5 easy ways to keep your roses blooming all summer – using Epson Salts and old newspaper

A flower expert shares the savvy ways you can prolong the flowering period of your roses

Pink roses on a bush in a summer garden to support how to keep roses flowering for longer
(Image credit: Getty Images | Maksims Grigorjevs)

Roses are a garden beauty to behold when they bloom, but how can you ensure they flower for longer? According to experts, the secret to enhancing the flowers and keeping them thriving for longer lies in several handy gardening hacks you might not have heard of.

From knowing how to prune roses with maximum efficiency to using secret household ingredients to enhance the soil, there are several easy ways to keep your roses flowering for as long as possible this summer. 

Follow these top tips and clever hacks to ensure your cottage garden blooms last longer this year.

How to keep your roses flowering for longer

"Roses are the stars of the garden, and with a bit of care, they can thrive all summer," says Elise Harlock, brand manager and flower expert at Prestige Flowers.

1. Control pests with dish soap

Country garden with a wooden fence surrounded by rambling rose bushes to support a guide on hoe to keep rose flowering for longer

(Image credit: Getty Images | Jacky Parker Photography)

Stay on top of common pests to ensure your blooms are well-preserved all summer long. Elise's savvy hack suggests using a harmless household essential to get the job done.

"Roses are susceptible to pests like aphids and spider mites, which can diminish their beauty," explains Elise. "A quick and easy solution is to mix a few drops of washing up liquid in a spray bottle filled with water."

"Spray this mixture directly on the affected areas once a week to keep pests at bay,' Elise advises. "It's a gentle yet effective method that won't harm your roses."

Could this also be the humane answer to get rid of tiny black flies in the house

Driew Plant Mister Spray Bottle: £3.20 at Amazon

Driew Plant Mister Spray Bottle: £3.20 at Amazon

This misting spray bottle is ideal for mixing up a soapy water solution to apply directly to the affected area when needed.

2. Sprinkle Epsom Salt for an extra boost

Epson salts

(Image credit: Getty Images | 4 Nadia)

While there are specialised rose fertilisers to deliver the right nutrients Elise has a savvy alternative."Epsom salt is a fantastic, often overlooked tool for rose care," she explains. "It provides magnesium, which is essential for photosynthesis and overall plant health."

Explaining how to administer the right amount of salt solution she adds: "Dissolve a tablespoon of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and spray your roses monthly. This will enhance their colour and vitality."

Hexeal Epsom Salt: £17.49 at Amazon

Hexeal Epsom Salt: £17.49 at Amazon

This generous 10kg bucket of Epson Salts has plenty of magnesium sulphate to enrich the soil for better health and staying power of roses.

3. Make mulch with a twist

Red rose bush with mulch around the soil to help keep the flowers for longer

(Image credit: Getty Images | Mary Violet)

Protecting the soil is a great way to ensure the roots are kept in the best shape possible and mulch is the easiest way to do this.

"Mulching helps retain soil moisture and suppress weeds," Elise explains. "But here’s a clever hack: use old newspapers." 

"Lay a few layers around your roses and cover them with organic mulch like bark or compost. This not only helps the environment by recycling paper but also keeps your garden neat and tidy."

This sustainable gardening idea makes use of household waste while protecting your plants, much like using eggshells in your garden or using orange peel in your garden.

RocketGrow Magic Mulch: £9.99 at Crocus

RocketGrow Magic Mulch: £9.99 at Crocus

Recycling old newspapers is a great way to make homemade mulch, but should you need more we recommend this peat-free blend. The mixture is 100% sustainable mulch harvested on organic Somerset farms from traditional crops: maize, rye and grass. 

4. Proper pruning and deadheading

person using secateurs to deadhaed a rose bush to show to keep roses flowering for longer

(Image credit: Getty Images | Valeriy_G)

"Pruning is essential to keep your roses healthy and vigorous," says Elise. "Trim back dead or diseased wood and regularly deadhead spent flowers. This encourages new growth and extends the blooming season."

Knowing how to prune and deadhead roses properly is the key to success, and as per Monty Don's rose deadheading advice it's a job that should be done daily at this time of year. 

When deadheading roses, as when deadheading peonies, he warns against merely pulling off the spent petals by hand, instead recommending using professional secateurs to cut the spent stem right back to the next leaf or bud below. 

Mastering how to deadhead your plants most efficiently will ensure they flourish for the longest time possible during their flowering period. Taking the stem back that far will invite the possibility of a side shoot growing in its place, which in turn can carry more flowers.

Gonicc 8" Professional Secateurs: RRP: £29.95 currently £18.95 at Amazon

Gonicc 8" Professional Secateurs: RRP: £29.95 currently £18.95 at Amazon

Deadheading and pruning roses require a professional tool to make a clean cut. We recommend this best-selling premium set of professional secateurs with their quality premium titanium steel blades. The highly recommended tool comes with praise on the comfortable 'padded handles' to make the job easier.

5. Sufficient feeding and watering

person watering yellow rose bush in the garden

(Image credit: Getty Images | 50 Photography)

"Roses are heavy feeders," Elise explains. "They need a consistent supply of nutrients to thrive." She recommends using a balanced fertiliser every four to six weeks. 

"You can also use banana peels. They’re rich in potassium, which supports blooming. Just chop them up and bury them around the base of your rose bushes."

Proper hydration is equally crucial. "Ensure your roses receive deep watering once a week, especially during dry periods," she continues. "Using a soaker hose is a great way to deliver water directly to the roots without wasting a drop."

Flower Shape Plant Self Watering Globes, £20.99 at Amazon

Flower Shape Plant Self Watering Globes, £20.99 at Amazon

While Elise recommends a soaker hose, we also recommend these handy watering stakes. The set of 5 glass bulbs not only takes care of watering your roses they add a charmingly decorative touch to your planting scheme.

All these ideas feel like a gentle approach to gardening, supporting the latest garden trends that all welcome more eco-friendly alternatives to nurture our plots. 

Speaking of which, remember that any garden waste resulting from pruning and deadheading is a valuable resource if you make compost at home.

Tamara Kelly
Lifestyle Editor

Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 22 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of womanandhome.com, she has spent the last 17 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.

A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interior trend forecasting events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.