How to Get More Rose Blooms

How to get more rose blooms

I love roses, and I’m always looking for more tricks and techniques to get my roses to bloom with more flowers and for the flowers to last as long as possible!

I work at a garden nursery where we grow roses for sale in garden centers, and I have accrued lots of first-hand knowledge. In this post, I’ll share all my best tips…

To get more rose blooms, I recommend planting roses in good moisture-retaining compost and locating the roses in at least 6 hours of sunlight. Use a granular, rose-specific fertilizer to provide the right balance of nutrients to increase flowering. Prune and deadhead roses continually throughout the summer to stimulate more flowers. 

Keep reading for exactly how to stimulate more flowers that last much longer so your rose can flower through Spring, Summer, and Fall…

Use the Right Fertilizer to Increase Rose Blooms

Use a specific product such as miracle-gro granular fertilizer which contains the right balance of nutrients for more rose blooms.
I personally use this specific product (miracle-gro granular fertilizer), which contains the right balance of nutrients for more rose blooms. My roses have grown and flowered more each year I have used it.

It is important to use fertilizer to get the best display of flowers, as roses are relatively heavy feeders. However, I should warn you that one of the biggest threats to rose blooms is using too much fertilizer. If you apply too much, then the high nitrogen levels stimulate lots of green lush foliage growth rather than blooms.

The excessive new growth is more susceptible to pests, diseases, and frost damage and displays fewer flowers which is why it is so important to use the right balance of fertilizer to get roses to bloom more.

I can assure you that I have had better results using a granular fertilizer in the Spring and then again in the Summer, which releases the nutrients slowly in the soil throughout the season rather than in one go, as with a liquid fertilizer.

This enables the roots to uptake the required nutrients to support bloom development and reduces the risk of using too high a concentration of fertilizer which can prevent your rose from blooming.

(Read my article, why is my rose not blooming? for a troubleshooting guide).

What fertilizer should you use for your rose? I hear you ask! If unsure, use a fertilizer specific to roses, as can be seen in the picture. This helps you be a little more specific and takes the stress away of deciding what fertilizer to use. 

Personally, I have tried a few rose fertilizers on the market and get the best results from miracle-gro granular fertilizer with a strong display of blooms (and a robust, healthy rose) every year.

Roses in pots require diligent use of fertilizer as their roots can exhaust the soil of nutrients if they are in the same pot for a long time (Read my article, choosing the best pots for roses).

Prepare the Soil and Add Mulch to get More Rose Blooms

This is probably my most important tip: Good soil preparation is key for a healthy rose that produces lots of flowers.

Before planting roses, it is best practice to amend the planting area with lots of organic matter -compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure are the ones I recommend, as these materials provide the optimal soil characteristics for roses as they can retain moisture and the porous, friable structure allows excess water to drain away to avoid boggy soil which causes root rot.

If you have sandy soil or heavy clay, it is particularly important to amend the soil before planting as sandy soil dries too quickly and does not retain nutrients whereas heavy clay can prevent the roots from establishing and bake hard in the Summer sun, which deflects water off the surface of the soil rather then infiltrating the soil and reaching the roots.

So whether your soil is too sandy or too heavy with clay, the solution is the same: Use lots of compost around your rose! Trust me, it works.

I would consider transplanting your rose (ideally in the early Spring or Fall) if it is performing poorly due to inadequate soil conditions.

I always amend the soil to a depth of 18 inches to accommodate the root’s full size at maturity. Compost, leaf mold, and well-rotted manure also contain a good concentration of nutrients which contribute to your rose displaying more flowers.

Top tip: Add mulch in Spring: For more rose flowers, I always apply a 2-inch layer of mulch to the surface of the soil that surrounds your rose bush but leave a 3-inch radius around the rosewood (avoid contact with the actual rosewood as any wood above ground does not like to be in contact with consistently moist material).

Do this at the start of Spring to help conserve moisture in the hot Summer. It will also help keep the roots cool and add nutrients that help your rose display more blooms in the summer. 

Mulch also feeds the soil’s ecosystem, which breaks down organic matter into a chelated form, which means it is easier for rose roots to uptake and creates the optimal conditions for roses to flower more.

For bonus points, mulch your rose again before the Winter as this helps to insulate the roots from freezing temperatures, which encourages them to establish, and the rose often gets a head start in the Spring.

Every time I plant a new rose, I always mulch in the Winter for the first few years to help the roots. I have seen a difference in that the roses that are mulched in winter tend to grow better and be less susceptible to disease, as well as display more flowers.

Locate Roses in Full sun for More Flowers

In my experience, the more hours of sun the rose has, the more flowers it displays. It really is as simple as that.

The sun stimulates flower bud development and charges the rose with the energy it needs to display more blooms.

Ideally, roses need 6 hours or more of sunshine per day, which is why roses flower more in summer with lots of sun. Some years have more overcast weather in Spring, which results in fewer flowers as Spring is a key time for the development of rose buds, hence why there can be significant annual variation in how much your rose bush flowers.

If your rose is not planted in a sunny location, then the best thing to do is transplant it to a location where it can be exposed to the sun for at least 6 hours a day. The best time to transplant roses is early Spring or Fall, so the roots have time to establish in the new location without having to contend with heat during the Summer.

Alternatively, what I have to do sometimes in my own garden is to trim any overhanging tree limbs or large shrubs that may be casting too much shade on my rose.

