Any rose that you don't fertilize

bellarosa(z5/IL)May 6, 2012

for me, it would have to be my climber, William Baffin. he's always healthy, blooms like crazy in June and then sporadically thereafter. He grows to at least 10 feet. do you have any roses that you don't fertilize?

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I keep a mulch of hay on my rose beds or encourage annual plants, grasses, vetch, annual flowers, to grow under them; otherwise I don't fertilize them. I have mostly old and older roses, which are perhaps thriftier than some moderns, and a heavy clay soil which seems to be tolerably fertile once amended with organic matter. The roses overall do pretty well; where they do have difficulties it seems to be due to drought--we don't water much either--or canker, even root rot, during exceptionally wet and chilly winters. Teas are particularly prone to this. I've been working on drainage, helped by the garden's being on a slope.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Mine get an occasional topdressing of blood, fish and bone in spring but more often than not, I don't bother....but I must emphasise, I do not grow any of them for large lush blooms, a number of them are wildlings and the rest are ramblers and shrubs which are grown informally without extra food or irrigation. None of them would win a prize in a show and are all grown as flowering shrubs alongside fruit and vegetables. For me, this works well, even on my poor sandy soil, but would be unsatisfactory for anyone wanting to grow gorgeous specimen roses for cutting or exhibition.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 4:24PM
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Hrose(6 A)

campanula so in other words your roses look like big old shrubs with only a bloom here and a bloom there...that's not kool surprised you even care to come on here and post

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 5:13PM
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ginni77(z 5)

To each his own... We all have roses for different reasons.

I usually fertilize all my roses with 10-10-10 every spring. Depending on their needs, I may do it again in mid-summer. I don't do it for growth or blooms as much as for keeping them healthy and able to fight off disease. A puny rose has a tougher time.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 5:30PM
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Campanula,one of my neighbors is a Rosarian, and he does the same as you. He uses only bone meal to keep a healthy root system. His roses are not the biggest or the showiest, but they are beautiful.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 7:47PM
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I do not understand why some people feel compelled to say rude things on this forum. It always shocks me when I see it, but I suppose I should be used to it by now.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 8:25PM
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Campanula----my roses are also big shrubby things ---I appreciate any blooms I get--there are many reasons why we can't always care for our roses they way we would like to do---after many health problems I'm thrilled to say my roses seem to know I love them and reward me with some lovely blooms---probably not show quality but gorgeous to me----I also love to come to GW to check on my younger healthier friends who are still able to do all the hard work-----Please keep the pictures coming----


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 9:16PM
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I do a lot of reading on the rose forums and a little posting. Campunala is one of the wisest and definitely most interesting people here. There have been times when I've been discouraged about gardening. I come here, read one of Campunala's posts, laugh my "arse" off, and feel a lot better. If Campunala shouldn't post here, I and a curse of a lot of others won't be back!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:11PM
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I agree with you Kitty----Campanula's post are always a lot of fun---and informative---


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:41PM
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Most years I scatter alfalfa (NPK 3-2-1, or thereabouts; analysis varies), once in the spring. I use a heavy mulch. I also return undiseased prunings chopped up to the ground beneath the roses, so I'm not taking many nutrients away.

A few roses have chlorotic leaves but I have an alkaline soil. Most of them look very green, grow robustly, and bloom well.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:18PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Rosefolly, we are getting some alfalfa sprouting from our "composted' horse manure, would you just let it grow to several inches tall, pull and leave as green mulch? I don't want it to go to seed or grow too long, it just mildews here once the fog hits and it gets a serious tap root.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:28AM
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My improved clay is fertile so I don't fertilize species roses and near-species shrubs or the big shrubs and climbers that make up the structure of my garden. I add cow manure now and then to improve the structure of the soil, not so much to fertilize the roses. They don't seem to need it and flower profusely in their season. OGR's and species roses do that, hrose, they do NOT have a bloom here and there like many modern roses. They give all at once and the shrubs can live forever.

