The Q&A Archives: Soil for Roses

Question: What is the best soil to use to grow roses in Manhattan?

Answer: If you are growing the rose in the ground, you will first need to run some basic soil tests and work from there. Your local Extension (566-0673) should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results. Your goal is to provide a rich, humusy, moist yet well drained soil with a pH ideally in the 5.8 to 6.2 range. Adding organic matter is almost always a good idea, as is using an organic mulch such as shredded bark which will feed the soil over time as it breaks down. If you are growing the rose in a container, an ordinary potting soil mix is fine but the container should be large; you will need say a half whiskey barrel (or a 12 inch diameter pot for a mini) placed in full sun. In either case, keep the soil moist and fertilize and/or topdress with compost regularly.

If you are beginning with roses you might wish to take a look at a good basic book about them. One I particularly like for its straightforward approach is "Roses for Dummies" by Lance Walheim (ISBN 0-7645-5031-4).

Good luck with your roses!

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