The Q&A Archives: Getting an Old Rosebush to Bloom

Question: I moved to a new home 3 years ago, and there were several roses in the gardens. All bloom except the biggest bush. I pruned it last year to within 15" of the ground, fed it Miracle Gro and later in the season, 8-8-8 fertilizer. It put out a lot of thorny limbs, but no flowers. What can I do to get it to bloom?<br><br><br><br>Michael J. Hipps

Answer: You have an appropriate last name for a rose grower ("Rose Hips"...sorry! I couldn't resist!) Is the shrub located in full sun? Roses bloom best when they get sun all day. If it's in shade, it won't want to flower. If it's in sun,perhaps the hard pruning and all that fertilizer stimulated green growth, but didn't encourage bloom. Also, it often happens that when a bush is pruned that hard, it won't bloom til the following year. This spring, when the buds start to swell, prune just a little to shape the bush and remove any dead and crowded stems. After pruning, mulch with compost and bark chips. When you see flower buds starting to swell, apply a slow-release fertilizer according to label directions. Hope this helps!

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