Food for Rose Bushes


Rose bushes are perennial flowering shrubs that thrive around the world. A rose bush is versatile, from miniature bushes a few inches high to tall bushes that shade a porch. With proper food, a rose bush rewards you with years of blooms and foliage.


Water before and after food application so the rose bush can absorb dissolved food nutrients throughout its root system.

Organic Food

Choose organic fertilizer for early spring feeding. The University of Minnesota suggests well-rotted manure, bone meal or other organic materials that decompose slowly through the season.

Soluble Food

Use a water-soluble fertilizer for frequent, short-term feeding. Roses show new growth within a few days as the liquid fertilizer is quickly absorbed and used by the bush.

Slow-Release Food

Select controlled release fertilizers for simple application. This fertilizer dissolves slowly and is absorbed by the rose bush over 4 to 6 weeks.

Mulch Food

Apply organic mulch such as pine needles, peat, wood chips or shavings around the rose bush. The mulch keeps weeds down, retains soil moisture and slowly decomposes for added feeding.


Apply the first food early in spring after pruning. Stop feeding your rose bushes in late summer or early fall before the dormant season.


  • Rose Culture
  • Proper Rose Care
Keywords: rose bush, rose fertilizer, rose food

About this Author

Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.