How much fertilizer

nickrosesnMarch 15, 2014

I went out and bought Kelp meal, Alfalfa meal, fish bone meal, and Blood meal. Mainly these were bought for the vegetable garden but I also will be using them with my roses. I know you'll say I need to get a soil test, but I have not done that. But how much of each fertilizer should I use per rose plant. These are roses that have been here since the 60's. They did get compost added late summer/fall and I just took the mulched leaves off the bed so I can add the fertilizer.

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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi NickRose: One can tell the composition of the soil by shifting it between your fingers: clay like mine will stick like glue. Loamy will be moist .. ideal for plants. Sandy will be dry and flow off your fingers.

If your soil is clay, use less fertilizer, since clay is already fertile and holds salt well. My sister lived 1/2 hour east of Fremont, CA with clay. Gypsum loosened up her clay very well.

If your soil is sandy, more fertilizer is needed, since nutrients leach out easily. NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) for Kelp is 1-0-1.2. Kelp is known for trace elements, but has salt ... thus less is best.

The NPK of alfalfa-meal ranges from 2.5-1-1, to 2-1-2. It has 2 as nitrogen, but the growth hormone is potent. I got 5 feet tall tomato plant when I overdosed on alfalfa meal. Alfalfa meal needs water to break down, not recommended during drought & heat. Organic materials heat up the soil .. good for my cold zone 5a with spring flood, but I almost killed my geraniums with alfalfa meal during summer heat.

Fish-bone meal NPK ranges from 3-15-0 to 4-20-0. Very high in phosphorus (15 to 20), zero potassium. That stuff stinks mighty. A review in Amazon: someone applied that stuff, and the neighbor's girl could not sleep since it reeks. Phosphorus mobility is a 1, it stays put where applied .. best at the bottom of the hole, or mixed thoroughly INSIDE the planting hole so the roots can access it (less stinky that way). One study showed that phosphorus only moved 1" down per year, if applied at the surface.

Blood meal NPK is 12-1-0, high in nitrogen at 12. One year I threw blood meal around marigolds to discourage bunnies. The marigolds shot up to 3 feet tall, zero flowers for the entire year. My alkaline clay soil has plenty of bacteria to fix nitrogen, I use a tiny amount of blood meal for tiny & wimpy roses, or bare-root roses with no leaves. Nitrogen mobility is a 10, moves easily down with water.

What's lacking is potassium: essential for tomatoes & peppers, and disease-prevention for roses. Potassium is most needed during drought, since it regulates osmotic pressure in plants. Sulfate of potash NPK 0-0-50, salt index of 43 (not bad). Potassium mobility is a 3, less movement, so I use sulfate of potash AS A POWDER, and dilute with water so it can travels down to the root-zone.

Potassium is recommended to use TOGETHER with nitrogen in equal ratio for best result. So whatever amount of nitrogen you use, the same amount of potassium should also be used. Nitrogen and potassium are 2 nutrients most needed by plants.

Calcium and phosphorus are utilized at much less ratio than potassium and nitrogen. The advantage of fish bone meal is: it's a slow-released phosphorus, lasting for up to 3 years.

Below is a link to Kelp4Less potassium sulfate (sulfate of potash) sold 1 lb. for $8, free shipping. NPK is 0-0-50, you'll get 50 for potassium, so only a tiny amount diluted in water is sufficient. Last year I was amazed at the result: immediate green-up of leaves, more blooms, and bigger blooms. From that time on, I lowered my high pH water with potassium sulfate, rather than powder gypsum.

Most Soil tests do not test for nitrogen, since nitrogen is mobile, and bacteria in soil can fix nitrogen for plants. From Buzzle: "The nitrogen fixing bacteria and other micro organisms that fix nitrogen are collectively called 'Diazotrophs'. There are many strains of these bacteria in soil which do this task. They are important agents in the 'Nitrogen Cycle'."";

What's nice about using organics, rather than harsh chemicals is: organics do not harm the beneficial bacteria that fix nitrogen for plants. However, organics in high dose like gypsum (calcium sulfate) can zap out soil bacteria that fix nitrogen for plants. That's why I mix gypsum at the bottom of the hole to loosen up clay, rather than dumping it on top ... it becomes caustic to beneficial bacteria when it gunks up.

Below is a picture of my zone 5a alkaline clay garden. I put blood meal on the trees for the first few years when they were tiny babies, but stopped when became tall. The trees lose their leaves every year, and get nitrogen from the air (with the help of soil bacteria). I fertilizer my lawn twice a year (spring & fall), since the lawn is mown down weekly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kelp4less sulfate of potash 1 lb. for $8

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 15:38

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 10:29AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Nick: Back to your question "But how much of each fertilizer should I use per rose plant?" I grew up on a 5-acres vegetable garden in Michigan, and after growing 60+ variety of roses, I would say a vegetable's need for nitrogen is higher than roses.

Vegetables are grown either from seeds, or from a tiny plants, which need nitrogen to achieve the height. But when you deal with roses with ESTABLISHED height and foliage, less nitrogen is needed.

Blood meal works instantly, you'll get immediate foliage and growth. Alfalfa release is within a month. Nitrogen-application makes sense only in spring, when there's plenty of water for growth. The danger of applying nitrogen when it's not needed for growth is: you'll get tall roses, plenty of leaves, but no blooms.

Last year I gave my 55+ roses only minute amount (0.7 nitrogen) in horse manure NPK 0.7-0.3-0.6. I gave my roses sulfate of potash NPK 0-0-50 (50 potassium), plus gypsum. I got more blooms last year than previous years with higher nitrogen ratio.

Same with tomatoes. In 2012 I gave my tomatoes too much nitrogen via alfalfa meal & chicken manure, resulting in 5 feet tall tomatoes, less fruits, but I had to water constantly (growth demands water). In 2013 I learned my lesson, I used Jobes' fertilizer for tomato, NPK 2-7-4, shorter tomato, but a bumper crop, and less watering.

In U. of Kentucky experiment with vegetable transplants in pots, the best result was with nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio 20-10-20. The high ratio of 20 nitrogen applies only to pots, where nitrogen leaches out easily. It does NOT apply to clay soil with less leaching, plus there are soil bacteria to fix nitrogen from atmosphere (air is composed of 78.09% of nitrogen).

The high ratio of 20 nitrogen applies to tiny vegetable seedlings for growth, rather than full-grown roses. What full-grown roses need are: potassium for blooming, second is phosphorus, then trace elements.

Below is the amount of roses I picked per day during the height of summer heat in August when it was above 90 degrees. The advantage of less nitrogen, and more potassium is: more blooms even when there's less water.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jobes Organic Tomatoe fertilizer with Biozome

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 11:58

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:49AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Here's the link to U. of Kentucky research on Organic Fertilizers & Composts in tomato and pepper seedlings. Their conclusion: Fish emulsion NPK 5-1-1 and Omega 6-6-6 (blood meal, bone meal, sulfate of potash) are effective fertilizers, coming second to chemical fertilizer with higher nutrients NPK 20-10-20. The best growth was achieved by using Peter's 20-10-20 at 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water, 3 times a week. This was done in greenhouse environment.

The second best growth was with Organic Omega 6-6-6 (blood meal, bone meal, sulfate of potash) at a rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon of water, 3 times a week. Third best growth is fish emulsion. Organics most likely fare better in outdoor soil, where there're microbes, rain, and sun to break-down materials for plants.

Cow manure, worm casting, and horse manure came last in performance. They concluded that perhaps these are not fully composted, and the pH of cow manure is too acidic, below 5, and the pH of horse manure is too alkaline, above 8.

Here is a link that might be useful: U. of Kentucky on organic fertilizers and composts

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 10:46

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 3:17PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Below is the link to University of Mass. rating Organic Fertilizers: alfalfa pellets gave the worst result (yellowish plant & small bloom) vs. best result in fish emulsion.

The experiment is done in greenhouse setting with soil-less media. Fish emulsion has the upper edge since it's a soluble, easy up-take for plants. Alfalfa pellets has many handicaps: it's a solid, hard to break-down.

My conclusion: organic is best when it's fully-decomposed, easier for plants to utilize nutrients. I stored left-over alfalfa meal in my garage, after 1 year, it's hardened into a solid block, and hasn't decomposed yet. When alfalfa is outside, given air, water, sun, and soil bacteria, then it is beneficial to plants once decomposed. If alfalfa gunks up either due to inability to decompose, or glue-in with clay, it can choke plants' roots, leading to chlorosis.

