Rose Soil Preparation: Tips For Building Rose Garden Soil

By: Stan V. Griep, American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian, Rocky Mountain District

By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District

When one brings up the topic of soil for roses, there are some definite concerns with the makeup of the soil that make them their best for growing rose bushes and having them perform well.

Rose Soil pH

We know that the soil pH is optimum at 6.5 on the pH scale (pH range 5.5 – 7.0). Sometimes the rose soil pH may be either too acidic or too alkaline, so what do we do to effect the desired change in the pH?

To make the soil less acidic, the common practice is to add some form of lime. Typically, ground agricultural limestone is used and the finer the particles the more rapidly it becomes effective. The amount of ground limestone to be used varies with the current soil makeup. Soils higher in clay will typically require more of the lime additive than those lower in clay.

To lower the pH level, aluminum sulfate and sulfur are typically used. The aluminum sulfate will quickly change the pH of the soil for roses where sulfur will take longer, as it requires the aid of the soil bacteria to make the change.

For any pH adjustment, apply the additives in small amounts and test the pH at least a couple of times before adding any more. Amendments to the soil will have some effect on the overall soil pH. We need to keep this in mind and keep an eye on the pH level. If the rose bushes start to change in their performance or even have an overall change in natural foliage coloration or natural shine, it could very well be an out-of-balance soil pH problem.

Preparing Soil for Rose Bushes

After considering the soil pH, we need to look at the beneficial micro-organisms in the soil. We must keep them healthy in order for the proper breakdowns of the elements that provide the food for our rose bushes to take up. Healthy micro-organisms will crowd out pathogens (the disease making bad guys…) in the soil by competitive exclusion. In the process of competitive exclusion, the beneficial micro-organisms reproduce themselves quicker than the bad ones and sometimes even feed upon them. Keeping the micro-organisms happy and healthy will usually involve adding organic materials/amendments to the soil. Some good amendments to use for rose soil preparation are:

  • Alfalfa meal – Alfalfa meal is a good source of nitrogen and is nicely balanced with phosphorus and potassium, plus it contains Triacontanol, a growth regulator and stimulant.
  • Kelp Meal – Kelp meal is a slow-release Potassium source providing over 70 chelated trace minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and growth-promoting hormones.
  • Compost – Compost is decomposed organic matter that increases microorganism activity and improves the overall quality of the soils.

These, along with some peat moss in them, are all wonderful soil-building amendments. There are some great organic composts on the market in bagged form; just be sure to flip the bag over to read what all is actually in that compost. You can also make your own compost fairly easily these days with the compost maker kits at local garden centers.

Roses prefer a rich loamy soil that drains well. They do not like to have their root systems in soggy wet soil, but cannot be allowed to dry out either. A nice, pliable, moist feel to the soil is what is desired.

Nature has a way of telling the gardener when the soils are good. If you have been successful at building rose garden soil, the earthworms come into the soil and are easily found there. The earthworms help aerate the soil, thus keeping the oxygen flowing through it and keeping the entire biological process in good balance, working like a well-oiled machine so to speak. The worms further enrich the soil with their castings (a nice name for their poo…). It is like getting free fertilizer for your roses and who does not like that!

Basically, a good soil makeup for roses is said to be: one-third clay, one-third coarse sand, and one-third decomposed organic matter. When mixed together, these will give you the right soil blend for providing the best of soil homes for your rose bush’s root systems. Once you have felt the texture of this properly blended soil, it should go through your hands and fingers, and you will easily recognize it from then on.

This article was last updated on

The Best Rose Fertilizers for Healthy and Vibrant Rose Plants and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Like humans, roses require a healthy diet of nutrients to grow and perform well. However, just as popping too many vitamin pills causes humans to overdose on a good thing, excess use of chemical fertilizers causes soil to overdose on plant food and excrete polluting runoff.

To become fit and flourishing, both people and plants need nutrients from natural sources. The best rose fertilizers combine these nutrients with other essential elements to improve the condition of the soil, as well as feed the plants that grow in it. These recommendations can help you decide which type and brand of fertilizer might work best for your blooms.

Neutral pH

Roses prefer a soil with a neutral pH of about 7, but they can still survive in somewhat more alkaline soil. When the soil has a higher pH, however, they may suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, a problem that requires extra-rich soil, compost or fertilizer to correct. Before you plant rose bushes, perform a soil analysis with a soil test kit from a garden supply store. The test will tell you whether the soil is acidic or alkaline. If it's acidic, you can amend the soil with powdered limestone, wood ashes or oyster shells.