I grow many modern roses, too, and I fertilize and prune them almost according to the rules. I realized yesterday, as I was pruning the bed with 40+ floribundas that many seemed to be near the end of their lives after only 18 years. I can't replant this large bed with roses because of replant disease so I shall have to think of something else to replace the roses.

Marianne in Sweden

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 4:17AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I give all my roses a good balanced granular time release fertilizer, sort of scratched in, around the drip line in the spring. I say "sort of" because it never gets done in very deep. Some times I'll add in some Epsom Salts but not always.

After that it's strictly foliar feeding with whatever mix of soluble fertilizers I have on hand at the time. I usually do it once a month. I've used Miracle Grow, Spray n Grow and several other types and sometimes a mix of two or three. I also add in SuperThrive and Messenger too. Cocktails anyone?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:37PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Oh, I am not taking umbrage - I have dished it out enough after all. And yep, Hrose, they are shrubby things but they do put on a tremendous show in their bloom season - Marianne is on the mark. All of my perennials and shrubs get by with very little because although the soil is thin, it is in good heart. It is the veggies which really take it out of the soil and it is these that get the lion's share of any extra fertiliser. I would try to rectify obvious deficiencies too, but there is a something to be said for growing plants hard - this winter, I know many people who have suffered terrible losses while my poor little plants have simply soldiered on, being quite inured to deprivation. Not much lush green growth, for certain, but what there is tends to be tough, rarely needs staking and survives our windy, unpredictable East Anglian seasons.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:59PM
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If I remember correctly, it was The Garden that wrote that British garden soils are generally overfed. Not so surprising when you consider that they have been cultivated and fertilized for centuries. I am re-reading Christopher Lloyd's The Well-tempered Garden and I am awed by all the staking he does, even of anthirrinums, quite inexplicable to me.

I am another mean gardener and support only Rudbeckia laciniata Goldball and a few Pacific Giant delphiniums, not all. Lanzentraeger, tallest of all delphs, needs no staking. I think dieting promotes long life, too. Over here we are told to divide the PG hybrids every fourth year at the very least but some of mine were planted in 2001 and are still thriving in the same place.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:53PM
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Mariannese, I didn't realize you had rose replant disease in Sweden. I knew it was in England. Is it all of Europe? Is there a definitive answer as to its cause? I read speculation about the cause being retention of aluminum(?) or some such in the soil, but that was awhile back.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 3:17PM
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Campanula, you are so special, one of a kind, to all of us!!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 6:49PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Since I have six different garden areas I often forget what I've fertilized and what I haven't, so I'm certain some haven't been. The ones that have get alfalfa meal once or twice a year which I sprinkle on and water in. I can't really do more than that and the roses are kind enough to forgive me and bloom anyway.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:59PM
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I thought the need for fertilizing depended on the soil structure and type of rose. Since our native soil isn't known for growing much more than weeds and cacti, we amend heavily with humus and water like crazy. After several years of regular feedings, I've gone to heavier applications of organic feeds and tapered off on granular. Salts build up in our clay soils and show up on leaf tips during heat and water stress of hot summers.

While some roses don't like to be heavily fertilized, I believe rosarians should have their soil tested and maybe a leaf tissue analysis done if they aren't sure whether their roses are fed properly.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 9:17PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I add Rose Tone and alfalfa each spring to 8 remaining HT's, 4 Austins, cl. Westerland, Rose de Rescht and SdlM. My Knock Out, Hybrid Musk, Flower Carpet, Gallica and other shrubs grow only with some mulch and what Mother Nature provides.

In general, the unfertilized roses look healthier than the rest. Better genes I suppose...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 11:11AM
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My guy grows a La Reine in part sun and it only gets leaves that fall from the Mulberry tree. It gets a spartan amount of water even when its hot. You should see it right now with all the rain we had. Covered from the ground up with blooms and the long uncut canes draping the ground with more flowers like a groundcover rose. There are plenty of dead canes inside which I always tell him to cut but no.....he just leaves it to grow without any intervention.

He is also doing this with a climbing pinkie and a mutabilis. I didn't think La Reine could grow without some extra attention but not a single speck of rust or blackspot. Not even mildew which mine got this year and on top of that this rose decided to wait to bloom until after the rains went by while my La Reine blossoms were ruined by the last set of storms.