Here is a link that might be useful: U. of Mass on Organic fertilizers and soil-less media

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 15:52

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 3:32PM
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Well I was thinking of doing 1/2 cup of each fertilizer except for blood meal, with blood meal I was only going to do 2 tablespoons for each roses bush. I didn't know if that would be too much or too little. Through out the growing season I will be spreading banana shakes around the roses(its just banana and water blended). Last year I did the banana shake and the roses had more colorful blooms and it seemed like they had more also.

This post was edited by NickRose on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 16:36

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 4:29PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi NickRose: That's a great idea, banana shake with NPK 0-3-42, with 42 as potassium in banana peels .. with no salt it's better than sulfate of potash (50 potassium).

Frank Gatto, rose nursery man from Raft Island, Washington: advises giving roses small but frequent doses. He uses a granular fertilizer with an N-P-K number less than 20 (such as 15-15-15), along with half-cup each of organics including alfalfa, cotton seed, fish, blood and kelp.

His roses are in pots, leaching out nutrients easily, versus my sticky clay which hangs on to nutrients. Also he's in high-rain, cooler PNW climate. Drawback of blood meal: NOT a balanced fertilizer, at NPK 13-1-0.6. In contrast, alfalfa meal is a balanced fertilizer at NPK 2-1-2, so is Kelp meal at NPK 1- 0- 1.2.

I learned my lesson with blood meal. Arthur Bell rose was blooming well in pots with soluble fertilizer ... then I planted it in my clay, and gave it only blood-meal, it became stingy. Sonia Rykiel gave me 15+ blooms as a gallon-size (fertilized with soluble) in pot. I planted in my clay, gave it 1/2 cup alfalfa meal, plus some blood meal ... became stingy.

Problem with my clay: it's hard for phosphorus (1 mobility) to travel down .. I stop using bone meal on top, since it gunks up. Some folks report bone meal on top simply breeds maggots and flies. Potassium (3 mobility) is slow to travel down clay, versus easier with fluffy potting soil. But nitrogen, with 10 mobility, travels down easily to the root zone, and STAYS THERE, with my clay's retention.

A Michigan State University botanist once stated "it's the absence of nitrogen fertilizer that promotes blooming, rather than the huge addition of phosphorus." Phosphorus is best used in small amount as soluble ... University of Mass's experiment with marigolds in pots yielded best result with NPK 20-2-20 ... only 2 for phosphorus.

My understanding is nitrogen fertilizer is needed for growth only, in spring time. Once the plant is at mature height, it needs a larger amount of potassium & phosphorus & trace elements for blooming, plus a small amount of nitrogen fixed by soil bacteria.

Kelp4Less, the hydroponics site, sells low-salt soluble formulas. Early Bloom is 6-18-18. The number 6 for nitrogen was also used in Omega-6-6-6 in U. of Kentucky's study with veggies. Mid-Bloom soluble is 2-20-20, and Late-Bloom soluble is 1-30-20.

Fish bone meal has decent nitrogen with NPK 3-15-0 to 4-22-0, add that to 2 nitrogen in alfalfa, and 1 nitrogen in kelp meal .. that would match the nitrogen in Omega 6-6-6 formula. What's missing is soluble & fast-released potassium as in sulfate of potash.

I WOULD NOT apply Frank Gatto's formula of 1/2 cup kelp meal during my less rain & warm summer, since kelp is salty. I would use less kelp.

eHow link on kelp: "Kelp meal is seaweed that contains high concentrations of potassium and nitrogen. It also contains 60 other minerals and nutrients in trace amounts

Add a pinch near the root base of your plant if you are adding kelp meal to a single potted plant. Dig a hole for your plant. Before you place the plant into the pot, add the pinch of kelp meal. Remember, only 1 pound of kelp meal is to be applied per 100 square feet."

Here is a link that might be useful: eHow on How to add Kelp meal

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 14:36

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:37AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Another reason why sulfate of potash greens up plants in my pH 7.7 heavy clay is: It has 23% sulfur, in addition to 11% magnesium, and 20% potassium. That's 3 essential elements for plants, with a moderate salt index of 43.

Without sulfur in my high pH soil and water, plants have yellowish foliage, most severe in acid-loving plants (some roses, pine trees, azaleas, and rhododendrons). Gardening-know-how has good info. on sulfur as an essential element for plants. See excerpt from below link:

"Sulfur is as necessary as phosphorus and is considered an essential mineral ... Plants only need 10 to 30 pounds per acre of sulfur. It also acts as a soil conditioner and helps reduce the sodium content of soils. Sulfur deficiencies tend to occur where fertilizer applications are routine and soils do not percolate adequately.

Sulfur Deficiency Symptoms

Plants that are not able to intake enough sulfur will exhibit yellowing of leaves that seems similar to nitrogen deficiency. With sulfur depletion, the upper and older leaves are first affected, while nitrogen problems show up on the younger leaves first ... gypsum in the soil strata can capture sulfur ... If your plants exhibit signs of sulfur depletion, try a side dress of manure."

From another gardening site:

"In reality, plants need sulfur in about the same quantity as phosphorus, but sulfur is still considered a secondary nutrient ... Sulfur, in addition to elemental sulfur, is found as sulfides and sulfates ... soils get sulfur from three sources: airborne particles, the weathering of minerals in soils, and microbial activity. Sulfur conversion by microbes happens in soil containing large amounts of decomposing organic materials like green manures and animal wastes.

Below is a picture of chlorosis (yellowing) of Sonia Rykiel rose with my pH 8 tap-water, versus dark-green leaves of Golden Celebration rose with horse manure plus sulfur:

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden-know-how on plants' need for sulfur

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 10:30

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:16AM
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I just ordered the potassium sulfate from Kelp4Less. What else do you fertilize with in spring? What is your spring regime?

BTW, where in Illinois are you? Would love to invite you to Our local rose society meeting (Indianapolis area). You are such a fountain of knowledge.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 2:04PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi vabyvlue: Thank you for your invitation. I'm too far, 3 hours west from you. I don't fertilizer at spring time, I fertilized late fall right before the ground freeze (the week before Thanksgiving).

The advantage of fertilizing late fall is it gives time to the slow-moving elements (phosphorus and potassium) to reach down the root-zone via melted snow. Fertilizing in the spring with high-nitrogen promotes fast & soft growth, thus more susceptible to aphids.

I used chickity-do-do last fall, sold at Menards for $8 for a huge bag. Chickity-Do-Do NPK is 5 / 3 / 2.5, with 9% calcium. It stinks unless covered with dirt, mulched, or rained on. Here's a quote from the below link: "The chicken manure goes through a patented process which dries, sterilizes, and kills harmful pathogens and bacteria. The final result is a weed-free, proven slow-release organic nitrogen at 5% - IT WILL NOT BURN.

Over the past 12 years, my pink daffodils went from vibrant color the 1st year to duller color each subsequent year. Last fall I gave my daffodils chicken manure. This spring, see picture below, the colors are deeper & vibrant despite a very dry early spring. The below daffodils did not get spring rain (pH of rain is 5.6, versus my soil pH of 7.7).

Chicken manure is high in trace elements, esp. copper, zinc. Seaweed, another organic rose grower in CA, uses manure from her own chickens, which produces the most vibrant colors. If you have access to swine manure, that's even better. U. of Wisconsin Soil Department data:

"Total Fe (iron) and Al (aluminum) content of swine ranged up to 40 times more than either dairy or poultry. Swine and poultry manure also contained about 10 times more Se (selenium) than dairy. Substantially more B (boron) in solid swine manure was estimated by Peterson and Kelling.

However, concentrations of Fe (iron), Co (cobalt) and Se (selenium) are about 2 times, Zn (zinc) and Cu (copper) about 4 times and Cr (chromium) 100 to 200 times greater in sewage sludge than manure."

*** From Straw: That's the logic of using sewage sludge in Mills' Magic (rose-fertilizer). The biggest drawback of sewage sludge is it's much lower in potassium than manure.

Seaweed's laptop can't post pics. of her roses in this forum, so I posted her pictures in my Pinterest board of roses. See link below for the vibrant colors of roses fertilized with chicken manure, under username Seaweed:

Here is a link that might be useful: Strawberryhill's Pinterest of roses & bouquets

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:41AM
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Wow! Your daffodils are gorgeous! I'm very impressed with all your knowledge. I buy chickity doo doo at Menards and apply it all through spring but have never tried it in fall. I will certainly try that.

