Feeding and mulching roses

Feeding and mulching your roses will ensure that you get the best blooms possible
Feeding and mulching your roses will ensure that you get the best blooms possible | Source

Basics of rose care

There are five basics of rose care which are as follows:

1. Keep the rose moist at all times without letting it become waterlogged.

2. Feed the rose generously and frequently.

3. Keep pests to a minimum which usually isn’t a problem if your roses are well-watered and well-fed they will have good resistance to pests.

4. Prune your roses once a year in early Spring before growth starts.

5. Mulching is also essential and has many benefits.

Two of the above aspects of rose care will be considered in this hub i.e.feeding and mulching.

Feeding roses

There are two main reasons for feeding roses. Firstly,well-fed roses have better growth and produce longer-lasting blooms. Secondly, healthier roses are better at resisting disease.

There are also two ways of feeding roses-using feed on and in the soil around the base of the plant and foliage feeding during the growing season and when the roses are blooming.

Feeding at ground level is best done in Spring and after flowering in June. For good blooms a spray foliage feed is also recommended fortnightly during the blooming season and tomato feed is recommended for this. Spray foliage feeding is most important for container plants but it is not advisable to spray plants in full sun as the leaves will become burnt.

Before feeding and mulching at ground level, it is important to clean up any debris around the base of the plant. Some gardeners recommend a third feed after midsummer as well as the two feeds outlined above. The correct granular feed must be used which is a 5-10-10 mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen is important for top growth although too much of it will produce more leaves than flowers. Phosphorus is essential for good blooms and potassium is important for root development. The instructions for the amount to feed per plant will be on the label of the fertilizer and it is important to use the right amount by spreading the granular feed around the base of the plant. There is another secret ingredient that rose-growers use which is epsom salts. Epsom salts are not usually available in garden centers but can be bought in a pharmacy or drug store. Epsom salts contain magnesium which facilitates vigorous young growth from the base of the plant if applied in early Spring with the first feed of the other granular feed mixture outlined above.

Mulching roses

Mulching roses has many benefits. It conserves moisture during dry weather and it improves soil texture.It also improves the nutrition in the soil as earthworms work the mulch into the layer of soil beneath. It keeps weeds to a minimum as well as reducing the amount of black spot and other diseases.

Composted mulch is recommended. For example, composted bark can be used,composted bark and manure mixture or compost from your own garden. Alternatively, a compost mixture can be purchased from the garden center.

If using manure, it is important to ensure that it is well-rotted as fresh manure will burn the roots of plants. It is best to spread a layer of mulch/compost over the ground on top of the granular feed mixture, keeping it away from the stem of the plant. although mulching is traditionally done in Spring, it can also be done in Spring and Autumn for most benefit.


For further advice and a summary of the information in this hub I refer you to the following link to a video on feeding and mulching roses which is very informative. Only two of the aspects of rose care are covered in this hub i.e. feeding and mulching.If you intend to grow roses well, you will also need to know about the variety to choose for maximum disease resistance. The site for your rose plants is also important as roses mostly prefer a sunny location. Furthermore, pruning is an important skill to learn when dealing with roses. You need to know what to prune, when to prune and how to prune.

Finally, roses have very specific needs for the right amount of water which has to be regulated for optimum growth and blooms.

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