The Q&A Archives: Feeding Roses

Question: What should I feed my roses during the winter?

Answer: Roses are heavy feeders. To keep them growing vigorously, an organized program should be followed. Water rose bed thoroughly before and after food has been applied. January thru February -- As the weather and ground warm up, around mid to late February, organic fertilizers may be applied. Give each large bush. one to two cups of a mixture of alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, fish meal and blood meal, scratch in lightly and water in well. March thru May -- The initial feeding should be chemical, either liquid or dry. It is applied when spring pruning is completed. Carl Pool, Green Light, Miracle-Gro, Peters or Rapid-Gro are all good soluble fertilizers. Give each Hybrid Tea or other large bush, one tablespoon of fertilizer dissolved in a gallon of water. For miniatures use one teaspoon of liquid food per gallon of water. Give each plant about a quart. Dry rose fertilizer can be applied in place of liquid. Use according to directions. Liquid feeding in this period should be once a month. Mature climbers should be given double the amount given to Hybrid Teas. June thru August -- With the introduction of timed release fertilizers, a summer long feeding in one application is possible. These fertilizers are formulated to feed continuously for three to six months in our climate. Feed each average sized bush at least three or four ounces, working it lightly into the soil. Water thoroughly.

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