I also got the Jobee's organic tomato fertilizer. Do you use it for the roses too?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 12:32PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi vabyvlue: Thank you for your kind words. I spent 3 years in other rose forums giving countless compliments to others .. it's nice to receive back from you, thanks.

I used Jobe's organic tomato fertilizer, NPK 2-7-4, for my tomato last year, that wasn't enough nitrogen for veggies' needs. That stuff is high in bone-meal, best mixed in the planting hole, since bone-meal tends to gunk up on top of clay. Phosphorus mobility is 1, stays put where applied.

My soil is heavy clay, so my best result was with SOLUBLE fertilizer, either through rain washing down nutrients from manure, or soluble-fertilizer, as in sulfate of potash, or molasses for hot summer.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 1:02PM
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Thanks! I do appreciate all your knowledge. I ordered the sulfate of potash from kelp4less as well as a few other goodies. Have you ever used Yucca extract?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 10:52PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Vabyvlue: I appreciate your questions very much. I started this forum with the same mind-set, asking questions, then finding the answers, so others can benefit. Without questions, it would be boring & and we don't learn either.

Yucca extract nutrients are: MINERALS Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Selenium and Silicon. VITAMINS A, B complex, C.

Yucca extract may have benefits of anti-fungal activities. A crude steroidal glycoside extract from Yucca gloriosa flower showed activities against a panel of human pathogenic fungi, yeasts as well as dermatophytes and filamentous species. [8]

*** From Straw: that stuff is expensive, best for humans. I can't find any study to show its benefits for plants. But I found a study that showed coconut coir as superior to pumice for roses. Coconut coir has the benefit of best-water-retention. It's sold for $20 for a small block at Walmart ... a bit too expensive, so I settle for red lava rock for trace minerals & potassium at $3 per big bag.

There's a previous thread in this forum, which I wrote on my experiment with red lava rock MIXED into my clay for best flowering. From
"There are many brands and types of coco coir available on the market. We recommend that you use only buffered coir products, as coco coir naturally contains a lot of sodium ions that cling to the coco coir like a magnet. The buffering process involves pre-soaking with a buffering solution high in calcium, which displaces the sodium and balances the naturally occurring potassium. After the soaking period the media is washed with water, which removes the displaced sodium, leaving the calcium in the coir. Benefits of Coco:

◾Promotes strong root growth and plant vigor.
◾Coco has an ideal pH range of 6.0-6.8.
◾ Contains phosphorous (10-50ppm) and potassium (150-450 ppm).

See below link: coco-soil (from coconuts) beat pumice in rose-flowering. The research is entitled "Rose-cultivation with coco-soil versus pumice".

"As far as flower production was concerned, more flowers were harvested from plants grown on coco-soil than on pumice, independently of the planting density. On the other hand, stem length and weight were the same in rose flowers produced on both substrates. "

Here is a link that might be useful: Coco-soil compared with pumice for roses

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 12:04PM
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Thank you so much for your thorough response! I really appreciate it. Do you use the lava rocks and pumice in containers or just ground grown roses?

I have a few roses that are not hardy here that i am going to put in containers and overwinter in the garage.

Thank you again for sharing your knowledge. :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:28PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi vabyvlue: I used RED lava rocks mixed with my soaking wet clay for better drainage. Red lava rock is high in iron & potassium, which are less available in my pH 7.7 heavy clay.

I WOULD NOT use pumice nor lava rocks for roses in containers, because roses are water-hogs, and soil in containers dry out quickly. I would use coco-soil, by mixing coir brick into potting soil. Thank God, Walmart now sells coco-coir in smaller unit, at $5.74 for 250 gram, but it expands considerably, so you'll get your money worth.

Below is the info. on a block of coco-coir for $5.74

•Coir is the coarse fibers from a coconut husk
•Replaces peat moss, rock wool and perlite
•Excellent air space and water holding capacity
•pH Neutral
•Holds 7 times its weight in water

I'm going to Walmart tomorrow to get that stuff, to mix with potting soil, plus Tomato-Tone NPK 3-4-6 for its beneficial microbes, and a few earthworms for my pots.

I have 5 roses coming tomorrow, shipped from Burlington Nursery in CA. It's only $11 per rose, and the shipping is cheap to my Chicagoland since Burling uses a medium-box with a flat rate of $12 to ship 6 roses (one was cancelled since Burling doesn't think it's big enough).

Here is a link that might be useful: Coco-coir brick at Walmart for $5.74

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 11:02AM
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Thank you, Blueberryhill! I will add coco coil to my mixing pots. I also have a shipment from Burlington coming this week. You mentioned them in another post so I ordered from them. You were right, their prices are great! What did you order from them? I got: Excellenz von Schubert,Lady Hillingdon, Poulsen's Pearl, Soroptimist International, Route 66, Hermosa.

I will check out my Walmart for coco coir and tomato tone. I just got some tea roses from Antique Rose Emporium so that's perfect. Do you put corn meal on the pots too for black spot?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 12:35PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi vabyvlue: You got a great selection of roses, all the highly praised ones !!

I got very fragrant roses which are hardy for my zone 5a: Comte de Chambord, Duchess de Rohan, La Reine, Rose du Roi, and Barcelona (Francis Dubreuil).

Oklahoma is not ready so Burling will refund me the money. Keeping SURFACE of pots dry is the key to prevent black spot. One way is to put small red-lava rocks on top like Vintage Garden did to their bands. Another way is to put limestone pebbles on top. One neighbor put lava rocks around her roses ... zero diseases on her 40+ roses.

Limestone heat up in hot sun, thus best in partial shade. Red lava rocks heat up less .. still best in partial shade. I leave young roses in full-sun during spring, but move to partial shade when the temp. gets higher.

I put corn meal in pots before but it wasn't effective, not as dry of a surface as rocks. My neighbor put bark-chips on top of his pots, and his roses broke out in black spot after prolonged rain. Bark-chips retain moisture much longer, best mixed in the hole for aeration, rather than on top.

I love to see your roses once they bloom .. thank you for your thoughtful questions.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 6:41PM
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Thank you! You got a great selection of roses too. Comte de Chambord is in my wish list. Burlington didn't have any more. She said that it will be ready in the fall. Lady Hillingdon is not hardy here so that will be placed on a permanent pot to overwinter in the garage. The others will be planted in the grown.

I went to look for coco coir at my walmart and they didn't have it. They didn't have tomato-tone either (i heard that it was being discontinued) so I got their vegetable-tone. one percent lower in potassium than the tomato tone.

I found a hydroponic store near by that sells coco coil. I was also thinking about adding green sand to the pots. Do you recommend it?

I am not sure about using rocks to top dress the pots here. The summers get really hot here. It heats up quickly. Today we are having 86 degrees and this is May.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 1:01PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi vabyvlue: Thank you for informing that Walmart doesn't carry coco-coir. Walmart sold coco-soil at one time, not sure if they have that this year. So I'll going to go to Menards instead of Walmart tomorrow.

Last year I researched on green sand: Epsoma green sand is expensive for such tiny % of nutrients, not worth it, in MHO. There's an agriculture study on green sand, comparing that to coarse, or builder's sand ... the study found plants benefit from both, but coarse sand is much cheaper.

In growing roses from cuttings, folks put a layer of dry sand on top to prevent fungal rot. Sand dries out faster than soil. Folks also put perlite on top, since perlite dries out fast. If the pot has enough holes to drain fast during prolonged rain, then roses are less likely to develop fungal diseases, during rain. I should test those 2 methods !!

You have Excellent von Schubert rose, that one is very disease-resistant. Last year I grew that in pot, and topped the pot with acidic pine bark (pH 4.5) ... since EVS rose likes it acidic. That one is always clean, no matter how much rain we get.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 3:22PM
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Thanks for the info on green sand. I'm going to skip it.

I am very excited about Excellent von Schubert. I've never grown it before but I love purple roses, and fragrant ones and this one is supposed to be both.

I got the molasses today so i'll water the roses with it tomorrow. I just wanted to get everything planted/relocated first and finish mulching before fertilizing.

Do you grown many roses in pots? How do you overwinter them?

Have you tried the baking soda with shampoo spray for black spot?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 10:19PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi vabyvlue: I have a big pot ghetto, ranging from 24+ one year, down to 13 last year. When rosarian Karl Bapst, zone 5a, was alive, I asked him how to winterize roses. He told me to put pots in a dark, unheated garage so they go dormant, and water once or twice a month. Using snow to water roses is a great idea. That method worked well even for cuttings with tiny roots.

