Can Rose Fertilizer Be Used On Hydrangeas? (Explained)

Pink hydrangeas

So you want to know, ‘can rose fertilizer be used on hydrangeas?’

Hydrangeas aren’t overly demanding plants, so surely you can use fertilizer for one flowering shrub on another right?

We look at that more closely in this blog and consider exactly what a hydrangea does want from fertilizer.

Without further ado, let’s get started…

Can Rose Fertilizer Be Used On Hydrangeas?

Rose fertilizer can most definitely be used on hydrangeas. Ideally, you want to look for a slow-release rose fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio. Supplementing this with feeds of fish emulsion or liquid seaweed should add secondary nutrients that will see all the needs of your hydrangea satisfied.

The Proof is in the Pudding

I am going to put my hands up here and say I have been growing hydrangeas for a long time, and I have never used rose fertilizer on any of them.

Not for any reason other than I’ve always used a general-purpose, slow-release NPK 10-10-10 chemical fertilizer and it has worked well.

But I do know people who use rose fertilizer on their hydrangeas with great success.

In my research for this post I also randomly looked at some of the most popular rose fertilizers being sold on Amazon and searched for feedback in relation to their use on hydrangeas.

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Here is a quick summary of what I found with some direct quotes:

Espoma Organic Rose-tone

  • “Best hydrangea fertilizer – Great for hydrangeas.”
  • “This one is special as it brings out the blooms on flowering shrubs and especially on Clematis and Hydrangeas as well as Roses of course.”

BioAdvanced All-in-One Rose and Flower Care Granules

  • “This systematic granular product has so far been 100% effective on hydrangeas.”
  • “I have been searching for this product for over a year.. it works so well on my roses & hydrangea.”

Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed Rose and Bloom Plant Food 

  • “I used this with several plants I put in the ground this year. the roses are blooming like crazy. so is my brand new hydrangea.”
  • “My new shrubs, flowers and hydrangeas I planted weren’t looking so well so I spread some of this around their bases and the results were surprising. All developed deep green leaves and new growth within two weeks.”

Scotts Rose & Bloom Continuous Release Plant Food

  • “I recently bought several “blue” hydrangea plants. Unfortunately, one was mislabeled and the flower was pink. I bought this product and have amended the soil with it over the course of the summer. Delighted that the flowers are turning blue!”
  • “I started using this on my hydrangeas as soon as I saw them starting to sprout through the dirt and it made an obvious difference in them. They’ve always been healthy and hardy, but this year they became even bigger and heavier.”

Those quotes reflect the general views of users who brought the products. I haven’t been selective and genuinely I didn’t find anyone saying that rose fertilizer had had a negative effect on their hydrangeas.

I could have tried to blind you with science on whether rose fertilizers will work well for hydrangeas, but at the end of the day I know we all value first-hand experience more than anything.

So yes, rose fertilizer most definitely can be used on hydrangeas.

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Look For a Well Balanced Rose Fertilizer

Despite what you may read in some places hydrangeas are not hungry feeders in the same way roses are.

They certainly don’t get stimulated as much as roses do with nitrogen-rich fertilizers.

For this reason, if you are going to use rose fertilizer on your hydrangeas (and there is no reason why you shouldn’t), make sure it isn’t too high in nitrogen and is slow-release.

For me, as I mentioned at the top of this article, a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 12-4-8 or 10-10-10 composition should provide everything your hydrangea needs.

A once-a-year application of a slow-release fertilizer should work very well.

It is important to remember that hydrangeas are not overly needed when it comes to fertilizer and have fairly simple requirements.

Too much fertilizer can have a negative effect, so it is always better to err on the side of caution in this respect.

Regular additional applications of weak ‘fertilizers’ such as liquid seaweed and fish emulsion can also help.

These will provide small amounts of nitrogen, but plenty of secondary nutrients that your hydrangeas will love but are sometimes leached out of the soil.

If you do add these weak fertilizers remember to stop around July, or around three months before the date of the first frost, so your plant goes dormant in the winter.

Such are the needs of hydrangeas that once they are established, they don’t necessarily need fertilizing unless your soil has deficiencies.

Once they are established as long as they are well mulched they will get everything they need from the decomposing mulch.

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Final Thoughts

Hydrangeas in bloom

So the answer is yes, rose fertilizer can most definitely be used on hydrangeas.

Like hydrangeas, roses are flowering shrubs and many people use rose fertilizer to grow big and beautiful hydrangeas.

Ideally, you will want to look for a slow-release fertilizer with a well-balanced NPK ratio.

Avoid anything that is too high in nitrogen as hydrangeas aren’t as heavy feeders as roses.

Apply a slow-release rose fertilizer once a year and maybe supplement it with regular feedings of something like liquid seaweed or fish emulsion to give it some extra nutrients and you should be good to go!

Hydrangeas do have pretty simple needs when it comes to fertilizing and after a few years, when they are fully established, good quality mulch should keep them blooming.

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