Homemade Rose Fertilizer Recipes

Save money by making your own rose fertilizer


Though alfalfa tea is one of my favorite rose fertilizers, it's not always convenient to make, since it takes some time and it has an unpleasant odor (See how to make it here).

How to make rose fertilizer - great for clematis too!

Following is a list of rose fertilizers that I have had success with. The type of fertilizer you use all depends on how healthy your soil is and the type of soil you have. If one fertilizer doesn't seem to work for you, don't be afraid to try another one the next time, just don't over fertilize because that will put more stress on your plants than if you didn't fertilize at all. Generally, you should fertilize every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.

Rose Fertilizer for Clay Soil

To be applied after late winter pruning and after fall pruning

  • 8 cups alfalfa meal
  • 2 cups bone meal
  • 2 cups cottonseed meal
  • 2 cups rock phosphate
  • 1 part blood meal
  • 1 part Epsom salts

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 cup of greensand (add for fall rose bush plantings)

Wear a dust mask and mix the above ingredients thoroughly. Apply one cup of fertilizer around the base of small miniature roses and two cups of fertilizer around the base of all other established rose bushes. Scratch into the surface of the soil and water well.

If your soil pH runs on the low side, reduce the amount of Epsom salts to 1/2 cup or less.

This is a slow release fertilizer that should not burn your plants.

Rose Fertilizer for Sandy Soil

To be applied after late winter pruning and after fall pruning

  • 8 cups alfalfa meal
  • 2 cups bone meal
  • 2 cups cottonseed meal
  • 1 part blood meal
  • 1/2 cup rock phosphate

Wear a dust mask and mix the above ingredients thoroughly. Apply one cup of fertilizer around the base of small miniature roses and two cups of fertilizer around the base of all other established rose bushes. Apply a 2" layer of compost around the plant along with the fertilizer and scratch into the surface of the soil and water well.

This is a slow release fertilizer that should not burn your plants.

Liquid Rose Fertilizer

To be applied in early Spring - enough for 4 rose bushes

  • 3 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons fish emulsion
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon kelp powder
  • 1 teaspoon Epsom salts

Thoroughly mix the above ingredients in a glass bowl. Allow mixture to cool. Thoroughly water the area around each rose bush and apply about 3/4 of a cup of the fertilizer around the base of each bush. Water it in. Feed the roses once more in late summer when they start to bloom again for cooler weather.

Other Types of Organic Rose Fertilizer

  • Coffee Grounds - Scratch 1/2 cup of used coffee grounds into the top inch of soil around each bush twice a year.
  • Compost - Some roses such as Rugosa roses, prefer not to be fertilizer, so compost applied annually is just water they like. Everything you need to know about composting can be found here.
  • Compost tea - If you are looking for a more fast acting fertilizing, try compost tea. It's natural, inexpensive and easy to make yourself. See how to make it here.
  • Alfalfa tea - Alfalfa tea is easily made at home in a large trash can. Check out how to make it here.
  • Rose-Tone - If you don't want to make your own fertilizer, Espoma makes a wonderful line of organic fertilizers.

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