Baking soda with shampoo spray for black spot? I heard so many failures with that, so I don't even try. Baking soda is high in salt, not good for plants. Shampoo is alkaline, but using shampoo in hot sun burns the foliage badly.

I's more effective to zap the fungi on the soil-surface, before fungi has a chance to be splashed up to leaves via rain & wind. Research from Penn State University on artillery fungus, by Dr. Donald D. Davis "The artillery fungus is a wood-decay fungus that likes to live on moist landscape mulch .. artillery fungus seems to prefer wood as opposed to bark.

Much of the mulch that we use today is recycled wood ... the finely-shredded mulches used today hold more moisture than the older coarsely ground mulches ��" this favors fungi, because they need moisture to survive and sporulate.

We tested 27 mulches in the field ... the most resistant mulch was large pine bark nuggets. The large bark nuggets often stay hard and dry, conditions that fungus does not like. Cypress also performed fairly well, as it probably contains some anti-fungal, anti-decay chemical(s).

Our research at Penn State has shown that blending used mushroom compost with mulch at about 40% by volume (add 4 buckets of mushroom compost to 6 buckets of landscape mulch) will greatly suppress artillery fungus sporulation.

*** From Straw: 17 years ago, in my last house of acidic clay, I used large chunks pine-bark, plus spraying with Bayer ... That didn't help, the worse black spot ever !! In my current house of alkaline clay, I use zero bark chips, zero spraying, zero chemicals and have clean roses for the past 4 years.

But I use free mushroom-compost, from nearby stable. That stuff is very alkaline, pH over 8, compared to my soil pH of 7.7. International studies showed that bacteria favor alkaline soil, and fungi favor acidic soil.

Mushroom-compost is "help yourself & free" at horse stable, versus $5 per bag at stores. It beats spreading wood ash around roses, because it's less caustic, and has beneficial bacteria to suppress pathogenic fungi.

I got roses in bands from Burlington yesterday. Burling topped her bands with light-yellow pine-shavings. I bought roses from 5 different mail-order nurseries, and Burling's roses are cleanest, zero diseases. Her secret is using DRY pine-shavings to top her roses, and wrap them in DRY newspaper. So even during the long transit from CA to my Chicagoland, those DRY conditions discouraged fungal growth.

I saw the yellowish pine-shavings sold cheap at Walmart in their pet-section, to line cages for birds & hamster. It's Alphapet: Pine 1500 Cu. In. Shavings. sold for $2.73 ... Great to put on top of pots, to retain moisture below, but DRY on top. It rained last night, I touched the pine-shavings, then touched the soil in ground .... the pine-shavings is much drier.

Black spots germination occurs if there's moisture for more than 7 hours. Pine-shavings dry out FAST, thus fungi can't germinate on the ground, and spores can't be shot up to leaves.

Here is a link that might be useful: Penn State U. on artillery fungus and wood chips

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:00AM
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Hi Strawberryhill,

I got my roses from Burlington today. I felt like it was Xmas morning! However, now I'm worried that I placed Excellenz von Schubert in the wrong spot. How big does it get for you? Do you grow it in the grown?

Thank you for the explanation about blackspot and the tips. I had topped my pots with wood mulch but i'm going to switch it to pine shavings. It is cheap enough. My roses from last year don't have black spot but I just got a few roses grown in the south and they all have blackspot.

I mixed the coco coir with potting soil and added a bit of Garden Tone, azomite and crushed crab shells and potted the roses that were going into pots.

We are getting rain tomorrow so I spread chicken manure around the yard.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 12:36AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi vabyvlue: Wow! you got all the good stuff in your pots. It rained all night here.

Excellenz von Schubert size is 5' x 5' as stated in HMF. But my zone is 5a, so it's half that size at 2.5' x 2.5'. It's very hardy, not much die back, even through the worst winter.

Without your questions, I would not think much nor research much. Thank you for your interest, I learn something new too. A good exchange of info. become good resources for future rose-growers.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 11:42AM
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Thank you for all your help and knowledge!

I went to Walmart today and got cedar shavings from the pet department. It smells really good, plus it can probably help with bugs, right? I removed the standard mulch and topped my pots with the wood shavings.

I have a rose in the grown 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' (that i acquired recently). It has a ton of blackspot. Nothing else has it that bad (none of my existing roses have it yet, only the ones recently purchased). What should I do?

2.5 x 2.5 I can live with. That would be perfect for the spot that it is in or even a little big bigger, just not 5' by 5'.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 11:11PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi vabyvlue: I love the smell of cedar .... I have cedar reddish blocks inside my clothes-drawers. The pine-shavings on Burlington's bands smell really good also.

eHow lists the many advantages of cedar: lasts longer, control ants, and "Chalker-Scott goes on to explain that cedar has a water-soluble chemical called thujaplicin that inhibits fungal and bacterial growth, making cedar wood rot-resistant." The only disadvantage of cedar mulch is it doesn't promote growth with young seedlings.

Princess Alexandra of Kent rose has the reputation of being a weak grower and wimpy. One stated in HMF that it has weak stem, can't support itself. One possibility is its roots are less efficient in getting potassium from the soil.

I would: Feed it with SOLUBLE fertilizer at 20-10-20 at 1/2 teaspoon per gallon, 3 times a week like what U. of Kentucky did. Prune the infected leaves (trash them away from the plant). Then dust the whole plant with whole-grain corn meal, pH 7.3.

Another approach is: make compost-tea with mushroom-compost, then douse the entire plant, including the soil. Mushroom compost has alkaline pH, plus beneficial bacterial to suppress fungal growth.

A drastic measure would be dust the whole plant, including the soil-surface, with a light layer of wood-ash ... its extreme alkalinity would zap any fungi. Wood-ash is high in potassium & calcium, but VERY caustic, if gets into eyes, best with a flour-sifter and eye-goggles. Just a very thin layer would do, anymore would harm the roots with its high pH over 11.

Lowe's sells organic copper-fungicide dust, Bonide brand: "mixture of Copper (Sulphate), copper and sulfur, has been used for more than 150 years to combat fungi and bacteria on a wide variety of garden plants". CAUTION: Do not use this if your soil pH is below 5.5, due to the sulfur content."

I read 20 reviews on Amazon on Bonide ... for its price and the negative reviews ... not sure if it's worth it. Chicken manure is high in copper, zinc, and boron .. plus cheaper at $8 for a big bag, alkaline pH, and NPK of 5 / 3 / 2.5, with 9% calcium. One drawback: the salt-content, best used only twice a year.

With bad case of fungal infestation, drastic pruning helps .. but Princess Alexandra of Kent is a wimpy-grower, drastic pruning might make it too short. My best wishes to you, and please let me know of its future progress.

Below is a link from U. of CA Agriculture that explains the difference between fixed coppers (Bonide fungicide) versus Bordeaux mixture. You can see that Bordeaux mixture has high pH, more effective, but more caustic to plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: ucdavis on organic fungicide: fixed coppers vs. Bordeaux

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, May 11, 14 at 8:58

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 12:05PM
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Hi Blueberryhill!

I'm back! I've been busy the last few days with my in-laws visiting. Wow! That is some nice research you did about the cedar shavings. Do you mean it is not got for young plants or just for seedlings coming from seeds? i dumped a few seeds of allysium in the pots, so maybe they won't grow?

Thank you for the recommendation about Alexandra. I pruned the entire plant today and completely defoliated it. There was not a single leaf that didn't have blackspot. I then sprayed it with the copper fungicide. It has been raining here every day.

I had a bunch of ash two weeks ago that i just ended up dumping into the composter. Bummer! I'll see if my neighbors have any. I'll get some mushroom compost next time I go to Lowes. How do you make the mushroom compost tea? Which 20-10-20 fertilizer do you typically use?

Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:23PM
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My first post: I know there are a hundred home remedies for black spot yet, I'm going to add 101 to the list :-)

I had a terrible case of black spot last year, pruned all the roses without washing the pruners after each rose. Every rose had the dreaded bs and 8 of them had to be defoliated and given a hard pruning .

Anyways, woe is me ... I make cold process soap so, I dumped a bar in an empty, washed, milk jug and added karanja oil (very similar to neem) filled the jug with water and soaked 2 large paper towels and proceeded to wash all the roses, making sure I got tops and undersides. Three days later I noticed that the black spot hadn't taken more leaves encouraged, I repeated the ritual. Probably not a good thing. The oil and high temps burnt many of the leaves but the disease had not visibly spread. When I defoliated and pruned I soaked the wounds with the soapy karanja oil and watered each plant with 1/2 gallon of the solution. My fall roses came back beautiful!

