Roses forum: Rose Feeds

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Name: David
Aug 6, 2017 4:11 AM CST
I have recently started to grow roses in large containers and I am confused with all the different types of fertilisers available. I recently purchased a product called "Uncle Toms Rose Tonic" here in the UK which I understand to be basically a foliar feed which on the bottle states use every two weeks.
My confusion is what about the roots, would I still use something like "Toprose Gold" granular feed at the start of the growing season and again in mid-season. I obviously want to give my roses the best I can in the way of care so hopefully they will reward me with many lovely blooms throughout the season. I hope that someone can help me understand my Rose feeding problems better.
[Last edited by gardengnome44 - Aug 7, 2017 1:57 PM (+)]
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Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Aug 8, 2017 8:22 AM CST
Just my opinion, as your roses are in a closed circuit root system, the long term granular fertilizer should be best.
Liquid feeds work well on outdoor garden plants as water washes out even the granular over time so a quick boost from foliar feed can give a short term boost.
Unless you have a very large hole in the bottom of your pot, fertilizer should remain in the vicinity of the roots far, far longer.
Name: David
Aug 9, 2017 5:39 AM CST
Thanks RpR your reply makes perfect sense. Thumbs up
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Aug 9, 2017 2:57 PM CST
I buy a lot of plants from a firm called Logees which specializes in indoors (and therefore potted) plants. They recommend Dyna Grow 7-9-5, a balanced liquid fertilizer, be administered in water at least once per week. All the knowledgeable sources I've read suggest using liquid fertilizers at low concentrations at least weekly. If you water with a watering can this is almost certainly the best practice. It provides balanced fertilizer at a rate close to the way the plant is using it. This means minimal toxic build up in the soil, and no catastrophic depletion, either.

I have found with tomatoes that standard potting mixes tend to go flat at about four to eight weeks, after which a plant can crash very quickly. This season I learned that I need to pay much closer attention to the specifics of soil fertility with potted plants, even as I almost ignore it with the very same cultivars planted in the ground. A pound of used coffee grounds at planting time did extend the fertility for a few more weeks, getting the tomatoes through almost a whole growing season without other supplements. But I don't have enough data on methods like this to advocate them. Roses, like tomatoes, are hungry plants that only flourish when given high levels of water and nutrients; and in my third year of trying I cannot claim to have found a method of fertilizing either of them using solid fertilizer that truly works all season long with potted plants; but I have not been so earnest at doing this work as I need to be.

If you water with a hose, liquids can be hard to manage unless you have one of those clever venturi-powered contraptions that meter the liquid into the stream of water. So if you water with a hose you might consider time-release formulation such as Osmocote. Problem is, I cannot tell you how to identify the exact moment when the Osmocote has stopped working. Often a plant will seem to be doing just about okay for some time after it has run out of fertilizer. When it finally has collapsed enough that there is no longer a doubt that it needs attention, it can sometimes be too late to revive the plant. In any case, chances are that one has lost six or ten weeks of good plant performance.

Regrdless of the method you choose, feeding regularly is the most reliable way to assure your potted plant is getting its nutritional requirements met and to maintain the plant at its optimum level of health. Plants in the ground I fertilize with a solid fertilizer annually. I use an organic mix called Milles Magic.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Aug 11, 2017 6:20 PM CST
Are you plants indoors or outdoors, that makes a big difference.
Name: David
Aug 12, 2017 7:45 AM CST
Hi Guys
Thanks for your excellent responses to my question which I have taken on board and starting as from next season I will implement your comments as regards a regular feeding regime Steve 812. RpR the roses I have in containers are all outside in answer to your question. Thank You!
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Aug 12, 2017 11:21 PM CST
Are your roses bare root or potted when you buy them.
The reason I ask is I have had both, some times, including this year I will lose a old rose for reason of my doing.

One that died this year was a very old rose and in digging it I severed the very deep tap root, end of rose.
Another one, that if I had liked it, would still be in the garden with a fifty-fifty chance of being around next year, when I pulled it out, it had what amounted to four roots, none of the fuzzy little ones.
I wondered what the hell kept it alive but as I had often nursed it during its decade long life from boom and bust cycles, it got foliar feed often when other robust roses got none.
I presume the foliar feed over rode any need to send out more roots; this is similar to laying sod and over watering, instead of sending roots into the ground such sod merely sends roots sideway under the sod and never takes root in the soil, it has no need to.
Such sod , this is why irrigation systems should be used carefully when laying sod, the grass looks great while it works but if it goes offline for any amount of time the sod will start dying quickly.
I had been to places like this when I landscaped and even after the sod had been down for several years, you could simply pick up and roll up the dead sod as it had never sent roots into the soil, just sideways under the sod.
The fact your roses will be outside getting rain fairly often makes a difference, as rain water is far more nurturing that most irrigation water, unless you can pull it out of a lake or river.
During droughts up here, I could water and water and water the lawn to keep it alive. It remained fairly green with enough water, but did not thrive.
If we had two inches of rainfall, suddenly it looked as healthy and green as if there was no drought.

I believe this can happen with roses as during the years up here in the past twenty , when we had true droughts, some roses rode it out without any real problems while other had to be nursed continually.
The ones that died were the potted roses and after they died, pulling them out of the ground was no harder than picking up that sod.
Due to not being forced to set good roots, they did not.
I think your climate is closer to mine than Steve's, if I treated rosed down there the way I treat them up here, I would probably be pulling dead ones often.

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