6 Best Fertilizers for Roses 2017

There are so many rose fertilizers to choose from and each gardener swears by the one that they’ve “been using for years!” to yield healthy, beautiful plants.

So how do you narrow down the choices? What are the basic types to choose from and what can you purchase ready-to-use if you don’t have the time, space or resources to whip up a batch of fresh-from-the-kitchen-pantry fertilizer?

We have all the answers for you below.

In our guide, we’ll highlight the best fertilizer for roses in addition to providing you with a bit of useful information that will help you understand the differences between them.

Get more blooms and healthier foliage by incorporating any of these great fertilizers to your current gardening routine.

Top 6 Fertilizers for Roses Chart

PictureNameTypePriceRating (1-5)
PictureNameTypePriceRating (1-5)
1. Jobe's Rose Fertilizer SpikesSpikes$4.7
2. Down To Earth 5-Pound Alfalfa Meal 2.5-0.5-2.5 07805Alfalfa Meal$$4.6
3. Pennington Epsom Salt, 7-PoundEpsom Salt$4.5
4. Charlie's Compost 10 lbChicken Manure Compost$$$$4.4
5. Starwest Botanicals Organic Kelp Powder, 1 PoundKelp Powder$$4.4
6. Hoffman 20505 Dehydrated Super Manure 4-2-3, 5 PoundsChicken Manure$$$4.4

Types of Fertilizer

Since fertilizer comes in a variety of shapes and forms, we thought we’d go over the most popular ones with you.

  • Spikes. Spikes are designed to be punctured into the ground at the base of the plant.

They will slowly release their nutrients over time with watering, spreading them directly below the soil and into the roots.

  • Granular. These are solid granules of fertilizer that vary in size based on the manufacturer and the plants that they are designed to nourish.

These will need to be worked into the soil manually in order for them to benefit the plant and once they are, they will slowly break down and release their nutrients to the plant.

Many gardeners will use Epsom salt or (magnesium sulfate) meals as a part of their annual feeding regimen, which is why we have included some in our table!

  • Liquid. Usually available in the concentrated form, these need to be diluted with water and then applied around the base of the plant. The water will soak down through the soil and be absorbed by the roots.

The Small Details Make a Huge Difference

Remember that there are so many small details that can make a huge difference in a fertilizer’s overall effectiveness.

The time of day, the outdoor temperature as well as the season will affect how the rose uses the fertilizer, and on that note, keep in mind that indoor roses have much different needs than outdoor roses.

Your soil itself will also determine whether or not the fertilizer can do its job. Unbalanced pH levels can prevent the nutrients from doing their job, and even the best fertilizer for roses wouldn’t work if your soil is off tilt.

If you’ve tried numerous products without success, we suggest you have your soil tested.

Going Natural – Use Manure

Another great alternative that rose experts turn to is animal manure.

Animals that have a high amount of alfalfa in their diet produce excellent rose “food” fertilizer – usually cows and horses.

Chicken manure is another great choice since it has a high nitrogen content, which encourages more foliage production and taller plants.

Those of you who don’t have a farm nearby can purchase dehydrated manures sold in a box, such as the Hoffman Super Manure that we’ve included in our table.

The Numbers

You’ll often see ratio numbers listed on the fertilizer boxes, and those number are referring to the percentage (by weight) of the three major nutrients that plants need: Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium.

The numbers are always listed in the same order on any brand of fertilizer – going from N-P-K or percentage of nitrogen-percentage of phosphorous-percentage of potassium.

Top 3 Best Fertilizer for Roses Reviews

1. Jobe’s Rose Fertilizer Spikes

Jobe’s is a popular brand in the fertilizer spike category and if you’re the type of gardener who loves to have beautiful, thriving rose bushes without a huge time investment, this is the right product for you.

Each spike contains a mixture of 9% nitrogen (for healthy, bushy foliage), 12% phosphorous (to promote a healthy root system) and 9% potassium (also known as potash to help with nutrient absorption and produce larger blooms).

The number of spikes you place around each plant depends on the overall plant diameter (see label for details).

Add them to soil in the early spring and they’ll feed the plant for up to 8 weeks!

This is definitely one of the most convenient options on our list.

2. Down To Earth 5-Pound Alfalfa Meal

Alfalfa meal is one of the go-to fertilizers for those who are passionate about growing beautiful, healthy roses, so if spikes aren’t the right answer, this is a great alternative.

This is a classic example of how one plant can help another. Alfalfa is rich in calcium, iron, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus, triaconatol, zinc and numerous vitamins, which are all extremely beneficial to both plant and blooms.

If compost and other fertilizers have never worked for you, we suggest you give this a try! Chances are the other products were lacking some nutrients or they were available in the wrong proportions, but this does the trick to get many rose bushes to look their best.

One other thing we love about this brand is that the box itself is compostable! Once it’s empty, just throw it in the compost bin and let nature work its magic.

3. Pennington Epsom Salt

Epsom salt can be very useful to some gardeners, but not all of them.

Since Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate – magnesium aiding in nutrient absorption and strengthening cell walls and sulfur helps produce vitamins, amino acids and enzymes – some soils area already rich enough in both that additional amounts could potentially burn a plant.

This product can be very useful if you have soil that is magnesium deficient, and the salt can be worked into the soil or diluted in water and applied to the leaves.

We recommend more individual research about this fertilizer before you try it, but it is a great product for roses when used correctly!

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