I'm guessing it's the sodium hydroxide (lye-- which you can make from ash) and the ph 8-10 of my soap. The karanja oil was a good surfactant but not in our over 95 degree spring last year and not so closely reapplied.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 2:14AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Thank you, Ann2u, for the info. you gave which help others. You are right about the high pH of soap, and thank you for the warning about burning of foliage via oil in hot weather. People also report burning leaves by using horticulture oil, and dish soap in hot temp.

Hi Vabyvlue: I burnt leaves in hot weather by mixing fresh horse manure in the planting hole (from the salt & alkalinity). With regard to mushroom compost, only spread a THIN LAYER on top of soil, to suppress fungal germination on the ground. To make compost tea, see below link from eHow. It's best to use rain-water to make compost tea (1/3 compost & 2/3 water). Let it sit for 3-4 days, let the solids settle, then pour through a window-screen, to get the liquid to spray on leaves.

Here's a quote from eHow regarding cedar chips: "Cedar chips do not harm mature plants, though they inhibit some seed germination." Read more:

With regard to your question: "Which 20-10-20 fertilizer do you typically use?" The key is to use EQUAL AMOUNT of potassium as nitrogen, and 1/2 phosphorus. So if you use blood meal at NPK 12-0-0, make sure that you use sulfate of potash at the same ratio ... but 1/2 phosphorus.

Blood meal is fast acting, as good as soluble, but with lower salt-index. The best soluble fertilizer I have seen is low-salt Daniels-fertilizer, used by Ball International Nursery, and High Country Roses in Colorado. I received band-size roses from High Country with HUGE 4" bloom, and glossy & dark green leaves.

My best result with fungal diseases was when I got to the root of the problem: poor-drainage, which makes the soil perpetually wet. I fixed the drainage first, then I topped the soil with thin layer of alkaline-compost, then I dusted leaves with WHOLE-GRAIN corn meal. The corn-meal-dusting kept the leaves dry, despite week-long rain. Bob's Red Mill organic corn meal is sold at Walmart for $4 a bag, plus better growth of beneficial bacteria against fungi.

Below is a pic. of the base of Golden Celebration rose (BS-prone) completely free of black spot, in its 3rd year. Picture was taken in late fall in my zone 5a.

Here is a link that might be useful: eHow on compost tea

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Wed, May 14, 14 at 11:19

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 10:50AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Kelp4Less sells 2-20-20 SOLUBLE fertilizer, low-salt index of 7.2, plus mycorrhyzal & bacteria, molasses. But they raised the price to $18.66 per lb. still expensive with free shipping.

My neighbor, Ph.D. in biology & botany, works for Ball International nursery. I visited Ball headquarter and was impressed with their plants. Both Ball nursery and High Country Roses use low-salt Daniels fertilizer (made from soy). Ball gave Daniels Soluble fertilizer thumb-up, citing sooner-flowering, darker green leaves. Here's a quote from Ball nursery:

"Daniels Plant Food proved to be an effective fertilizer for seven species of bedding plants and cyclamen. Plants tended to be desirably more compact for most species while for the others, growth was similar to the conventional 20-10-20-fertilized plants. Plant color with Daniels was deeper green in all but two species. Earlier flowers formed in petunia and cyclamen plants. Tissue K levels were lower but in all cases adequate. Ammonium toxicity was not a problem with Daniels. It was more resistant to ammonium toxicity than conventional fertilizers."

*** From Straw: Daniels is not sold at local stores. But one can make low-salt "fertilizer tea" by soaking pellets of organic fertilizer, and using that water as soluble. That's what I will do with Alaska vegetable & tomato fish-fertilizer pellets, NPK 4-6-6, 3lb., for $7.97 at Menards and HomeDepot.

Ace Hardware sells Espoma Tomato Tone, NPK 3-4-6, 4 lb., for $10. Walmart also sells that at 8 lb., for $17.47.

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic pellets fertilizer NPK 4-6-6 at HomeDepot

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Thanks Strawberryhill for the links. The more educated we are the better our lives become ( always wash your pruners! ) .

I'm going to make some karanja oil soap and keep it handy for my roses. So impressed with the results (wish I had taken photos) with the foliar and cane growth even my three angel face roses notorious for bs came back so healthy.

The reason I used karanja oil, besides having a gallon of it, my daughter's shiba inu has a horrible fungal
skin disorder and karanja oil takes it out every year. No more 500 dollar vet bills! I figured the fungicide properties in karanja would help. You can buy it online. I noticed amazon even sells it now. I had used dish soap three weeks prior with no results. Luckily, you can buy cold process soap everywhere now. I'm going to combine the two and see if I can eliminate the leaf scorch.

Every year I say I'm going to get some cornmeal I read it is good to sprinkle it around the roses in the fall/winter time.
I had not realized you also dusted the leaves and I had not realized I can buy it at Wal-Mart. Thks again Strawberryhill !

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Hi Ann2u! Welcome! Your first post was a really good one. Hope you make many more. Chatting about roses and organic care is so much fun! :)

Blueberryhill, as always, thank you so much for the info. It's all good stuff! I have that brand cornmeal! I got it at Kroger. I need to use it to dust the roses. Do you dust all the roses as a preventive measure? I can dust my poor Princess Alexandra as soon as it stops raining. With all the rain every day this week, I might need a floating device to find it.

I have blood meal and potassium sulfate and molasses, so she is going to get well fed. I also ended up ordering the yucca extract from Kelp4less. I'll report if I see any big difference from using it.

I like that method of doing a simple compost tea. I usually do it several times a year but doing the aerated compost tea method using a pump which requires a bit more labor.

your GC's leaves look great.

I'm really liking the Alaska Granular Fish fertilizer for tomotoes that Menards sells. Since it is 4 6 6 I've been using it on the roses too.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 7:11PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Thank you, vabyvlue, for your great questions. I agree that Ann2u posts are informative. I learn lots from you, Ann, thank you. I checked on Karanja oil, from

"Karanja is used in Ayurvedic and folk medicines for eye ailments and skin diseases such as eczema, rheumatism, wounds and worms. It’s also used to prevent bacterial growth in the mouth. Karanja is a natural pest repellent used agriculturally and for human and pet use against lice, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, mites and flies. The oil is widely used in soaps, leather tanning and topical liniments. When mixed together, karanja and neem oils are effective for treating mange in pets."

Wikipedia cited Karanja oil as effective on parasitic-mite infestations in animals. I wonder if that would be useful on spider-mites in roses? Spider mites is even harder to get rid off, than black spots.

It has been week-long rain here in Chicagoland. My roses in springtime are 100% clean, it's only in late fall that I need to dust with corn meal. Last fall experiment with sulfate of potash NPK 0-0-50 took care of the black spots.

3 years ago, in late fall, when it paused raining, I dusted my 10 Austin roses ... the corn meal stuck to the leaves for a long time. I posted that experiment in Rose forum, including picture, showing New Guinea Impatients got black spots, but my roses were clean. Below is Radio Times rose bush, clean in week-long rain, with corn-meal dusting. The advantage of WHOLE-GRAIN corn meal dusting is its long-lasting growth of beneficial bacteria on the ground & leaf-surface, with long-term suppression of pathogenic fungi.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:43AM
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Your Radio Times looks gorgeous! I've always thought about growing this rose but I keep hearing that it grows huge. Yours look like a manageable size. Beautiful blooms! As soon as it dries a bit (more rain tomorrow), I'll be dusting the roses with the cornmeal.

Does molasses affect the pH of the soil?

I've never heard of Karanja oil before. That is good to know.

I noticed a few rose slugs today feasting on a handful of my roses. I hand picked them. I've used insecticidal soap in the past but I didn't have any handy. Be on the watch for the little green monsters.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:59PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Vabyvlue: Ruthless pruning and organics is that I use with Austin roses (like Radio Times). Most Austin roses have climber genetics in them, they get too big if given chemicals ... so I only give them organics, and less nitrogen.

In the thread on molasses, I mentioned that molasses has sugar, which encourages ALL TYPES of fungi, both pathogenic and mycorrhyzal. Molasses also decreases soil pH. A nursery once advised pouring a can of Coke (soda) to acidify the soil. I stopped my experiment with molasses in rainy & humid days due to leaf-cutter worms, or slugs .. they love to feast on molasses.

