While at the moment, I have exactly one mini-rose, I'm expecting an
order from Jackson Perkins and I've been studying.
I looked at a seemingly miraculous all-in-one rose & flower care, 3
systemic products in one. Fertilizes, feeds and renews! Insect
control! Disease control! One application protects for up to 6 weeks!
(Bayer Advanced Garden). You put 2 tbs. in a gallon of water, water
rose, and ta dum! takes care of everything that could possible ail a
Seems too good to be true ...
Who knows. I have my doubts but I'd be interested in hearing if this
is true or not. Roses require extensive and regular maintenance:
feeding, watering, pruning, insect and fungus control, some winter
protection, removal of spent flowers, etc. Most roses grow best in
full sun and prefer organic fertilizers (rotted manure, fish emulsion,
Of course it's too good to be true.
It's like using statin drugs and aspirin to prevent heart attacks. In some
specific circumstances, it works. Most of the time, it's just a waste of
money. And in some circumstances can it cause great harm.
Feed them only when they need to be fed. Control insects only when they need
to be controlled. And treat only the diseases that need to be treated. In
other words, don't just dump fertilizer, insecticide and other chemicals on
them unless there is a specific need to do so. They'll also be happier and
healthier if you address issues in a natural rather than chemical way.
Beautiful roses grew long before magic chemicals were invented.
Or another way to look at it: Why spend $50 on chemicals when you could
replace a failed rose for $15? If inexpensive organic methods fail, replace
them instead of making a chemical company rich.
Healthy soil to begin with. Compost mulch each year. Spacing and pruning to
encourage good air circulation. Spray them with compost tea. Weed the area
around them. All fairly easy and inexpensive. And far better than spending a
fortune on chemicals to treat problems that don't exist. And if it doesn't
work, replacing it all is still less expensive than polluting them with
unnecessary, perhaps even harmful chemicals.
In a word: YES! But one word will not suffice.
First of all, roses should not be fed the first year they are in
the ground. You want the plant to develop a strong root system
first, in order to support a vigorous growth of flowers and
foliage. Any garden book will tell you how to plant a rose. Just
add a generous amount of superphosphate or bonemeal into the bottom
of the planting hole, making sure that this is in an area below the
new plant and not directly touching the roots. Both items (one
chemical and one organic) provide phosphorus, which is the only
nutrient that does not readily dissolve and move through the soil
(and thus must be in place before planting). Phosphorus promotes
both root growth and flowering.
If the plants flower in their first year, that's okay. But don't
feed to promote flowering until the second spring. Then, feeding
should be adjusted towards your particular soil. Roses prefer a
slightly acidic soil. If your soil or water are alkaline, feed
with acidic fertilizers. If your soil is very acidic, you might
have to add lime. There is no one magic recipe.
My soil is quite alkaline and my water is slightly aklaline. I
start the spring with a jolt of acid; see the 15 March entry in my
Garden Diary at
<URL:http://www.rossde.com/garden/diary/index.html . After that, Ifeed my roses about monthly. One month, I use ammonium sulfate to
provide more acid and nitrogen. The next month, I use Bayer's
2-in-1 Rose & Flower Care granules for both nutrients and pest
control. Every so often, I toss another two handsful of gypsum
around each rose to keep my clay soil porous. I keep feeding
through October. The roses keep blooming until I prune them in
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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