My only caveat to this is if you live in a particularly hot climate, then I think the rose would benefit from shade in the afternoon during the hottest part of the day.

If you are planting multiple roses, plant them three feet apart so that they don’t deprive one another of the sun; this will increase airflow, thus reducing the risk of fungal disease. The space will also allow you to move around your roses as you prune without being hurt by the thorns!

Roses Flower on New Growth (Prune in Late Winter to Get More Flowers)

I advise Pruning in late Winter (February/March) to stimulate the growth of new stems and branches on which the flowers are displayed. Pruning regularly also prevents the rose from getting leggy and unproductive.

The leggy old growth does not flower as readily, hence the importance of annual pruning.

Cut away any individual dying branches back to healthy growth (or the crown) to create more air circulation and stimulate new growth.

However a note of caution: Whilst the vast majority of ornamental modern bush roses most commonly sold in garden centers flower on new seasons growth, heirloom climbing roses, and shrub roses flower on old growth and, therefore, should be pruned straight after blooming. Research your specific variety of climbing roses if you are unsure.

I highly recommend watching this YouTube video for a great visual guide on how to properly prune roses for more flowers:

Regular Deadheading Spent Blooms Increase Flowers

Here, I am using a pair of pruners to cut away spent flowers; my rose always flowers more if I deadhead once a week.

Regularly deadheading the spent blooms stimulates the production of new flowers to emerge!

If you do not deadhead roses, the energy of the rose goes into producing rose seeds (rose hips, which I think are lovely in their own right), at which point the rose can cease to produce more flowers as the job of producing seeds has been achieved.

Regular deadheading redirects the rose’s energy from producing rose hips to displaying more flowers so that your rose blooms more abundantly and for longer, which is the result we are looking for!

As soon as the rose flowers begin to look spent, I snip them off with a pair of pruners. This improves the rose’s appearance and keeps the rose flowering all season.

Regular deadheading keeps my roses flowering well into Fall.

Treat Pests Quickly to Increase Flowering

Aphid infestation attacking a developing rose bud.
Aphid infestation attacking a developing rosebud on my rose bush. Fortunately, in this instance, a ladybird found my rose the next day and made short work of the aphids! I love it when nature is on our side!

Check your rose for pests such as aphids regularly. Aphids tend to feed on the sap of the new growth of roses in Spring or Summer, particularly the developing rose buds. 

I discovered they tend to be more prevalent on roses that have been over-fertilized, as fertilizer causes roses to become sappy and droop, so remember to use a rose-specific granular fertilizer!  

Aphids can harm the bloom potential of your roses, and removing them is important. There are several ways to remove aphids, but the best and quickest is simply to remove the aphids by hand.

This stops them in their tracks and causes the aphid colony to release a stress alarm pheromone which attracts the natural predators of aphids such as ladybirds.

If treated, the rose will recover and can even bloom after the infestation has been treated that season.

Aphids tend to be in your garden no matter what, but they are kept under control by predatory insects such as ladybugs.

I have seen advice suggesting you can also use a hose pipe to blast them off, but I prefer not to do this as it can harm your rose.

Moist Soil Stimulates More Flowers

Roses flower to their full potential in full sun with their roots in cool, moist soil.

Roses have a relatively high demand for water in spring and summer when new growth emerges, and they develop flower buds.

To increase the amount your rose blooms and for how long the rose flowers last, it is important to keep the surrounding soil evenly moist, which is achieved by:

  • Amend the soil with organic matter before planting (compost), as this retains lots of moisture.
  • Applying mulch in Spring.
  • Watering roses once a week if there has been less than 1 inch of rainfall in the last 7 days.

Whether or not you really need to water your roses depends on 2 things:

  1. How mature your rose is.
  2. Your climate.

I have seen really mature roses that are decades old and have such a deep root system that can tap into groundwater that they do not appear to be affected by drought, so there’s no need to water.

However, in hotter climates (such as where I used to live in Southern California), then roses would be watered, mulched, and planted in the morning sun. followed by afternoon shade to help cope with drought stress.

I have learned through experience, If the roses suffer drought stress, then developing buds may not open properly, and existing flowers droop and fall off much quicker.

I personally water my roses with a hose once a week in the hottest weeks of Summer, giving them a really good soak. If there has been significant rain in the week, I leave them.

Always water thoroughly, as this incentivizes the rose’s roots to grow deeper in the soil to access the moisture, which increases the rose’s resistance to drought, and a more extensive root system has more access to nutrients.

This ensures a healthier, more robust rose that has all the resources it requires to display more flowers for much longer.

(Read my article, how best to water roses for more watering tips).

Do you have any other great tips you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Key Takeaways:

  • To stimulate more rose blooms, apply a granular fertilizer that is specifically developed for roses, as it contains the right balance of nutrients for roses to display more blooms. Plant roses in full sun, water regularly in Summer, and deadheading spent blooms throughout the season to stimulate flowering.
  • To get more flowers, always plant roses in full sun. Roses require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to display lots of flowers. The sun stimulates flower bud development and charges the rose with energy to display more blooms. Roses do not flower well in the shade.
  • Prune roses annually in late Winter to prevent rose from becoming leggy. Pruning annually helps to stimulate new growth in Spring from which the flowers are displayed.
  • Deadheading the spent blooms of roses redirects the rose’s energy from producing rose hips into producing more flowers.
  • Water roses every week in Summer with a good soak to ensure the soil is evenly moist and to create the optimal conditions for roses to display flowers that last longer.

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