The advantage of dusting the entire rose with corn meal is: slugs ate cornmeal, got bloated twice their size, and I was able to kill them easily.

Molasses is useful ONLY in hot & dry summer, with my tap water, high pH of 8. Due to its zero-salt content, molasses is useful in hot & dry conditions. But for wet spring, or humid weather, I use blood meal & bone meal & sulfate of potash, like the Omega 6-6-6 that beat fish emulsion in U. of Kentucky study with veggies in pots.

Molasses has trace elements which enhance color, so do Kelp, compost, bone meal, rock phosphate, granite dust, and fish emulsion. Check out Neptune rose that Seaweed (Myrosetime) posted in HMF. She used Kellogg Organic potting soil sold at Home Depot with kelp meal, plus fish emulsion. Those two gave her Neptune rose the deep & vibrant colors.

Here's the ingredients in HomeDepot Kellogg organic soil:
"Rich blend of organic materials, including kelp meal, chicken manure and worm castings".

Another alternative, which you mentioned at Menards, is the Alaska dry-pellets of fish & kelp fertilizer for tomato & veggies sold at HomeDepot, $7.97 for 3 lb. bag, with NPK 4-6-6.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seaweed (Myrosetime) deep Neptune rose in HMF

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:35PM
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I don't know if I'm going to thank you Strawberryhill,
went to Wal-Mart and came back with 8 roses! They were $1.60 and in very decent shape. You can't even find annuals for that much. I grabbed a gypsy, medallion, gold medal, intrigue,2 sun flare, gold masterpiece, and another angel face. The manager came out and said she just needed the space, she'd give me a deal I couldn't pass up. She wasn't kidding:-)

Hi, Vabyblue I'm sure I'm going to enjoy chitchatting with ya'll! Yup, karanja oil is a good one for pets (I'm not kidding)
make a salve with beeswax or soy wax ratio 3:1 nuke everything in the microwave and stir like crazy while it is cooling .Zaps away hot spots on dogs too.

I'm not sure about mites, I never get them here but you have to be careful the oil is thick. You'll have to wipe the excess with soapy water.

I want those Alaska dry pellets. I just wish they had a drive thru so I don't have to go through the nursery!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 8:38PM
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Wow Ann! That is some awesome deal you got there! It might temp me into going to the Walmart Nursery even though I have NO space for more roses right now. I might have to order from Karanja oil as my dogs get hot spots.

Strawberryhill, Thank you for clarifying the very important point of WHEN to use molasses vs the other good stuff. I have a bunch of organic fertlizers so I'll use those first, keeping in mind to give them high Potassium.

I have several kinds of seaweed that I need to start using. I got to a hydroponic store whenever we visit my mother in law and they always give me freebies. I have two different bottles of cold pressed seaweed. Got to give them to my roses.

I don't go to Home Depot a whole lot but I will surely check out that soil next time I'm there. Sounds like a really good mix.

I heard in the news that Chicagoland woke up to snow today. Were any of your plants damaged?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:12AM
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BTW, that picture of Neptune is gorgeous!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:14AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Ann and vabyvlue: Wow !! Lucky you Ann for such a great deal at Walmart $1.60 for each. Intrigue is black spot prone like Angel Face ... so the rose park got rid of both. But I love the scent of Intrigue at the rose park, it smelled spicy-yummy.

I saw super-healthy BIG 2-gallon roses, full of buds at Menards for $7.97 each, shipped from Tyler, Texas. I'm paranoid about Dr. Huey take-over in zone 5a winter-kill, so I always stick with own-root ... more expensive, but I won't have to worry about root-stock take-over.

Yes, Vabyvlue, we got a cold spell this week ... non-stop rain, and temp. barely got to 40. The cold zapped most of spring blossoms, so I don't have much blooms on my fruit trees this year. Which means more expensive fruits at the grocery through the summer !!!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:58PM
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Evening ladies!

Today was a fun day shopping around the garden centers. I looked for the Kellogg Organic Soil but neither Lowes nor Home Depot carries it here. However, I found an organic blend called Pro-Mix at Menards that has kelp in it. Two days ago I got 'Sunshine Daydream' rose at Menards. I was very impressed with this rose when I visited the Columbus Park of Roses last year. We'll see how it does in my yard. I'm planting it next to Twilight Zone which is also new to my yard.

I can't decide whether to relocate or give way The Prince. I'm fed up with its under-performance in my yard. It does not get sick but it rarely blooms and when it does, it gives me one or two blooms. Even now, when all roses are full of buds, it had ONE bud which ended up being eaten by some kind of fat caterpillar so I won't get to even enjoy that one. It is in great soil, sun, etc.

I'm hoping that tomorrow will be dry enough that I can finally dust the roses with corn meal.

We got cold weather but not as bad. It got down to 38 degrees last night. I was fearful for my tropical plants but they were ok in the patio. Which fruits do you grow?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 10:18PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi vabyvlue: It's good to hear from you! Since I prefer to be called "Straw", can I address you as Vaby, or whatever name you prefer, please inform. Thanks.

I grow cherry, peach, and pear trees. But the deer broke my peach tree last year. I gave my second peach tree to my neighbor, he told me he wants to kill it, the Japanese beetles, and the squirrels got the fruits before he did. Last summer he put a Japanese beetle trap ON his peach tree, which attracted even more JB.

Pro-Mix is a well-praised soil-mix. Your Sunshine Daydream would be great next to Twilight Zone. Yellow compliments purple. The Prince does well and blooms well for folks in alkaline clay. I wonder what's your type of soil, Vabyvlue?

I have an own-root, Kordes Deep Purple rose that HATE my alkaline clay. When I dug up that own-root Kordes rose, its root shrank in my pH 7.7 alkalinity. That plant is disease-resistant, but its roots can't secret enough acid to utilize nutrients in my high pH clay. I also have a Kordes Flower Carpet GRAFTED ON DR. HUEY, and that one blooms well & always clean.

Dr. Huey rootstock, with its acid-phosphatase, can dig through my rock-hard alkaline clay better than my shovel. I killed a grafted Knock-out,and found Dr. Huey extending 4 feet away. In contrast, Dr. Huey rootstock is known as wimpy for acidic clay, and multiflora rootstock is much better for acidic clay. I wonder what type of rootstock your the Prince rose is grafted on?

The black spot-prone Angel Face and Double-Delight are best bloomers in my alkaline clay, as own-roots. My neighbor has a GRAFTED Angel Face on Dr. Huey, that's even more vigorous than my own-root, her Angle Face bush is huge, and always clean (she doesn't spray). Dr. Huey rootstock is a bonus for alkaline soil, but rootstock can take over with my zone 5a winterkill.

There's a process called "Acid phosphatase" that roots secret acid to extract nutrients from soil. More acid-secretion is great for alkaline soil, but wont' be good for acidic soil. As the pH drops, so do levels of calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. There's the rose-replant syndrome, most severe in England, where it's advised NOT to plant another rose in the same spot that was previously occupied by another rose.

I do that many times in my alkaline clay, no problems whatsoever, but I can see it can be a problem in acidic soil, where the previous root already secreted plenty of acid, and brought the soil pH down.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia on Acid Phosphatase of cluster roots

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, May 18, 14 at 9:14

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:25PM
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Hi Straw,

You can call me vabyvlue or Masiel (that's my name) or Mas. I think that vaby sounds weird. I should just change my login to my actual name. I've just been too lazy to do it.

I haven't done a soil test but Indiana soil is generally alkaline. My hydrangeas bloom pink so my soil is surely alkaline. I need to get my pH tested. When I first moved it was NOTHING but clay everywhere. It was a semi-new development so the builder took all the top soil. I've been adding organic matter every year but if you dig past a foot and lower, it will be mostly clay. I am happy though with my earth worm population. When I first started digging the beds there were none in most spots. Now, there is always a ton of them. I try to keep a mostly organic regime.

The Prince is in its own roots. I got it from Heirloom about 4 years ago. It has never done a whole lot. A very stingy bloomer for me. I get most of my roses either own root or from Canadian nurseries. Though this year, I've ordered quite a bit from Edmunds. Don't know what they graft in.

I love dark purple roses so I've gone overboard in getting them this year: Ebb Tide, Twightlight Zone, and Route 66.

