If your thumb isn't so green or your roses are just not blooming like your neighbors, don't fret. You can encourage more buds on your rose plants. You can even turn a rose plant that once only bloomed for a few weeks, into a plant that blooms for longer periods of time, perhaps the whole spring and summer. By simply taking good care of your rose plants and learning a couple of basic techniques, you will most likely see more buds the first season and certainly more in subsequent years.
Water your rose plants. Check the soil every week during the spring and fall months, and a couple times a week during the hot summer months. When the top inch of soil feels dry, it's time to water. Water the plants with about 1 to 2 inches of water. Water at the base of the plants and water slowly. If you have a soaker hose or drip irrigation system, it will make this step easier.
Fertilize your rose plants three times a year: in the early spring when the leaves begin to grow; just before the flower buds begin to open; and six weeks before the first frost. Use a fertilizer labeled for roses or a balanced fertilizer labeled 10-10-10. Read the dosing instructions on the label for how much fertilizer to apply since each fertilizer is different. Water after fertilizing.
Pinch or cut off the flowers as they begin to fade (called deadheading). Cut off just below the flower for bushes that are not blooming well. For bushes that are thriving, cut off just above the first five-leaflet leaf. Deadheading encourages more buds to grow, since you are stopping the bush from focusing its energy on making seed.
Prune your rose plants. Proper and consistent pruning will encourage your roses to grow more buds. Each kind of rose plant has different pruning needs, so always follow the pruning instructions that are applicable to your specific rose plant. However, in general, prune ¼ inch above a bud at a 45 degree angle that slants away from the bud. Prune away dead, diseased and damaged wood any time of year. In the early spring, a heavier pruning is necessary. At that time, remove weak and old stems and suckers completely away. You can then thin, shape and cut the rest of the canes down, usually to about one-third to one-half of the plant's original size.