“I don’t know whether nice people tend to grow roses or growing roses makes people nice.” – Roland A. Browne
It’s no secret that I love roses. Specifically my roses. You see, in the front of my home there are trellises full of roses and each morning I take a few moments to myself, before anyone else wakes, and walk around my yard and look, smell, and spend a few quiet moments with my beloved climbing roses.
My roses and I did not always have such a love affair. In the early days of my marriage I simply did not know the best ways to care for my roses. I would buy whatever brands of plant food, pruners, and clippers my closest super-center could provide. In the summers, I was not always diligent in watering my pretties. And in the fall, I did not always remember to mulch and cut back my roses either.
It wasn’t until two years ago when my roses simply stopped blooming that I realized I had an issue. I started researching and experimenting natural rose remedies from old Farmer’s Almanacs and within a year my roses had not only started blooming again but had doubled the size of their blooms as well.
Here are a few tips I have picked up along the way:
- If you are unsure what type of soil you have, get a soil test done. Knowing a bit about your soil will be helpful in your planning what types of food, mulch, and additives your plants need.
Banana peels are your friend. Smash the peels flat and bury them 4-6 inches at the base of the plants. They provide potassium that every rose bush needs to bloom.
Coffee grounds are awesome too! As most rose bushes thrive slightly acidic soil, sprinkling organic, used, cold coffee grounds around your rose bushes in Spring and Fall will help boost your plants as well.
Fertilize and place compost around the base of your bushes seasonally. A good natural alternative? Fish tank water. Clean, not murky fish tank water is high in nitrogen and your roses will love it.
Manure. Using bagged manure in the Spring will help roses as well. Be sure to place 4-6 cups per plant under your mulch after the Spring rains end.
Bone meal. Pick up bone mill at your local co-op for your roses as it’s a good source of phosphorus. This will help stabilize rose bush root growth all season long, use a half cup each time you fertilize your lawn and roses.
Kelp. This rich gem of the sea is rich in potassium and will help your roses withstand disease and cold better. Simply crush a few tablets of potassium and add it to your liquid fertilizer during scheduled watering.
My biggest secret? I came up with my own DIY, Organic rose plant food mix. The best part? This blend costs under $0.25 to make and I use it twice monthly to water my rose bushes and they have loved it. Here’s how I make it:
- 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Cup citrus Soda
- 1/4 Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Copper Penny
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1/2 Gallon Water
- Place all ingredients into a 1 gallon bottle, and let sit for three days. When watering roses, place 1/4 cup mixture to one gallon water for feeding weekly, and seasonally after pruning. This mixture will last for up to one year, properly labeled, and kept away from heat.
- Be sure to use non-cola citrus soda, to prevent root and leaf rot from caramel color and excessive acidity. Enjoy!
Here’s to a greener home,