He is very pleased with himself over this and I said don't forget who dug that huge hole and fixed up the soil! :)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 12:11PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Getting all contemptuous and rude about something you don't understand is really not a good idea, Hrose. Mature once-blooming shrub roses in fairly decent soil may need no fertilizing beyond their own decaying leaves and stems and whatever mulch you add--maybe just the tree leaves that blow in.

I have an old Madame Plantier that has spread about ten feet wide and is currently in spectacular full bloom, with maybe a thousand flowers. It is planted in largely unamended clay/silt fill dirt on a dry bank. I amended a small area for the little band plant and kept it fertilized and watered until it was big enough to take care of itself. For the past 20 years it has needed no more help than the wild multiflora roses that climb 20 feet tall in vacant lots and bloom every year.

I do fertilize my repeat bloomers regularly though lightly. Last week they got a spoonful of lawn fertilizer for their second feed. Generally, the more pruned material you remove from a plant, the more fertilizer it needs. Soils with ample clay or organic content retain most nutrients.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 12:43PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Aw, thank you, dear rosy mates - In truth, soil fertility is becoming more of an issue for me since access to uncontaminated horse manure is getting harder so I have been turning to other methods such as green manures and even leaving bits fallow for a year. Because my allotment is such a jumble, when (if) I weed, I lazily stash the weeds out of sight, usually under the nearest rose bush. I am an ethusuastic (if a bit dangerous) hoer (no, that cannot be the word? hoe user?)leaving the slashed tops where they fall (unless they are screamingly visible and I am feeling a bit anal) so I suspect there is usually a nice helpful layer of decaying plant material around the more permanent plants (the roses and stuff like rhubarb). I had not really thought too hard about the roses though, as they don't cause me much grief - unlike the fruit trees and the endless faffing about early and late blight, pear midge, asparagus beetle. peach leaf curl....and on and on - the roses simply get by without needing anything more than the odd haircut and admiring glance every so often.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 5:41PM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

There are lots of roses that by their nature will not need fertilizing. Species roses, and most once-bloomers, for instance.

I tend to fertilize mine according to their bloom cycle. When I gardened in California this worked great - fertilize everything right after each bloom cycle. Worked out to roughly every 6 weeks for repeat blooming roses. Here in Washington I only get 2 or 3 bloom cycles and I find I have to anticipate each one with the fertilizer to get best results. works out to once in spring and once in summer for most of the modern repeat blooming roses.

Large, well-established, shrubby roses don't need much fertilizer, even in gravelly soil that doesn't retain nutrients. Buff Beauty, for instance, gets fertilized once in spring, as she only blooms twice anyway, no matter how often I fertilize her. But, I'm using organics, which last a lot longer than synthetics. And all my roses get a top dressing of some kind of manure in late winter or early spring. I wouldn't fertilize rugosas or species roses. Most large climbers and ramblers seem to only need annual fertilizing like any other shrub.

The modern hybrids get regular fertilizing as my soil does not retain nutrients, and they need the help if I want them to keep growing and producing over the year.

As people have noticed in above posts, plants that aren't pushed with more water and nutrients than they really need are better able to handle adverse conditions and so long as they aren't positively struggling, they are less susceptible to diseases and insects and to drought stress.

It's a myth that roses require lots of water and fertilizer. If you're going for Queen of the Show, yes, you will have to force excessive growth with excessive amounts of water and fertilizer. If you just want your rose to grow and produce nicely, then average water and fertilizer is plenty for most roses. What 'average' consists of will vary with your soil and climate. And constantly topdressing with organic material like pulled weeds or fallen leaves will reduce the need for adding fertilizers.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:14AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

"Troll (internet) -- One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument." -- Urban Dictionary.

Crepuscule, Le Vesuve I've never fertilized. Some years I don't get to any of the roses. Some do fine, others bloom a little less. I do think they need adequate water. No water, no new growth = no flowers.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 12:39PM
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