How to Get More Rose Blooms


How to get more rose blooms

To get more rose blooms, plant roses in good moisture retaining compost and locate the rose in at least 6 hours of sun. 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.
Use a specific product such as miracle-gro granular fertilizer which contains the right balance of nutrients for more rose blooms.

It is important to use fertilizer to get the best display of flowers as roses are relatively heavy feeders. One of the big threats to rose blooms is using too much fertilizer. If you apply too much, then the high levels of nitrogen stimulates lots of green lush foliage growth rather than blooms.

The excessive new growth is more susceptible to pests, diseases, 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.

Using a granular fertilizer one in the Spring and then again in the Summer releases the nutrients slowly in the soil over the course of the season, rather then 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 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 to 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

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- as these materials provide the optimal soil characteristics for roses as they are able to retain moisture and the porous, friable structure allows excess water to drain away to avoid boggy soil which causes root rot.

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

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

Amend the soil to a depth of 18 inches to accommodate the roots full size at maturity. Compost, leaf mold and well rotted manure also contain a good concentration of nutrients that contribute to your rose display more flowers.

Add mulch in Spring: For more rose flowers, 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 rose wood (avoid contact with the actual rose wood 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 helps your rose display more blooms in the summer. 

Mulch also feeds the soils ecosystem which breaks down organic matter into a chelated form which means it is easier to for roses 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.

Locate Roses in Full sun for More Flowers

The more hours of sun the rose has the more flowers it displays.

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 Summers 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 in 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, trim any overhanging tree limbs or large shrubs that may be casting too much shade on your rose.

If you are planting multiple roses, plant them three feet apart so that they don’t deprive one another of 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)

Pruning in late Winter (February/March), stimulates 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 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 rose 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 Increases Flowers

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

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

Regular deadheading redirects the roses energy from producing rose hips into displaying more flowers so that your rose blooms more abundantly and for longer. 

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

Regular deadheading can keep roses flowering well into Fall.

Treat Pests Quickly to Increase Flowering

Aphid infestation attacking a developing rose bud.
Aphid infestation attacking a developing rose bud.

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. 

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 actually 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.

Moist Soil Stimulates More Flowers

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

Roses are actually have a relatively high demand for water in Spring and Summer when new growth is emerging and they are developing 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:

  • Amending 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 then 1 inch of rainfall in the last 7 days.

If the roses suffers 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.

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).

Key Takeaways:

  • To stimulate more rose blooms apply a granular fertilizer that is specifically developed for roses as they contain the right balance of nutrients for roses to display more blooms. Plant roses in full sun, water regularly in Summer and deadheaded spent blooms throughout the season to stimulate flowering.
  • To get more flower, 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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