Rose Gardening Soil Preparation

People need healthy food to perform their best, and roses are no different. Roses flourish beautifully in the right conditions, and the proper balance of soil “ingredients” is important for growing rose bushes. While these flowers are not frail, caring for roses can mean a lot of preparation work before you get to enjoy their beauty. In fact, roses are plants that require a large amount of nutrients in the soil in order to grow large and colorful blooms. The most important thing you can do for you roses is to feed them right. Since roses gain their nourishment through the soil that they are planted in, this means that you should take extra care to make sure that the soil is prepared sufficiently to support healthy growth.

Here are some tips for proper rose gardening soil preparation.

The first step you need to take before planting is to dig up all the ground in your bed. You don’t want any hard soil left. By digging up the ground, you will have the ability to get the fertilizer well mixed into the soil and this will allow the nutrients to sink into all of the dirt. This means that no matter what direction the roots grow in, they will be able to reach food.

You want to make sure that the entire layer of nutrients reaches at least two to three feet. As your rose plant grows, its roots will reach deeper and deeper and this will make certain they are fed.

Your next step is to dig a one foot deep hole and lay the soil to the side. You can place it in your wheelbarrow or on a piece of plastic so that it can be re-added later. After digging the hole in the garden bed, the next step in rose gardening soil preparation is adding fertilizer. This can be in the form of compost, peat moss, or manure. You may want to consult a local greenery expert for advice on which fertilizers are available and useful in your area. Since climate can affect them, your fertilizer should be the one most potent in your area. Add around three inches of fertilizer directly into the hole you have dug in the bed. Start digging for another foot, mixing the fertilizer with the soil. This is the hole where you will place your rose plant, so you will want to make certain that the fertilizer and soil are mixed extremely well. After it has been mixed very thoroughly, it’s time to add the dirt from the hole back into the rose bed. Once the dirt has been replaced, add another three inches of the fertilizer over the top of the rose bed. To protect your roots and encourage their growth, also add some bone meal. There are also rose fertilizers especially designed for the soil of a rose bed, you may want add some now if you want. But the soil should be well prepared without it. After all these layers have been added, use a spade to mix them up a little more and rake the top of the roe bed smooth.

The next step of rose gardening soil preparation is the hardest one: waiting. You need to give the soil a few weeks to absorb all of the nutrients before planting your rose plant. This will ensure that your rose plant is being fed the minute it gets planted.

If you follow our rose gardening soil preparation tips, your garden will be ready for planting. And you rose garden is well on its way to success.

Reviews of 10 Best Soil for Roses

1. Black Gold 1310102 Soil for Roses, 8Qtz

Black Gold 1310102 Soil has emerged as the overall best soil mix for roses due to its various properties. To begin with, the soil beats its top competitors in terms of drainage, soil aeration, and nutrient proportions. Better yet, the soil boasts of a balanced PH – something that facilitates the uptake of nutrients, minerals, and water from the soil by the plant roots.

Another unique feature regarding Black Gold 1310102 Soil for Roses is that it comes with added slow-release fertilizer meant to give your roses a solid and healthy start.

Since roses require well-aerated soil, Black Gold soil comes with peat moss, Perlite, Pumice, forest humus, and worm castings. These are meant to allow your rose plant roots to receive enough air for optimal growth.

Experts highly value this soil for planting roses as it can create a balance between drainage needs and moisture retention. This means your rose plant roots will never suffer from the consequences of under or over-watering.

Although Black Gold 1310102 soil offers incredible benefits to your rose plants, it’s so unfortunate that some people discovered fungus gnats on their indoor potting soil.

    Wide range of use Comes ready for planting The soil can create a balance between water retention & drainage needs Well aerated and Comes with a balanced PH

2. Miracle-Gro Soil for Roses, 16Qtz

Miracle-Gro soil for roses is all you need if you are looking to grow healthy roses effortlessly. The soil comes highly nutritious and promises to keep your plant well feed for up to 6 months.

More so, it saves you from the hustle of watering daily thanks to the inclusion of coconut coir. These help to retain moisture and release it to the soil as the need arise.

You will most likely fall in love with their best potting soil for roses as it’s resistant to fungus gnats which are potentially harmful to your beloved rose plants. Fungus gnats are attracted by compost or barks, and these are not included in Miracle-Gro soil.

Another pleasing thing with their best soil amendments for roses is that it’s multipurpose and can grow other plants besides roses. It gives you the freedom of being flexible and creative with your DIY projects as deems feet.

The only thing you may not like with the soil for roses is that it comes packaged in non-reclosable packaging bags. Are storing whatever soil that remains after filling your pots can be hectic.

    Wide range of uses Great for indoors or outdoors DIY projects Less prone to molds and gnat fungus risks Retain moisture hence saving you from the hustle of watering daily Feed your plant for up to 6 months
    The soil requires great care after opening the seal Not all aspiring individuals can raise its initial cost

3. Jobe’s Organic Soil for Roses

When buying the best soil mixture for roses, one of the things you should be keen on is confirming that your preferred choice has zero traces of synthetic chemicals. If you resonate with these sentiments, you have no better choice than Jobe’s Organic soil for roses.

