Rose Care Tips from Larry “The Rose Guy”

I would like to share a few tips I have learned along the way as well as some products I strongly recommend for growing good, healthy roses.

Gardening Tips:

  • When I am in the growing season I keep a garden calendar. I keep a record of fertilizing, spraying and watering.
  • When I do my spring pruning around tax time, I use Elmer’s wood glue to seal the end of the canes to prevent cane borers. I add some food coloring to help show me which ones I have done.
  • Since most of the roses that are sold are grafted, you need to protect the graft during winter. You can do this by putting additional soil, or leaves around the base of your plants to act as insulation against the cold. In the spring just pull extra protection away.
  • Roses like acid soil from 6.5 to 6.2 Ph. It’s a good idea to have your soil tested at least every 2 years. Michigan State University offers this service with a very complete list of nutrients that you should add to make your soil ideal for the roses.
  • Nobody likes black spot. If you find this problem, you should start spraying immediately with a Copper or Zinc based fungicide like Espoma Earth Tone Garden Fungicide. Be sure to spray it on after dusk, on dry leaves, and avoid spraying open flowers. Since black spot will survive the winter, it is also a good idea to spray the ground around the plants. You also need to remove the infected leaves to keep it from spreading.

Product Recommendations:

  • Bayer All in One Rose and Flower Care does it all…fertilizes and protects against both diseases and insects. Apply every 6 weeks. (Don’t use this on newly planted roses. I recommend Fish emulsion to start and then apply Bayer All in One about 2 weeks later.)
  • You should be using Miracid in your regular feeding schedule, especially if you are using city water. This water makes your soil more alkaline.
  • One product I can’t recommend enough is Grass Magic and I am pleased that we are now selling it at Wenke Greenhouses. I’ve been using it for the last 8 years and have gotten phenomenal results. In the fall, it gets into the soil and is available to the plant when they come out of hibernation. In the spring it provides constant feeling through most of the growing season. I use Grass Magic on everything. I put it on my lawn, my flower beds, and especially, my roses. I even put a handful into my hanging baskets to perk them up throughout the season. If you are interested, we have a few bags remaining this season.

Learn ‘All About Roses’ from Larry Hill. Larry loves talking about roses and sharing his knowledge and love of roses with others. Have a rose question? Larry can be reached at


Print Friendly, PDF & Email