I used to have fruit trees when I lived in Utah. I had a pear and a plum tree. The pears were the sweetest ones Ive ever tried. I can't even take credit for planting it, as it was already there when we got the house. I miss growing my own fruit. I do have a fit tree that I grow on a pot toverwinters in the garage with the roses. I also have a ton of strawberry plants that have basically colonized one of my flowerbeds. I started with just about six of them in a small area but they decided to move to the bigger bed and almost take it over. I keep digging a few here and there and moving them. I've let them alone right now b/c they are all setting fruit. Hopefully the birds leave some for me to enjoy.

I got new fertilizer for orchids that I was excited to try. It read 20-10-20. I figure, I might even try it on the roses (even though it is not organic). However, the thing had a huge disclaimer in the label for Residents of California to be aware that the fertilizer contains ingredients that have been linked to cause cancer and birth defects. I don't think so. I wish I would have read that label before buying it. That is why I mainly stick with organic/non-toxic care.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:35PM
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How bout Ladies of the Roses ? So mysterious...:-)

Well of course I new about Angel Face oh, but don't tell me Intrigue too. Good point about plating them where other roses were previously. I'm having good luck with my soap regiment. By the way, I started lathering the leaves on all my roses with only my soap, no karanja. The oils in the soap leave all the leaves shiny and repels water. We'll see by the end of summer if it holds up.

We had a few exceptionally cold days this winter and I lost
my annuals who think their perennials in my zone. I had 2 huge African daisies, the white purpelish ones growing like small 2x3 bushes for the last three years. The blooms in spring were jaw dropping! Hated to see those go but, had room for my roses. I live on acreage. I have the room though, that doesn't mean I should go crazy . Our droughts have been severe.

I bought many of my roses from Chamblee Roses and their roses are own root. It takes about three years for most of mine to get established but then they just take off. I'm going to send a pic of my mermaid. This little girl is the toughest rose I've ever seen. A climber with thorns that could snare a rhino. This is the first year she's covered in blooms. I don't even fertilize this sassy girl.

Hi mas, I also had many fruit trees when we bought the house.2 Pears,3 apples,2 figs, 2 plums ,and 15 peach trees. They were eventually cut down or died of old age or disease. I miss them too, but not the messy littered fruit on the ground. Yuck, about your fertilizer! I have well water, I am very weary of putting any chemicals in my soil. I won't even use fertilizer with weed control on my grass. ( There is a reason why golfers have higher instances of cancer.)
I'll just continue to pull my weeds. I seriously think it keeps me off meds...haha

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 10:38PM
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Hi Ann and Straw!

Check out my brand new user name? I feel like I just got a makeover. Ya like? :)

I had to create a brand new account since I could not figure out how to change my user name. I did consider Lady of the Roses, Ann. That sounds like a cool name too.

I am so envious that you can grow fig in the grown. How do you wash the leaves on your roses. Is it by spraying? How many rose bushes do you grow? Please do upload your picture of Mermaid. I love rose photos! So much that I just recently bought a new camera. Now I just need to figure out how to use the features. It is supposed to take great pictures.

I went to Wholefoods today and they had boxed English roses. I could not help myself into 'saving' one of these box roses. I have done three 'rescue trips' to Wholefoods. So far I've come home with: the Alnwick Rose, Winchester Cathedral and today with Gertrude Jekyll. The poor dear had basically no roots but I blasted the roots with the inoculant powder from Kelp4Less and planted her in amended soil with good stuff. We'll see what she does.

Ann, you are in much warmer weather. Are your roses in bloom?

Straw, which rose tends to be the first to bloom in your garden?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 4:32PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Mas and Ann: Ann, you made me laugh today, thanks for a great sense of humor. Mas, you also delight me with your new user-name, nice choice!

When I first entered Gardenweb, my kid chose "Strawberry_hat" as username .. it soulds so infantile so I changed to "Strawberryhill", the name of an English rose. Mas, you got great bargains: the Alnwick Rose, Winchester Cathedral and Gertrude Jekyll.

Krista in NY, with hundreds of fragrant roses, named the Alnwick rose as one of the top best scents. Her other top votes: Comte de Chambord and Jacques Cartier. Gertrude Jekyll is another good scent.

The first to bloom in my garden are Austin roses and Old Garden Roses: Pat Austin, Mary Magdalene, Wise Portia, Radio Times, Comte de Chambord, Marie Pavie ... Same with Cantigny rose park: their Abraham Darby & Eglantyne are the first to bloom. My hybrid teas died to the crown this year, will be at least 1 month behind the Austins.

HI ANN: I would love to have that many fruit trees like you (I love peaches). Too bad my garden is small & plenty of work with the dandelions taking over alkaline clay. My neighbor paid $240 per year for a company to spray & kill weeds on her lawn. I dig mine by hand just like you, Ann. It's actually worse than shoveling snow in zone 5a. I might try spraying the holes with vinegar to zap the dandelion roots for good.

There's corn-meal-gluten, to prevent dandelion germination. That stuff is expensive, so I would rather dig them up .. the neighbors' seeds kept blowing on my lawn ... it's so much easier to convert lawn to rose gardens. Google News last week had an article about the link between breast cancer and chemicals, such as dry-cleaning-clothes, lawn-mower fumes, stain-resistant carpet & furniture & Styrofoam.

We get free mulch here from the village, but I prefer mulching with composted horse manure, the lime in there suppress weeds very well. Mas and Ann, what other ways do you handle weeds and keep dandelions out of the lawn? Anyone else with tips on getting rid of dandelions? Thanks in advance.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, May 19, 14 at 21:43

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 7:57PM
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Thank you, thank you for the compliment! I feel like I'm moving up a notch if my new username is more upscale!

Your comment about The Alnwick Rose makes me all excited about seeing this rose blooming. Can't wait to smell her! Also, I am relieved to know that she is hardy in NY which means she will do just fine here. I think I need to improve the drainage of where I planted her. I will try your method of burring wood chips around it.

I really want Comte de Chambord but that will have to wait until fall. I am surprised you don't have any rugosas. Those are the first to bloom in my garden.

I really like the color of the blooms of Radio Times. Does it repeat well for you?

Ann, I forgot to mention that your comments about weeding were indeed pretty funny.

Though I don't spray and primarily use organic fertilizer, I am guilty of using Roundup in my flower beds to control weeds or evil plants like yellow loosestrife who refuses to die. I have another evil plant that came into my yard from a plant exchanged labeled 'Joe Pye Weed' but it was not Joe Pye Weed. It blooms white and it spreads like crazy. I just hate the plant. I don't even know what it is.

Straw, how many kids do you have? How old are they?

Ann, do you have children?

In regards to your question about my lawn, even though I love gardening in my flower beds, I do not deal with the lawn. I declared it to be part of my husband's responsibilities. Since he much rather watch TV, he has hired a local company to spray the lawn for weeds and grubs. Now that I'm reading both of your posts, I can see that it is not very safe. There are some evil weeds here. Before we had the company spray, we had clover taking over the lawn. We had tried everything organic and inorganic but it just wouldn't go away. Now the only weed I see that tries to establish itself in the lawn is thistle, and now bishop's weed which has sent seeds all over the place. It hitch hiked with another plant (the variegated bishop's weed). I let it be b/c the leaves are pretty but now that it is taking over and also sending seeds of non-variegated seedlings, it is another candidate for Roundup.

I am not sure who will bloom first in my garden. The first to show its dainty buds was Purple Rain but Hansa and then Therese Bugnet tend to be the first to bloom by about a week. I've just started really growing HTs this year. Before that it was mostly shrubs, floribundas and some OGRs. I do have Break O'Day an old HT that I got from Ralph Moore's nursery before it closed. I could not recommend it enough. I think there might still be one nursery that offers it. Break O'Day receives no special care (other than early spring when I tend to fertilize and care for the roses with lots of TLC). She weathered this winter nicely with barely any winter kills with no protection. She is rarely out of bloom, when most roses seem to take a break due to drought or heat, she just keeps on blooming. She is very healthy as well. The only fault this rose has is no fragrance. But her along with Sharifa Asma are the hardest working roses in my yard.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:50PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Mas: I enjoy your posts very much, and I hope to hear from Ann too. Gardening is a "Lone Ranger" hobby, it's nice to have friends. I have only 1 child, she's 11 yr-old. She doesn't care for gardening .. I didn't either when I was her age.

I enjoy hearing about the roses that you grow. You have Rugosa? Then your soil is less dense than mine. Rugosa HATE heavy alkaline clay, they have pale leaves & don't bloom well in my rock-hard clay (pH 7.7).

