The Q&A Archives: Roses Not Blooming

Question: I prune my roses in late winter per instructions and they have not bloomed for four seasons. They become very leggy as the summer progresses. What do I do ?

Answer: Roses need full sun to bloom and consistent soil moisture. In addition, they are heavy feeders. You didn't mention if you fertilize, but it's essential to promote blooming for roses. 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, such as 15-30-15. You can also purchase a product formulated specifically for roses. Organic sources of nutrients:

Nitrogen: alfalfa meal, blood meal, coffee grounds, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion, seabird guano.
Phosphorous: bone meal, rock phosphate
Potassium: greensand, seaweed, kelp

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