Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ask Doug - "Why are my rose blooms so small?"

"Doug, my rose blooms are not as big as they have been in the past.  Any ideas on what is the cause?"

In the heat of the summer, roses consume more water and food than in the spring just to keep the plant metabolism going.  Unfortunately, most gardeners do not take this into account and roses tend to actually get less water and food in the summer.  After all, who wants to be out in the heat working on the garden when you can go to the beach, the zoo and all the other million things to do here in San Diego. 

Basically less food and water means smaller blooms in the summer.  So what can you do?  I recommend a slow release fertilizer for roses that only needs to be used twice per year.  The best rose food available in San Diego is Ada Perry’s Magic Formula.  This food is only available at Walter Andersen Nurseries in Point Loma and Poway.  Ada Perry’s Magic Formula is made up of blood meal, gypsum, epsom salts, bone meal and other micronutrients.  In others words, it is a terrific stew for making your roses happy. One twenty pound bag will feed about 30 roses.  Each rose bush gets 2 cups in January and 2 cups in July and always water your roses thoroughly before feeding.

Also, make sure to add some mulch to the roses to help the plant conserve water.  See my article below for more info on mulch.

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