The Q&A Archives: Does Non-Flowering Rose Need Fertilizer?

Question: I have a one-year-old rose that gets full sun all day long. It has lots of foliage and is trained to a trellis. It is in a established rose garden surrounded by other roses that bloom all season. However, it hasn't bloomed. Any suggestions? Does it need more fertilizer?

Answer: Your rose may still be establishing itself and may well bloom later in the season. You might also want to fertilize it with a phosphorous source to promote bloom. However, if all your other roses are blooming and you've treated this one the same, then fertilizer may not be an issue. The lush growth indicates that this plant has had plenty of nitrogen, which can cause foliage growth at the expense of flowers. Could it have been fertilized inadvertantly with a high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer?

Here's some basic info on fertilizer and nutrients that plants require. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorous), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes. In general terms, nitrogen produces lush green growth, phosphorous helps strengthen stems and produce flowers, and potassium keeps the root system healthy. If you're applying fertilizer to fruiting (e.g., tomatoes) or flowering plants, you're not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you'd use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous. Bone meal is an organic source of phosphorous.

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