.
“The easiest way to remember when to feed your roses, is to think of fertilizer like a reward for the plant: the first feeding should be done when the bush first leafs out. For the remainder of the growing season, fertilize after each flush of blooms (“Good job rose, here’s a treat!”). Stop fertilizing about 2 months before the first frost, which is around Labor Day in much of the country.”
In today’s world, it can be difficult to provide your roses with the well-rotted cow manure that they crave. Here are some organic alternative options:
- Dried cow manure
- Cottonseed meal
- Fish fertilizer
- Bone mean
- Blood meal
- Thoroughly decomposed compost.
While well-rotted cow manure can be hard to come by, you do have other options if you are looking to fertilize your roses organically. Remember, with Labor Day approaching you may want to consider stopping your fertilizing.
Make sure to come back next week because we will be discussing How to Prepare Your Roses for Winter.