How to Fertilize Rose Bushes


Rose bushes are a hardy addition to any garden that provides excellent foliage and fragrant flowers. Encourage bushes to produce vibrant, healthy buds by feeding them annually with a chemical fertilizer or biannually with an organic fertilizer. For best results, avoid placing chemical fertilizers on rose bushes during their first year, as the roots are sensitive and chemical fertilizers can burn the root system, stunting growth.


Step 1

Mix the 10-10-10 fertilizer as directed by the manufacterer's instructions.

Step 2

Apply 1/2 cup to each rose plant by starting at the center of the plant and going outward in a spiral pattern until the mixture is used up.

Step 3

Water in the fertilizer well for maximum absorption.


Step 1

Heat the distilled water in a microwave-safe measuring cup for 2 minutes.

Step 2

Add the powdered fish and powdered seaweed and stir until any clumps are dissolved. Powdered fish provides the rose plants with its necessary nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The powdered seaweed adds additional potassium as well as natural plant hormones that aid the flowers in resisting disease.

Step 3

Add the Epsom salt and stir until the salts are dissolved. Epsom salt supplies magnesium, which aids the plant in nutrient absorption.

Step 4

Add the apple cider vinegar, molasses and coffee grounds and gently mix until all the clumps are gone. Apple cider vinegar adds acidity to the soil as well as trace minerals. Molasses gives the plants an iron and sugar boost to encourage vigorous blooming. Coffee grounds naturally increase and sustain an greater acidic pH in the soil.

Step 5

Pour the liquid rose food onto the roses at sunset to avoid foliage burns. Pour the mixture over the leaves and then water in the food that falls to the roots. This mixture provides enough food for four small rose plants or two large rose bushes.

Things You'll Need

  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • 3 cups distilled water
  • Microwave-safe measuring cup
  • 2 tbsp. powdered fish
  • 1 tsp. powdered seaweed
  • 1 tbsp. Epsom salts
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 6 tbsp. coffee grounds


  • Chemical Fertililzer
  • Coffee and Roses
  • Organic Fertilizer
Keywords: rose bush care, annual rose feeding, organic fertilizer

About this Author

Ann White is a freelance journalist with prior experience as a Corporate and Business Attorney and Family Law Mediator. She has written for multiple university newspapers and has published over 300 articles for publishers such as EHow and Garden Guides. White earned her Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.