Growing Roses Organically

Growing roses organically is not so very difficult if you follow a few of the simple rules below : 


Get used to using compost as it is the key to great roses. Compost tea is the ideal solution to a wide variety of rose feeding problems and once you get the hang of making it, this is the way to go with organic culture. Compost and compost tea encourage the proliferation of beneficial microorganisms that will combat most rose problems. 

Container Grown and organic roses are no more difficult. I use a weekly dose of fish emulsion to feed the rose and every two week application of compost tea in an attempt (likely futile) to keep the microorganisms alive in my containers. I note that chlorinated city water kills off all beneficial bacteria and fungi in container grown plants. 

Compost Tea

I do water my rose leaves with compost tea to try to keep the beneficial bacterial and fungal populations high on the leaves. The hope here is that I’ll manage to have enough good guys to fight off most of the bad guys. 

Plant Choice Importance

Plant choice is important. Given the choice of a rose that is susceptible to fungal infections such as blackspot or one that resists this disease, then the choice is obvious. Go with disease-resistant roses. 

Avoid Chemicals

Avoid chemicals at all costs. A single dose of fungicide will wipe out all microorganisms on leaf surfaces. This means that the fast-reproducing bad guys will appear again before the slower-reproducing beneficials. By wiping out everybody, you’re guaranteeing the bad guys will reappear first and the leaves will be without protection. Use the fungicides recommended in articles on blackspot and mildews for growing roses organically. 

Drips from the leaf surfaces that hit the soil will also kill off bacteria and fungi in the soil. These are the ones that are fighting disease off in the soil and helping to feed the plant. Fungicides are a quick way to set your plant on a slippery downhill slope. 

Chemical Fertilizers

Avoid chemical fertilizers. The reliance on artificial sources of nitrogen is like feeding sugar candy as a main course. There’s a lot of activity afterwards but it really isn’t nutrition. Numerous studies have shown that plants fed artificial nitrogen have leaves that contain more sugars in them than organically fed plants. 

This extra sugar attracts more pests (pests prefer sweet leaves to normal leaves). So growing roses organically means relying on compost and organic fertilizers to feed the soil first and let the soil organisms feed the roses. 

Organic Insect Control & Growing Roses Organically

Use organic methods of insect control. There is a growing library of articles up on the sites that deal with a wide variety of pests using organic methods. From strong water jets for knocking aphids off bushes (when they hit the ground they become food for beetles). To soap to kill off others. To rotenone and diatomaceous earth for other pests along with iron phosphate controls for slugs, there are no rose pests that resist organic controls (you just have to figure out what the pest is and which control to use). 

All of the articles on this site and my other sites are environmentally based and doing a search will find you a ton of information you can use for growing roses organically. 

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