The Best Fertilizer for Roses


To help you make the best choice, I've compiled a list of our top picks for rose bush fertilizer.

If you are looking for the best fertilizer for roses, you have come to the right place. This blog post will discuss the best organic and inorganic fertilizer options for rose bushes.

We will also discuss the best time to fertilize roses for the best growth and the primary nutrients that rose bushes need during the growing season for healthy root growth and big beautiful blooms!

 My Quick Picks: The Best Fertilizers for Roses

rose garden

The Difference Between Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers

Identifying different types of fertilizers requires understanding the difference between organic and inorganic varieties. Organic fertilizer is derived from natural plant or animal sources, such as composted food scraps, fish bones, and bone meal.

Nutrients in organic fertilizer come from plants but are less abundant than inorganic fertilizer, so they release over a longer period.

Inorganic fertilizers come from mineral deposits that are then manufactured into synthetic compounds. Types of inorganic manure include potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate.

The nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium percentages will be listed if you’re shopping for inorganic fertilizer, which you can find at hardware stores and garden centers. If a bag of inorganic fertilizer reads 10-30-10, it comprises 10 percent nitrogen, 30 percent phosphorus, and 10 percent potassium.

pink rose flower on bush

Pros and Cons

Like most things in life, inorganic fertilizer has its pros and cons. You’ll need organic or inorganic fertilizer depending on your soil and what you’re growing.

Using inorganic fertilizer can give your plants only the nutrients they need without overdosing on others. For example, if your soil is potassium deficient, you can find an inorganic fertilizer to supply your plants that measures higher in potassium.

Inorganic fertilizer has its own set of concerns. It does include additional components that can accumulate over time and harm the soil, such as excessive amounts of salt. Overwatering plants given inorganic fertilizer can also result in leaching, which removes vital elements like nitrogen before the plant can absorb them.


The Best Fertilizer for Roses

Growing roses can be a rewarding hobby, but it’s also important to remember that your rose bushes need to be fed and cared for to grow strong and healthy. This means knowing which fertilizers work best with different roses and which fertilizers are best for certain kinds of soil.

Roses are notoriously finicky plants that require a delicate balance of nutrients to stay healthy and bloom beautifully. With so many different products on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for your roses. To help you make the best choice, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for rose bush fertilizer.


1) Down to Earth Organic Rose & Flower Fertilizer Mix 4-8-4

The Advanced 16-4-8 Balanced NPK is an all-purpose lawn and garden liquid plant food that can be used on roses, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees.

It has a guaranteed analysis of 16% nitrogen (N), 4% phosphorus (P), and 8% potassium (K).

The NPK ratio makes it perfect for all plants, including roses, because it provides the right amount of nutrients needed by rose bushes.

Down to Earth Organic Rose & Flower Fertilizer Mix

2) Neptune’s Harvest Organic Hydrolized Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

Neptune’s Harvest Organic Hydrolized Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1 is an all-natural, water-soluble fertilizer that feeds plants through their leaves and roots.

Made with organic materials, it contains chelated trace minerals and seaweed extract to help strengthen plant growth and beneficial soil microbes to improve soil health. This product can be used in all seasons, on all plants and soils – it does not burn plants!

3) Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Rose Plant Food

Endorsed by the American Rose Society, Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Rose Plant Food is a great choice for all rose bush types and soil conditions. This plant food provides nutrients for all stages of plant growth, including root development, blooming, fruit production, and overall health. The formula works in all soil types and growing conditions—including pots, containers, and hydroponics systems—and can be used on raised beds or hanging baskets. Simply take the granular fertilizer and dilute it in a bucket or watering can. For best results, feed your roses every two weeks.

No matter which fertilizer you choose, remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply it. Over-fertilizing can damage your rose bushes, so it’s important to be mindful of the amount you use.

miracle gro rose food

4) FoxFarm Liquid Nutrient Trio Soil Formula: Big Bloom, Grow Big, Tiger Bloom

Fox Farm’s Liquid Nutrient Trio is complete and balanced plant food for all stages of plant growth. As one of the best fertilizers for roses, it contains macro (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium), secondary (magnesium, sulfur), and micronutrients essential to strong growing plants. It also contains humates which help create the optimum pH balance in your soil to avoid nutrient deficiencies.

  • Big Bloom, Grow Big, and Tiger Bloom — The Right Juice for the Right Use!
  • Start with Grow Big for abundant green growth.
  • Switch to Tiger Bloom at the first sign of bud set or flowering
  • Use Big Bloom throughout all growing cycles to heal root systems and increase nutrient cycling

This is one of the most popular organic fertilizers on this list because it’s easy to use and highly effective at providing plants with everything they need when they need it. The only downside is that you have to mix the fertilizer before using it—but once you get used to this process, it shouldn’t be too difficult or time-consuming!

You simply add the fertilizer to your watering container or use it with a no-clog hose end sprayer, siphon mixer, or drip irrigation. Always adjust fertilization rates to plant response.

FoxFarm Liquid Nutrient Trio Soil Formula

yellow rose flowers on bush

5) Dr. Earth Total Advantage Rose & Flower Fertilizer

Dr. Earth Total Advantage Rose & Flower Fertilizer contains a complete NPK fertilizer that includes micronutrients, humic acid, fulvic acid, beneficial bacteria, and natural plant food ingredients.

This product also contains natural plant growth stimulants and natural plant disease control agents to ensure your plants are thriving.

The Dr. Earth brand is one of the most trusted brands in organic gardening products because they offer products with quality ingredients without any synthetic chemicals or additives that may harm your garden or petals on roses.

