Whether you grow them in beds or in containers, roses appreciate soil that’s loamy with a pH of about 6.5. Just what does that mean and how do you achieve it? Read on and I’ll tell you.
What is Loamy Soil?
A loamy soil contains three particle sizes in relatively equal proportions – clay, sand and silt. This mix makes the soil just porous enough to allow good water retention and drainage as well as air and nutrient circulation.
So get to know the composition of your soil. Is it sandy? Heavy clay? Grab a handful and squeeze it in your fist. When you open your fist what happens? Good soil will crumble not clump (too much clay) or slide off your hand (too sandy).
What is Soil pH?
Soil pH tells you the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. A pH of 3.5 is highly acidic and 9.0 is extremely alkaline. Roses prefer a soil pH closer to the middle, around 6.5. You can determine your soil’s pH with a home soil test or send samples to your local cooperative extension for more thorough results.
Getting the Soil Right in Your Rose Garden
So how do you transform what Mother Nature supplied you into something that will make your roses happy?
If you’re planting roses in containers or raised beds, you’re in luck. Just mix up a batch of this rose soil.
- 1/3 potting soil
- 1/3 compost
- 1/3 bagged manure
Amending garden soil will take a little more effort because digging is required.
- 1. Dig 12 inches deep into the soil, setting the removed soil to the side.
- 2. Mix 2 parts garden soil with 1 part compost and 1 part bagged manure.
- 3. Return the soil to the area as you plant your roses.
Good to Know
Organic matter releases nutrients into the soil as it decomposes. To kick start the process, enhance the soil with Jobe’s Organics Rose and Flower fertilizer. It contains microorganisms that aggressively break down materials into basic nutrients and trace elements that plants can readily absorb. Good stuff for the garden!