GREATER MILWAUKEE ROSE SOCIETY
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This page was most recently updated on 3/20/2013
Frequently Asked Questions
FEEDING & WATERING:
Should I water the rose bush or only the ground?
- The ground is preferable. It lessons the chances of disease.
- On extremely hot days, roses, like us, enjoy and can benefit from a good sprinkling. Just don’t do it in the heat of the day. Late afternoon is best.
How often do I need to water?
- This depends on weather conditions. Typical week with moisture available through rains, not so much. Less natural moisture, the more you have to do. Extraordinarily high temperatures, you may need to water every day to keep the roses hydrated and healthy.
When is the best time to water?
- The roses’ best time may not be your best time. Try for early morning. This way the plant takes up the moisture and prepares for the day. Evening can be tricky as the plant remains wet into the night, promoting disease if the temperature and humidity is just right.
What type of fertilizer should I use? Water soluble, granular, extended release?
- Some people go out and buy the cheapest they can find. Some only use organics. Find what works best for you. Roses aren’t too picky, actually. Just give them a food source. The more they eat, the larger their blooms and new growth. Sort of like us! And try to mix up their diet. We can’t survive on just Twinkies! Neither can roses.
- A good rule of thumb for the minimum-fertilizing program is to do it on the major summer holidays: Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.
How often should I feed?
- As often as you might like. See above. But be cautious. Most synthetic fertilizers are salt-based in some manner. Unless you water often, the salts may tend to build up in the soil, affecting your plant.
So what are the numbers on a fertilizer container all about?
- Usually you will spot three numbers: 10 – 10 – 10; 54 - 0 – 0; etc. These represent the active amounts by percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively, in the fertilizer. Nitrogen is great for good green growth. Phosphorus for great bloom color and size; and potassium for over-all vigor, strong canes and roots. A balanced fertilizer, the 10 – 10 – 10, is sufficient for the plants. Higher numbers, better results. Perhaps you may even want to play with these numbers. More nitrogen in the spring; more phosphorus during the bloom time. But, be sure to stop all fertilizing by Labor Day in our area. The bushes need to get the hint that it is time to slow down for winter.