Dr. Earth Organic & Natural MINI Total Advantage Rose & Flower Fertilizer

6) Jobe’s Rose Fertilizer Spikes 12 Pack, 4-4-4 Time Release Fertilizer for All Shrub Types and Roses, Feeds Plants for Months

Jobe’s Rose Fertilizer Spikes are a great option to provide your roses with both slow and quick-release nutrients. These spikes will not burn your plants or make them appear yellow or leggy. Each spike contains nutrients that work together to improve the health of your roses while keeping them looking their best all year round.

This product is recommended by many gardeners because it works well, is easy to use, and is high quality at an affordable price point. It’s perfect for feeding roses (and other flowers) throughout the growing season.

jobes rose fertilizer bags

7) Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed Rose Food

This easy-to-use product comes in a convenient shaker bottle, so you can apply it directly to your rose bushes. It’s formulated with vital nutrients that will help promote strong growth and beautiful blooms.

Plus, the slow-release formula means that your plants will benefit from continuous feeding for up to 3 months!

miracle gro shake and feed

8) Heirloom Roses® Founders Fish Fertilizer

This bottle of fertilizer is stinky, but that’s what makes it the best choice for your plants. Processed in the Pacific Northwest, it is derived from acidulated fish solubles stabilized with phosphoric acid and contains a variety of species of fish for greater mineralization.

The organic matter of the decomposed fish feeds mycorrhizas, building healthy bacteria throughout the soil to promote robust plant with no phytotoxic effects or root burn.

This enables the plant to readily receive key nutrients. To use as a foliar or soil application, mix 4 oz. of fertilizer per gallon of water to create the solution and apply 1 gal. of solution per 1,000 sq ft.

Heirloom Roses Founder’s Fish Fertilizer

PRO TIP: I use fish emulsion fertilizer for my houseplants because they LOVE it! I have a blog post all about fish emulsion fertilizer HERE. 

FAQS for Fertilizing Roses

How often should I fertilize my roses?

Apply a yearly organic fertilizer during the high growth season, beginning in early spring and ending four weeks before the rose begins blooming. If the flower has been blooming before you get to dormancy, it’s possible you can also apply chemicals to fertilize the flower. Application of fertilizer too quickly and late is harmful to the flowering roses and causes weaker growth of the flower.

Roses grown in containers are heavy feeders and require a higher frequency of fertilization than those grown in gardens. Feed container roses once per week or when your foliage is starting to yellow.

pink roses

What is the Best Time to Fertilize Rose Plants?

The best time to fertilize roses is in the spring before new growth begins. This will give the rose bush the nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy leaves, stems, and flowers.

To encourage new growth, it is also essential to fertilize roses even after blooming in the late summer or early fall.

What Are the Essential Nutrients That Roses Need?

Roses need several essential nutrients to thrive, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Nitrogen is important for the growth of leaves and stems, while phosphorus is important for the development of roots and flowers.

Phosphorus and potassium are the two main nutrients that support strong roots. Specifically, they encourage plants to put down a dense collection of new roots and strengthen existing roots as they develop. To stimulate beautiful blooms, choose fertilizers with a higher percentage of phosphorus compared to the percentage of nitrogen and potassium. Healthy flowers start with vigorous root systems, and a potassium boost can ensure your flowers get a good start.

How do I know if my roses need to be fertilized?

If your roses are not growing as quickly as they should be, or if the leaves are yellowing, this is a sign that they may need to be fertilized.

Another sign that roses need fertilizer is if the flowers are small or fewer in number than usual.

If you see any of these signs, it is best to fertilize your roses as soon as possible.

What Organic Fertilizer Options?

There are many organic fertilizer options available on the market. Each of these organic fertilizers has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Here are five of the best organic fertilizer options for rose bushes:

  • Compost is an excellent organic fertilizer option because it is rich in nutrients and helps improve soil health. However, it can take several months for compost to break down and become available to plants.
  • Manure is another good organic fertilizer option. It is also rich in nutrients and helps improve soil health. However, manure can be difficult to find and can be smelly.
  • Fish emulsion is an excellent organic fertilizer for roses because it is nutrient-rich and relatively inexpensive. It can, however, be rather stinky.

What is n-p-k ratio?

The n-p-k ratio is the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in a fertilizer.

A quick note here about the NPK ratios given on the various rose fertilizers: the N is for up (top part of the bush or plant), P is for down (the root system of the bush or plant), and K is for all around (good for the entire bush or plant systems). Together, they make for the mix to keep the rose bush healthy and happy.

How do you get the most beautiful flowers?

Rose gardeners know that to get the biggest rose bush flowers, you must fertilize your roses regularly. Roses are heavy feeders and require a higher frequency of fertilization than those grown in gardens. Feed container roses once per week or when your foliage is starting to yellow.

Can I use coffee grounds for my roses?

Coffee grounds are best used as compost material or mulch rather than a fertilizer.

While coffee grounds contain nitrogen, the amount is very low and insufficient to provide adequate nutrition for roses.

In addition, coffee grounds can make the soil too acidic for roses to grow properly.

If you use coffee grounds in your garden, mix them with other materials to create a balanced compost mixture.

What if my roses have yellow leaves?

Yellow leaves on roses can be caused by various factors, including disease, pests, poor drainage, or lack of nutrients. If your roses have yellow leaves, it is best to consult a professional to diagnose the problem and determine the best course of treatment.

Fertilizing your roses with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer can help to green up the leaves. However, it is important to know that too much nitrogen can also cause yellow leaves.

If unsure how to fertilize your roses, it is best to consult a professional or ask for advice at your local garden center.


No matter which fertilizer you choose, your rose bushes will thank you for giving them the nutrition they need to thrive. Regular applications throughout the growing season will allow you to enjoy beautiful blooms all summer!

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