Thank you for mentioning about Bishop's Weed. I lost my battle in my last house with that weed. I look up eHow, it stated, "Cover the area where Bishop's Weed weed was growing with black plastic or tarp. This will exclude the sun for the remainder of the bishop's weed colony and their rhizomes so that photosynthesis is impeded."

Pouring hot water to kill plants work better than vinegar, plus less messing up soil chemistry. I make hard-boiled eggs everyday, I should save that, plus hot spaghetti water, to pour over weeds. I have been using those used hot water to pour into sinks (clogged with toothpaste), and it works really well.

Thank you, Mas, for your chit-chat which helped me to think through how to solve my weeds & dandelions problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to control Bishop's Weed from eHow

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Thanks for the tip! I sprayed Roundup on some of it and all it did was bruise some of the leaves. It is hard to do anything around it b/c it is right on top of my Reine de Violette and I don't want to harm the rose. I'll try pouring boiling water on the ones farthest away from the rose.

I agree that unfortunately gardening is a 'lone ranger hobby', specially around where I live. Most houses have lawns and nothing else, or just the same 4-5 shrubs with Knockout roses.

I was sitting outside with my husband last night while we were having dinner. I pointed to my blooming Dr. Alexander Fleming peony (new to my garden this year) and he said that he thought that was a rose. I pointed to my blooming 'Moonstone' (blooming in a pot) rose and said THAT is a rose. He could NOT tell the difference between a fat, big, lush peony bloom and a tight, still close HT bud. Can you believe that? (Ok, here is my first attempt ever at attaching a picture to a post)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 10:27AM
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Here is the blooming Moonstone

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 10:29AM
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Oh, and yes, I grow Hansa and Therese Bugnet. I got both of them grafted to help with suckering. TB ignored the fact that she was grafted and found her way to root itself. I just moved her this spring b/c she was determined to colonize the flower bed that she was in. I moved her to a spot where she can colonize all she wants (very close to the Bishop's Weed).

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 10:32AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Mas: You got Dr. Alexander Fleming peony? I bought that last year, but it might be something else, because mine doesn't look like yours, and doesn't have the fragrance I hope for. I spent $15 on the most fragrant peony, Myrtle Gentry, but the nursery sent that to me too late, and it died on me .. I don't miss that, since roses are SO MUCH better in scent.

Your garden looks so good: the lawn is thick & green. That's the 1st pic. of Moonstone that I see, very pretty rose. Thank you for posting, Mas, I enjoy your pictures. very much. I like the natural setting in your garden. That's funny about your husband doesn't notice things. Mine is the same. One time I made sweet rolls, put cream cheese topping (with raw eggs) ... and let the dough rise on the counter. My husband came home & was hungry so he ate the RAW dough with raw eggs and said they taste good .. he thought that they were baked already.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 12:10PM
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Thank you! Maybe I got the wrong peony? I bought it at Lowes earlier this spring. The tag says Dr. Alexander Fleming. Thank you on the compliment. I always get anxious about the look of my garden since I like to do close planting ( I like the English cottage look) but it is easy for that look to look overgrown. However, I can confirm that close planting prevents weeds.

I decided to grow a few HT for bringing indoors as cut flowers. Moonstone and St. Patrick have extraordinary vase life. However, they do need winter protection which means that they are destined to be potted roses in my yard.

Roses are queens my yard but I do love mixed borders so I include other plants that will bloom at different seasons plus provide good foliage.

The story about your husband made me laugh out loud. Too funny! They are so clueless sometimes but got to love them anyway.

Hope you didn't get too much hail damage yesterday/today?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 3:38PM
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I have 2 Belinda's Dream and 1 knockout Rose bush that are in containers and are about to be planted in my yard. I bought a bag of Rose Tone because I read that was good for giving roses a good start. Now I'm worried it will burn the roots. My soil was tested and came back fine and the rose bushes have lots of healthy greenery on them (no roses yet). I was planning on planting them tomorrow,butnow I am afraid I was misinformed along the way. I also boughyt organic soil and organic organic compost (lobster compost). Should I use the new soil and compost minus the rose tone?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 7:26PM
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Hi Dani,

Oh, I love Belinda's Dream! I usually put it in the hole with the mixed compost/existing soil mix when I plant roses. It is slow release. It has never burned my plants.

Straw might be able to give you more information on it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 7:35PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Mas and Dani: Lucky you in zone 6 and warm enough for Belinda's Dream. My zone is 5a, I saw how beautiful that rose is at Home Depot, but I bypass it after this past brutal winter. Even some public knock-out bushes didn't make it.

Here's the ingredients in RoseTone: Feather meal, chicken manure, cocoa meal, bone meal, aflafa meal, green sand, humates, sulfate of potash, plus beneficial bacteria. NPK 4-3-2. Folks put 1 cup of RoseTone in the planting hole, no problem whatsoever.

A few days ago I put 1/2 cup of Jobes Organic Fertilizer for each tiny geranium. It's similar to RoseTone, but with NPK 2-7-4. Jobes is actually riskier at higher dose, due to higher phosphorus (bone meal), and potassium. No burning whatsoever, the geraniums became vibrant in colors, thanks to the trace elements in bone meal.

Personally I think Epsoma Tomato-Tone at NPK 3-4-6 is better for roses: more of potassium & phosphorus for blooms. Let's get back to Rose Tone at NPK 4-3-2. All the ingredients are slow-released, except for sulfate of potash (a low 2). It's best to put 1 cup in the planting hole, since phosphorus (a low 3) stay put where applied.

One study showed that phosphorus only moves down 1" per year, that's why folks mix 1 cup of bone meal in the planting hole (18" wide, and 18" deep). The NPK 4-3-2 values of Rose-Tone are quite low, it's actually safer to mix THOROUGHLY into the planting hole, than applying on top, where it gunks up in one spot.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 9:11PM
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Great answer! I'm going to print it out for the next time one of my friends ask why. I just know to do it and see that it works but it is nice to be able to explain the why, proper credit will be given of course! :)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 9:02AM
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Do you grow Wild Blue Yonder? If so, how big does it get? Is it healthy? A friend of mine is gifting me this rose. The pictures look beautiful!

BTW, I grow Belinda in a pot so you could get one from HD. I actually went there yesterday to see if they had it but all they had was knock outs.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 9:13AM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Mas: I don't grow Wild Blue Yonder but I researched on it extensively in the past, and took it off from my buy-list with Chamblee. Some info:

It died on a zone 5a person, it might be a one-cane-wonder in zone 6a winter, so won't occupy much space. WBY is a grandiflora: narrow and tall. WBY scent is light. One person killed it in CA, since it's too tall & lanky. No complaints of disease.

I would use only organics, and zero chemicals (not even sulfate of potash) on WBY, since chemicals tend to make plants too tall & lanky. See below research done by Purdue University Extension, here's my summary from PDF file:

"A seven year Purdue study started out with very low phosphorus (8 ppm) and medium potassium (70 ppm) soil test levels. The results show the highest yield in alfalfa with: 50 lb. of phosphorus and 300 lb. of potassium. That's six times more potassium than phosphorus.

Another success is 100 lb. of phosphorus and 200 lb. of potassium. That's twice more potassium than phosphorus. Their study also showed decreased quality of plants with excess chemical: low leaf-to-stem ratio, and P and K cause shoots to grow taller and thicker."

Here is a link that might be useful: Purdue U. Extension research on phosphorus & potassium

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 9:40AM
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thanks for the info! I am wondering if I should keep this one in my pot ghetto? I was planning to plant it in the purple bed (where I plant mostly purple stuff) but now I don't know.

Grandifloras are new to me this year. In all my years growing roses, I've avoided them because I ranked them with HTs. I overcame my aversion to it, and planted Sunshine Daydream which is blooming her heart out. Love that rose so far but it just looks like a floribunda even though it is a 'grandiflora'.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 1:09PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

Hi Mas: I wish I had kept my hybrid teas inside my garage for the winter, they would have more canes that way. Seaweed has 160+ roses in Southern CA, but her lap top isn't able to upload pics fast like my PC, so I'm testing to see if I can upload a pic. that she sent to me.

Below picture is a bouquet from Seaweed. The blue rose is "Blue Moon", the big red is "Libensauzer", and the deep yellow is "Gold Glow" rose.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Fri, May 30, 14 at 13:59

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 9:23AM
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