Tag Archive for: Rose Fertilizer

I must admit that it has taken me longer then I thought to get over the flu.  It must be my age, but it seems like getting over being sick just sucks out any energy I have.

The other day, I walked by my son’s room and noticed that he was being really quiet….

Star Wars figurines

He had fallen asleep on the floor, playing with the little plastic weapons from his Star Wars figurines.

Please disregard the messy room – but Saturday is room cleaning day and I took this photo on Thursday ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sometimes, I feel like falling asleep on the floor.

I have been getting busy with consults because the weather is cooling off and people are starting to venture outside again.

I have found time to do a little light pruning of my roses.


Okay, I know that my roses look rather ugly – but all roses that grow in our area go through an ‘ugly’ stage in summer.

While we are very lucky that we have two growing seasons for roses (spring and fall) – roses are not fans of our hot, dry summers.

Their leaves get sunburned and if any roses form, they are small and dry out quickly.  This is normal.  Roses go somewhat dormant during summer and just exist until the cooler weather of fall arrives.

So once September arrives, it’s time to prune your roses back by 1/4 of their total size.  Then add the rose fertilizer of your choice, mixed with compost.  I make 6 – 8 holes around each of my roses, about 6″ deep and pour the fertilizer/compost mixture into them and then water deeply.

I only have three roses bushes, so this only took about 15 minutes to do it all.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was driving home from a consult, I noticed a home that had raised vegetable garden beds in their front yard.

cool-season vegetables

cool-season vegetables

I can only imagine how much they grow.  I have two vegetable gardens in the back garden.  Our HOA won’t allow me to put any in the front ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last year at this time, I had all my vegetable seeds planted by September 5th.

This yearI have done nothing yet.

Thankfully, there is a window for planting that extends from September through October for most cool-season vegetables.

My plan is to get it all done by next weekend.  I made sure that my husband had time in his schedule to help me add the compost and manure and then I’ll get my seeds planted.

How about you?  Have you planted your vegetables yet?

A Box of Seeds and an Impatient Gardenerโ€ฆ

Old rose bush that came with our first house. *You can tell by the hair and clothes that this was the 90’s.

Do you love roses? I do….

At first, I made a lot of mistakes because at the time, there wasn’t a lot of information on how to grow roses in the desert.

However, I did learn from my mistakes and found knowledgeable people who steered me in the right direction. Soon, I had 40 rose bushes growing in my garden in our first house. I lovingly tended them and was rewarded with gorgeous blooms. ย 

Years later, I don’t have quite as many roses in my current garden, but I love growing them just as much as I did years ago.

best rose bushes

Photo: Abraham Darby

Because we grow roses for their beautiful blooms, I learned some tips from rose-growing experts on how to maximize blooms and the health of my rose bushes.  

So, I’m going to share them with you.  

*Basic rose care consists of fertilizing your roses in spring, using a fertilizer specially formulated for roses. You can do this and have a lovely rose bush. However, if you want the biggest and most floriferous rose bushes in your neighborhood, you’ll want to follow these tips.   

1. In spring, grab your broom (yes, I said a broom) and make six holes around each rose bush (about 1 ft. from the base).  Each hole should be 6 – 8 inches deep.    

2. For this next step, you will need 6 cups of compost, 3 cups of composted steer (or chicken or horse) manure, 1/2 cup of Epsom salts, the recommended amount of your favorite rose fertilizer and two handfuls of alfalfa pellets per rose bush.  

So how do these ingredients help your roses?  

– The compost improves your soil by adding fertility, increasing its ability to hold the right amount of water and feeds microorganisms in the soil.  

– Using manure adds a natural source of nitrogen that is slowly released into the soil.  Make sure the manure is composted (aged) before using, or it can ‘burn’ your roses.  

– Head to your nearest feed store and pick up some alfalfa pellets.  When alfalfa breaks down in the soil, it releases an alcohol (triacontanol) that roses love.  They respond to it by growing more branches (basal breaks) from the bud union AND increases the number of roses and their size.  

best rose bushes


3. Mix all the ingredients together and then pour the mixture into each of the holes.  Work any extra mixture into the top inch of soil around your roses.  By adding the mixture into the holes, you are putting them right where the roots are.  

4.  Water deeply to 18 inches.  

That’s it!  Follow these tips, and your roses will soon be the envy of all your neighbors.  

But, I’m not finished yet….  

If you want to do even more….then follow this next step:  

5. Add liquid fertilizer to your roses monthly during the growing season.  

**In hot, dry desert climates – your roses will slow down their growth during the heat of summer because it is hard for them to focus on growth when it is hot.  Apply liquid fertilizer at 1/2 strength once a month beginning in May and lasting through August. In September begin your regular fertilizer schedule for beautiful, fall roses.

Winter and Bare Root Roses

Fall Rose, 'Double Delight'

 Fall Rose, ‘Double Delight’

In the Desert Southwest, we are blessed with two different blooming seasons – spring and again in fall.  

While two bloom seasons is generally one more than many regions experience, roses don’t enjoy the heat of summer and go into summer dormancy.  That means that they just exist and don’t grow or bloom significantly. Their leaves may show signs of sunburn.

Fall Rose, 'Medallion'

 Fall Rose, ‘Medallion’

However, once September arrives and the days begin to grow shorter and temperatures begin to cool, it is time to lightly prune your rose bushes, which will stimulate new growth. 

Begin by pruning back 1/4 of the top growth, removing sunburned foliage and any flowers present.  

As always, prune back to an outward facing bud at an angle of 45 degrees.  Seal any pruning cuts larger than the diameter of a pencil with Elmer’s glue to prevent borers.

Fall is also time to fertilize roses in preparation for their fall bloom season.  Apply an organic fertilizer formulated for roses.  Afterward, be sure to water in well.

'Abraham Darby'

 ‘Abraham Darby’

**For those that want to go the extra step, I would recommend soil amendments such as compost and manure in addition to rose fertilizer, which results in greater growth, lush foliage and blooms over the long term.  

To do this, first make 4 – 5, six-inch deep holes around each rose, placing them at least 1 ft. from the center (I use the end of a broom handle for this).  Then apply a mixture of aged steer manure and alfalfa pellets (rabbit food) and pour into each hole.  Water in well.  

The aged manure improves the soil structure and slowly releases nutrients.  The alfalfa pellets release a type of alcohol as they break down that roses just love.

By lightly pruning and fertilizing in early fall, you’ll enjoy a fall filled with beautiful roses.