Small roses and blooms

What causes roses to be small? Most come back each year the same size. However, some at the Richmond Rose Garden are very small. They even have smaller blooms.

Hi Beth - I think I would start to evaluate by going through the basics. Has there been a recent soil test done? Ideal pH is 6.2 - 6.7. Outside of that range, nutrients may not be available for the plant. The soil test can also help understand if there are any nutrient deficiencies. Are the plants receiving adequate water? Is the soil of good composition?

Thank you for your ideas!

We did do a soil test. I believe our pH was 6.9. The Richmond Rose Garden is run by a Board and several new members have made the decision to use compost only with no mulch. And they have been putting a lot of nitrogen down. We do have drip irrigation that runs twice a week. However, I feel like the soil is really dry.
My roses at my house look great right now but when I go to the Rose Garden many of the roses are just very small with only 1-2 canes and small flowers.
Perhaps they are not receiving adequate water. It is hard to say.

Thanks again,

Beth, roses need a minimum of 1” of water per week. If soil drains well more water is needed.

Sounds like a water issue. Get out a hose and give them all a good drink. Then, add some alfalfa pellets. It has an ingredient called triacontanol which helps plants absorb and transport the nutrients in the soil. Water again. Then try a balanced fertilizer 10-10-10. and water once more. A little bit of fertilizer throughout the season I found is much better than a large amount given occasionally.


I water every other day with drip irrigation.
Roses need a moist soil in order to draw up nutrients . No moistere and roses become stunted.
David Cannistraro
Master Rosarian

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