Rose’s Secret Sauce

Has your relationship with your rose bushes been a bit…thorny? We have the inside scoop on how to treat your blushing buds right by using ingredients that are already in your kitchen. Incorporating a few of these can restore balance and beauty to your rose garden! Before diving into our favorites, remember that roses require 8-10 hours of sun daily. They also need plenty of water and air circulation, so make sure that the base of each rosebush is clear of foliage.

We’ll begin with our secret sauce: banana peels and coffee grounds. Seriously! Roses adore the potassium in bananas, while coffee grounds add moisture and improve the quality of your soil. One banana peel (whole or ground up) per bush is ideal, accompanied by two tablespoon of coffee grounds. If you have a few sips of coffee left tomorrow morning, that will work just as well as grounds! This homemade fertilizer decomposes easily, meaning that the soil enjoys a fresh burst of essential minerals like magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, and calcium.

Another fun boost for your roses is homemade compost tea (and if you’re looking to begin a compost, read our post here). Fill a bucket about ⅓ of the way with compost, and then fill the bucket with distilled or well water, all the way up to about 2 inches from the top. Over the next five days, give your compost cocktail a stir a couple times per day. This releases the rich nutrients into the water, making it easier (and faster) for it to break down and be absorbed by your rose bushes. On the fifth day, strain the compost out with a mesh screen or strainer. Return it back to your compost bin, and you’ll be left with dark, dirty looking water — A.K.A. compost tea! This container will keep for a few weeks if kept out of direct sunlight. Apply to the base of your roses once per month in the spring, summer and fall.

For us tea drinkers, those leftover tea bags are a great tool for rose health. Tea leaves contain very helpful compounds that roses love, and there is nothing in tea leaves that can hurt your plants! We wouldn’t suggest relying on this for a comprehensive fertilizer; rather, combine tea leaves with other organic waste (including wood ashes; these are a good source of potassium). If your soil is more alkaline, bear in mind that the tannic acid in tea leaves makes your soil slightly more acidic. They also add nitrogen, which is especially appreciated by your plants as they grow during the spring.

Sprinkle about one cup of crushed eggshells around the base of your rosebushes, once per month. This helps them resist certain diseases, have stronger cell walls, and boost calcium levels, resulting in healthy foliage and stronger root systems. As your roots become more and more robust, your roses will be able to absorb more nutrients from the soil.

Fish bones are rich in nutrients (just like any kind of bone), and if you grind them up to a fine chalk or powder, they can be spread around the base of your rosebushes. Put them in a blender with a little water. They’ll decompose, and strengthen your soil health by adding calcium and other minerals. If fish bones are not accessible, you can always buy fish emulsion fertilizers. Our favorite brands to use are Lilly Miller and Neptune’s Harvest.

What home remedies do you use for your roses? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next thyme,
My Thyme Gardens

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