The soil has been tested and verified by experts in 3 rd party state of art labs, and the final results revealed it’s 100% organic. You should therefore have no fear when using this soil for your plants, especially the edible ones.

Unlike most other soils for roses you will come across in the market, Jobe’s Organic Soil contains Jobe’s Biozome, a proprietary micro-organism archaeon responsible for breaking down ingredients for quicker results.

Besides, Jobe’s Biozome enhances soil conditions and helps it resist the risks of diseases, insects, or draught amid the plants’ growing seasons.

Something else that makes their best soil for potted roses an incredible option is meeting all the OMRI standards. It’s also certified by USDA, meaning you should use it with confidence.

Unfortunately, the soil may not be the best value for money. Some people think it’s exaggerated.

    OMRI listed Contain Organic Granular Fertilizer to feed your roses Guarantees quicker and healthier plant growth 100% users satisfaction guarantee Easy to use with a wide range of applications

4. Earth 805 Soil for Roses, 1.5 Cu Ft.

If finding the best soil mix for container roses is giving your sleepless nights, stress no more as here we introduce to you the O.G of potting soil.

Unlike the various potting soils for roses you’ve so far encountered in the market, DR. Earthworks magic supports your plants’ healthy growth. First and foremost, the soil requires no extra additives – i.e., it comes ready for planting straight away from the market.

Secondly, it comes featuring microbes that are very beneficial to your plant roots—this helps to stimulate root development, thus causing your plant roots to feed more aggressively for quicker growth.

The soil is 100% natural with no synthetic additives – you can be confident when growing edible plants such as vegetables and fruits with this soil.

The downside is that the manufacturer does not attend to customer needs promptly. Sometimes you may even not get any feedback at all.

    No extra additives needed for this soil It’s a 100% natural It can be used to grow a variety of plants Comes package in huge bags hence great value for money You enjoy doorstep delivery

5. Espoma RT18 Soil for Roses, 18 Pd.

Our review of the best soils for planting roses can never be termed complete if we dare leave out Espoma RT18 soil. The soil is uniquely blended with thousands of valuable microbes, which are very important in boosting the soil conditions.

It offers your rose plant a reliable and continuous supply of nutrients for as long as possible. This gives you a guarantee that your plant will never starve due to a lack of proper nourishment. There are a total of 15 nutrients that are released slowly into the soil as needed by your plants.

Professional farmers prefer this soil over others due to the superior aeration it offers. This goes a long way to making it easy for nutrients, water, and minerals to penetrate the soil and reach the plant roots.

The soil can be used for all your DIY projects, either outdoor or indoors. It’s able to retain water and release it slowly whenever a need arises. This saves you the hassle of watering daily and gives you ample time to attend to your other demanding issues.

On the other side of the coin, this soil does not come with a scooping spoon or handling gloves. You may have to incur these on your own, and this means added cost.

    Features thousands of microbes which helps to boost the soil conditions Great for all DIY projects – indoors or outdoors No smelly odor Superior aeration and Great moisture retention capacity

6. Miracle-Gro Soil for Roses, 2 Cu Ft.

When we talk of miracle gro garden soil for roses, only experts and previous users can understand what we mean. The soil is not in any way comparable to other options. If you doubt these sentiments, think of the fact that this soil will feed you plants for over six months without requiring you to add anything (other than watering)

The soil promises to offer your plants added benefits that may be hard to achieve with other brands. For instance, it promises to provide healthy and sturdy growth for your roses. It will also stimulate root developments meaning your plants will feed more aggressively, thus growing quicker and faster.

Experts highly recommend Miracle-Gro soil as it does not feature ingredients that would otherwise attract molds and fungus gnats. It’s, therefore, safe, and you should be confident that your plant has the best growing conditions.

On the flip side, some users complained to have not seen the soil performing as claimed. They think it’s a mere exaggeration meant for marketing purposes. You should, however, not criticize until you give it a try.

    Great for potting or reporting your roses It comes with a balanced PH Boasts of proper aeration and drainage It does not attract fungus, molds, or weeds Great value for money

7. Organic Plant Magic Soil for Roses

Your search for the potting soil for roses container isn’t yet over if you haven’t yet heard about the award-winning potting soil for Roses – Organic Plant Magic Soil. To begin with, the soil is 100% non-toxic and hence very safe to grow edible foodstuffs such as fruits and vegetables. The manufacturers have it that their soil does not feature any traces of pet or human waste hence it’s also safe for handling without hand gloves or scooping spoon.

It’s the best so far if you are looking to get the best out of your money. This holds considering that it’s packaged in huge bags, which means you will not need to return to the market soon.

