The Plant Food That Saved My Roses Is Almost $40 at My Local Flower Shop, but It’s $27 at Amazon Right Now
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I saved my Knock Outs and my money.
When I decided to spruce up my home’s curb appeal last year, I thought I knew how to plant roses. With the help of my landscaper, I found Knock Out roses that were on the smaller side—almost 3 feet tall—and planted them once the threat of frost was gone (I’m all the way out here in Zone 7b). That first summer, I got a couple blooms out of them, but nothing like I’ve seen on Pinterest or even while walking the dog around my neighborhood. Knock Out roses are an easy-care plant because they don’t need dead-heading and they can grow up to 4 feet tall and wide if given the chance. But in two seasons, there have only been a handful at best.
That all changed when I bought Osmocote Smart Release Plant Food Plus. Someone I’ve long followed on Instagram swore by fertilizing wave petunias and hydrangeas with it, so I wondered if it’d have the same effect on stunted roses. After some digging, I visited my local nursery where an 8-pound bag cost $40, but when I took a peek on the Amazon app, it was listed as on sale for only $27—marked down from $35. Either way, it was cheaper on Amazon than in stores, but with the additional markdown, I saved nearly $20 (give or take some tax).
Buy It: Osmocote Smart Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor and Indoor, $27 (was $35), Amazon
While some other fertilizers have rose-specific formulas, I love that Osmocote plant food works for just about any kind of flower, both indoor and outdoor. With that kind of versatility, there is more bang for your buck (because even I can’t justify dropping $40 on fertilizer just for roses).
Related: The 11 Best Fertilizers for Indoor Plants of 2023 to Help Your Greenery Thrive
It works best with plants that need strong and fast root growth, which is why roses (and hydrangeas) take to it so well. The roots of a Knock Out can grow about 3 feet deep and spread 3 feet wide, and because Osmocote fertilizer is slow release, it distributes nutrients to those roots over the course of several months. If you know anything about roses, then you know that’s exactly what roses want rather than all their nutrients at once.
After only a few weeks, I’ve noticed a difference in my Knock Outs. Only time will tell when it comes to their long term health, but I’m optimistic, especially considering this fertilizer’s 4.7-star rating from more than 23,000 Amazon shoppers.
One five-star reviewer called it “the only food for your flowering plants,” adding that they mostly garden organically, but have found that flowering tropicals, flowering trees, shrubs, and roses “will get nothing but Osmocote.” The reviewer adds, “It just always performs… and it keeps them fed the whole season, and I always have amazing blooms.”
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Another shopper wrote, “My garden is bursting with health and blooms,” adding “my hydrangeas are spectacular,” as well as their roses, azaleas, and shrubs, which “are just flourishing.” The same reviewer particularly loved how Osmocote is “no fuss” as there are “no worries about additional fertilizing” and called it part of their “yearly garden plan.”
I can say the same for my own garden. Things are looking up for my front-yard Knock Outs, which have about 40 buds each so far, and the nearby Limelights are benefitting, too. If you’re like me and low-maintenance cottage gardens are your vibe, do your roses a favor and fertilize only once this season with an 8-pound bag of Osmocote Smart Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor and Indoor—now on sale for $27.
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