Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I fertilize my roses?

Garden roses grow best in soil that is slightly acid with a pH range between 5.5 and 6.5. Test your soil to determine whether the acidity is within this range. The soil test will also provide you with the soil's nutrient content. If you need fertilizer, the report will tell you how much and what kind to use.

The fertilizer elements most likely to be deficient in rose beds are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. If you do not have your soil tested, you can apply these elements by using a balanced fertilizer such as 5-10-5, 4-8-4 or 4-8-6. Apply fertilizer to rose beds at the rate of 3 lbs to 100 sq. ft. or apply one fourth cup around each new plant or one half cup around each established rose plant. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the plant, scratch it into the soil surface and then water. Apply the fertilizer in spring when you see new growth and all danger of severe freezing has passed. A second application is recommended when the first flower buds form. Followed by a third application in early July. Do not fertilize roses after mid-August. Late season fertilization may stimulate growth. This could delay hardening in the fall and result in winter injury.