According to experts, Organic Plant Magic Soil for Roses comes concentrated to feed your plants for as long as possible. You will appreciate that a tiny amount goes a long way.

Some users claim to be in love with this amending soil for roses as it’s children and pet friendly – it will never cause harmful effects since it 100% organic.

Better yet, it’s made from biodegradable and environmental-friendly ingredients hence a great choice.

Something you may dislike about Organic Plant Magic Soil for Roses its texture: some people complained that it floats once you add water and does not form a perfect “slurry.”

    Environment friendly No smelly odor It comes to concentrate,d meaning a small goes a long way 100% user satisfaction guarantee Doorstep delivery at your convenience

8. Miracle-Gro Soil for Roses, 8lbs

If you have been keen on this post, you’ve noted that Miracle-Gro is the topsoil for roses recommended for almost all the potted plants. There are very many reasons why this brand has been the most featured on this list. Some of these include its ability to nourish your plants for over three months without promoting you to add anything other than water.

Besides, it’s loved by farming experts as it eliminates guesswork out your Roses feeding. In case you are newbies or haven’t used their soil before, stress less as it comes featuring a user guide manual. This will let you know how to best use the product for maximum benefits.

The soil from Miracle-Gro boasts of superior aeration, proper drainage, and balanced PH. All these work together to boost your plants’ growth. As a result, your potted rose plants will mature 3X earlier.

You will love the soil as it features no smelly odor. Instead, it’s great for growing fresh air indoor potted plants in your home or office.

It’s light and fluffy hence easy to work with – even kinds can enjoy their DIY projects in pots or raised beds.

The flip side is that the soil attracts moisture quickly from the environment if not properly sealed – something that may cause it to lose its value while in storage.

    Light and fluffy Your Roses mature 3X earlier Great for indoor fresh air plants No smelly odor Environment-friendly
    The soul needs proper storage after opening the seal Some users think the soil isn’t what’s claimed to be

9. Miracle-Gro Soil for Roses, 0.33 Cu Ft.

If you ask what the best planting soil for roses is, here we present you with the most reasonable answer. Miracle-Gro Soil has been around for a while, and today it’s the most sought-after planting soil for roses and other plants.

It’s loved by many users for it saves them huge costs. This is justifiable as it comes packaged in huge bags which contain enough soil to fill several pots. More so, it’s a favorite choice among many individuals as it saves them the hassle of caring for their plants daily.

This is possible considering that it holds moisture for several days, contains enough nutrients to feed your plants for up to 6 months, and lightweight and fluffy.

According to the manufacturer, the soil expands 3X than regular soil once you add water. You will there need a small amount to fill containers.

Unfortunately, the cost of a 0.33 Cu Ft. bag can be high for some aspiring users to afford.

    Great value for money Feed your plants for up to 6 months A great option for retaining moisture suitable for a wide range of uses The fresh smell of tilled soil

10. Down to Earth Soil for Roses, 5lb

Whether you are growing Roses plant in pots or raised beds, there is no better soil than Down to Earth. First and foremost, the soil is OMRI listed, meaning it has met all the standards of recommended soil for Roses.

It comes featuring Alfalfa meals that are high in natural plant growth stimulants and nutrient traces. These help to boost the growth of your Roses so that they attain maturity earlier.

3 rd party results show that their soil is GMO-free and comes high in elements such as amino acids, potash, and plant hormones. It will thus offer maximum benefits to your roses.

On the flip side, it’s not so popular among most farmers. Some claim they’ve never heard about or tried the soil.

    Stimulates plant growth for earlier maturity A natural compost bio-activator Prolonged shelf-life Lightweight and light-textured It does not float in water – instead, it mixes well to form perfect slurry

Best Soil for Roses: Buying Guide

When buying the best soil for Roses, you will discover countless options however, not all will offer you precisely what you need. To ensure that you are on the right track, consider the best soil properties for Rose Plants.

Consider Soil Aeration

Your Rose plants will only prosper if you plant them into well-aerated soil. Proper soil aeration means the air will rich the plant roots for a fitter and sturdy plant growth.

Proper Drainage

Proper drainage is essential as it ensures that your plant roots remain exposed to rotting risks.


The best soil for Roses should be to create equilibrium between drainage needs and water-retentions. This will ensure your plant root never dry out or rot.

Soil PH

The PH of your soil will determine the ease of minerals, nutrients, and water uptake by the plant roots. Make sure that the soil you are about to purchase has a balanced PH.

Soil Texture

Soil texture affects several things. For example, it determines the effort needed to work on the soil before planting seedlings. Also, it determines how well or poor the soil in question can hold water.

Watch the video: Roses for Beginners. The Dirt. Better Homes u0026 Gardens

Previous Article

About garden

Next Article