Roses in Early September

Roses in Early September

September is one of the most glorious months on Cape Cod. The days tend to be clear and warm, the nights cool and the annuals flower gardens in full flower. Also in bloom in Cape gardens in the fall are the roses. Any repeat flowering rose usually produces a large encore performance at this time of year.

If you don’t see your roses beginning to create new buds, here’s how you can help revive them so that they’ll bloom well into the fall.

1. Clip. Snip off any old flowers or developing seed pods from earlier in the summer. (This is called deadheading.) If you did that in July or early August, you’re already ahead of the game.

2. Water. Roses do best when given a deep soaking every 3 to 4 days in the hot summer and once a week in the cooler fall. Deep soaking is the important term here…don’t water by hand because the area you soak won’t be deep or large enough. Use a sprinkler or soaker hoses, or be sure that any automatic watering is long enough to dampen the soil at least 10″ down.

3. Fertilize. If you applied Flower-tone in July or early August you’re all set for fertilization. But if you haven’t applied fertilizer since the spring it would be a good idea to do so now so that new growth is stimulated. After your roses have been well-watered, apply a liquid fertilizer mixed according to directions. We love the fertilizer MaxSea for use at this time of year but another product that is part or all synthetic would be fine as well. (Totally organic fertilizers applied at this time of year won’t be available soon enough to stimulate the growth needed for flowering this month. Since it’s already early September, the roses need fast food. You can switch back to an all organic fertilizer next spring if desired.)

4. Spray. Blackspot hasn’t been a huge problem on roses this summer unless the plants were frequently hit with water from an automatic irrigation system. Nevertheless, spraying with an organic fungicide will help protect your plants into the fall and next season. Serenade is one of the many options we have for this use.

This shot of a Climbing America rose was taken in late September in Sandwich.

This shot of a Climbing America rose was taken in late September in Sandwich.

Two shrub roses - Home Run (red on right) and the pink Oh So Easy Cherry Pie are also in flower in September.

Two shrub roses – Home Run (red on right) and the pink Oh So Easy Cherry Pie are also in flower in September.


  1. Eileen McMorran on September 2, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Hello CL
    Can you plant shrub roses at this time? Where would you purchase them now and do you have recommendations?
    Thank you for the blog and radio show. Eileen

    • CLFornari on September 2, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      Yes, you can plant roses in the fall. It might not be the best time to find more unusual varieties in the garden center, however, although at Country Garden we sometimes have shrub roses at this time of year. Shrub roses are often the easiest to grow, but you should always choose a rose based on the location where you’ll be planting it. If you need a shrub that stays low, for example, you’ll want something like the Drift series or FlowerCarpet roses. The popular Knockout series grow five to six feet tall and wide, so plant accordingly! And there are a variety of climbers…my personal favorites for climbing roses are Collette and Climbing America since they are reliable recurring bloomers.

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