Monthly Organic Rose Care Calendar – Southern California

Although this Rose Care Calendar is specific to Southern California, the procedures and products may apply by adjusting the months in my calendar to your area starting when you prune.


  • Prune roses.
  • Plant bare root roses and/or transplant roses after pruning.
  • Pull off all leaves and clean up all debris from around roses.
  • Put down 2 Tbs of John & Bob’s Soil Optimizer around roses, scratch in lightly
  • Put down 2 C Dr. Earth Rose Fertilizer (or other organic fertilizer) per plant, scratch in lightly
  • Put down 2 C Biosol, scratch in lightly
  • Dormant spray (See Below)


  • Prune roses if not done in January-plant bare root roses, transplant roses after pruning.
  • (Same as Jan if not done in January)
  • Check new growth and sidebud if necessary. Continue sidebudding throughout the year as desired.
  • Finger prune excess growth going to inside of bush.
  • Wash off aphids (water blast) at first sign (best to do early morning).
  • Start regular watering of plants if not enough rain to sustain.


  • Mulch when soil warms up.
  • Give roses humus or humic acid (found in compost or some organic products-read label).
  • Make alfalfa tea (or some other tea or use an organic liquid fertilizer) when roses have 4-6 inches of new growth.
  • Walk garden daily to check for pests and/or fungal disease.


  • Fertilize with organic fertilizer (Dr. Earth), Biosol, and, if not done in January, John & Bob’s Soil Optimizer.
  • Deadhead roses after initial bloom and continue throughout year.


  • Apply Fish Emulsion (Dilute 1 Tbs. per gallon of water-feed 1 gallon to large roses and 1/2 gallon to small roses.


  • Put down 2 C Dr. Earth Rose Fertilizer, scratch in lightly.


  • Make sure roses have plenty of moisture in heat of summer.


  • Toward the end of month, “summer prune” to promote good fall bloom. Prune 1/3 of bush.
  • Put down John & Bob’s Soil Optimizer, Dr. Earth Rose Fertilizer, and Biosol; scratch in lightly.


  • Give roses liquid food-(Alfalfa tea, Compost tea, Soil Soup, etc). (Optional)


  • Feed roses 2 C Dr. Earth (last time in year), scratch in lightly.


  • Stop deadheading, instead pull off old petals, leaving hips.
  • Slow down on watering, but do not let roses dry out.

Dormant Spray: I no longer dormant spray. The reason for dormant spraying is to kill over wintering pests or disease. I no longer have a problem with that, therefore I do not feel a need to use dormant spray. When I did use it, I did not notice any appreciable results. In instances where you have a pest or disease problem you can use a lime-sulfur spray or a horticulture oil to control these problems after pruning.

Make sure roses are well hydrated before spraying or feeding. Water 8-24 hrs before applying. Mulch as soon as weather warms up to help conserve moisture and keep down weeds. Use mulch that will help build your soil. Also foliar applications of seaweed, soil soup or compost tea help keep disease and pests under control and improve foliage. Apply worm castings anytime. (I use it twice a year-after pruning and in Aug/Sept.) Make sure a regular watering cycle is implemented once new growth starts in spring. Water around rain. Do not let new growth dry out or it will burn. In heat of summer, increase watering to keep roses hydrated. Deadhead flowers throughout spring and summer to promote new blooms. Make proper cuts using sharp bypass pruners.

The products that I mention here are readily available in Southern California, but may not be in your area. Most of these products are available for mail order from their websites (listed below). There are probably several organic products in your area, that may do the same or even have similar ingredients for your use, and may give the same results. Be sure and check the ingredients on the package. Read and follow directions on packages of fertilizers and other products. Organic fertilizers do not burn so can be applied when you like. Do not use systemic fertilizers (pesticide and fungicide all in one).

When feeding or spraying, it is best to observe safety procedures and not breath in even organic products. A simple dust mask will help keep it out of your lungs.

Check out these websites for information on the products mentioned in my calendar and for other good gardening ideas.

Alfalfa Tea

Make in a 32 gallon trash can. Place 6 one-pound coffee cans of alfalfa meal in the trash can. Add enough water to fill the can. Cover and let it set for 24-48 hours. (Maybe even longer to get it more concentrated, but stir often). When the alfalfa tea is ready, you may optionally add other ingredients such as 2 cups of fish emulsion, or, if you wish, a water-soluble organic fertilizer added according to the manufacturer’s directions. Mix well. Give each large rose bush one gallon. For each mini-rose, give 1/2 gallon diluted to half strength.