Feeding Your Roses (They're Hungry You Know)
Roses will usually all bloom well in the first spring flush, but after that, roses that aren't well fertilized won't bloom well for the rest of the season. If you feed them, they will come. Here's a couple of suggestions:
Rose Informational Page

by Bob Bauer
What Type Of Fertilizers Do Roses Need?
Any fertilizer will work to some degree. But roses will thrive better if you use NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) ratios of about 1:2:1, that is more Phosphorous than nitrogen or potassium. Too much Nitrogen will lead to the plant preferring leaf growth to bloom growth. And NEVER forget that if you over fertilize you can Kill the plant.
How to Grow Page
Fertilizing At The Time Of Planting.
This is the time to get some good basic nutrients into the soil down deep, a place where it is difficult to get nutrients after your rose gets bigger. That is why I recommend using a slightly acidic potting soil when you first plant your rose. Other things you can put here in small quantities are a bit of bone meal. some epsom salts (magnesium sulphate), some alfalfa pellets and some time released fertilizer. DON'T OVERFERTILIZE here! Make sure the pH of the soil is around 6.5. This will insure the ability of your roses to use certain minerals and nutrients in an efficient manner.

Fertilizing In The Spring
About two weeks after your roses start to leaf out is the perfect time to apply spring fertilizers. These should be well balanced and dug into the top of the soil about 1 foot around the base of the plant. Dig them in lightly with a garden fork. Liquid fertilizers also work well but must be applied more frequently. It is important that your fertilizers don't just sit on top of the soil. They must be underground and moist in order to be able to be used by the roots of the rose.

Fertilizing during the Summer Season
Most roses will benefit from regular application of fertilizers in small amounts. Sometimes you can even feed with liquid fertilizers as often as every two weeks. The more your roses put out new growth and bloom, the more fertilizers they will need. Some people even call roses 'fertilizer hogs'. A rose that is not fertilized regularly will just stop growing. If it is in desperate need of nutrients, it will actually lose its leaves and a few canes will die. I have seen roses that are just left to themselves year after year stay alive, but mostly they will not thrive. And do I need to say this again? Don't overfeed! This can kill or damage your roses. If you are applying chemical fertilizers ALWAYS follow the dilution amounts on the label.
When to Stop Fertilizing
About six weeks before the killing frost, or about 6 weeks before you induce dormancy if you live in warmer areas is the time that you should stop your application of summer fertilizers. You don't want your roses growing, blooming and in full production of new growth when the killing frosts of winter hit, or when you want them to shut down for a while. Heavy shocks to the system can set your roses back badly. This is especially true if the rose is only in its first few seasons. This is not that much of a concern if your bushes are large and healthy. Well established roses can survive a lot of trauma.
Overwintering: The Value of Compost and Manure
If you are an organic gardener like me, your fertilizers of choice will be compost and manure. That said, compost and manure is not just for the organic gardening folks. It is something that EVERY gardener should apply this at least to some degree. Never apply fresh manure however as it has a lot of acids that can potentially damage your roses. Make sure that you have composted your manure by letting it lay around in a pile for a few months. Composts and manures are best applied in the late fall, as winter will further the breaking down and composting of the material. Almost every area in the country, even the biggest cities have horse barns that are willing to sell you manure at a low price or give you as much as you want for free. All gardeners should make the decision to set aside a small area in a corner somewhere for a permanent pile of manure and compost add to it often.

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