What to do: February
In February, you will want to finish all your pruning for the Spring bloom. We recommend that you prune back the rose about 2/3rd and remove the leaves from the canes. We take the leaves off to collect any left-over mildew spores or insect eggs to give your plants a clean start for the new year. Also remove all the dead leaves and other debris around the base of the rose, again for a nice clean start. For a climbing rose, cut out the small twiggy branches and leave the nice long canes behind. You can then try to gently pull these long canes to a horizontal position, so as to expose more of the cane to the sun, and consequently more blooms. Zip-ties work great for tying canes down, simply tie around the support structure and cane, zip-pull through and cut off the slack.
You may begin to fertilize early this month too. Start with ‘organics’, those feeds that will break down slowly and last the longest, such as ‘Mac’s Magic Mix’ from Catalina Heights Nursery, or ‘Vigaro’ Rose food with iron, or ‘Bandini’ rose food. A cup or handful of any of these will work. Alphalfa pellets, ( cup ), also is a good nitrogen source to add. Either horse or rabbit pellets works. A handful of Epsom salt will provide magnesium for your rose, which aids in the plants’ development. You can also try fish meal, a cup per bush, which you can find at the local feed store. Keep the fish meal away from your pets, as it could make them quite ill if they ingest this. The fish does good things for plants, even though it is a bit smelly.
At the end of the month, you can add water soluble feed like ‘Miracle Gro’, or ‘Peters’ to give supplemental nutrients or ‘Magnum Gro’. Feed every two weeks.
OK now, time to get busy!