Roses forum: Soil Recommendation for Containers

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Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
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AnnofPA
Mar 16, 2015 12:29 PM CST
Hi All!

What soil mix works best to grow a rose in a half whiskey barrel? I've read a light soil is best, but I'm concerned about water retention if it's too light. What has worked for you?

A local nursery suggested Black Forest tree and shrub mix combined w/topsoil. Which I used last year to pot a rose. In hindsight, I think this is too heavy and should at least have used potting soil instead of top soil. The rose has only been in it a year and did grow well, so we'll see how this year goes.

Thanks!
Name: Andi
Pocono Mountains, PA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap
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GardenQuilts
Mar 17, 2015 8:39 AM CST
I read to estimate winter in a large pot is at least one zone lower than in the ground. You would want to choose a very hardy rose if you are growing it in a container.

You definitely want good drainage soil mix and containers. Two of my outdoor containers look like melting popsicles today. They were frozen solid. I can't drain the water because they are still frozen solid to the ground. Other planters were covered in snow all winter. The snow is up to the rim of the pots.

I amend planting holes with peat moss and compost or manure. I also use Bayer systemic rose disease control products. I top dress the plants monthly. Some people like RoseTone. I haven't found it in the local stores.
[Last edited by GardenQuilts - Mar 17, 2015 8:44 AM (+)]
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Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
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AnnofPA
Mar 17, 2015 4:25 PM CST
Thanks for the suggestions! I had read a rose should be 2 zones hardier if planted in a pot but this is for a rose that has been in a barrel for a number of years so it apparently is hardy enough.

Sorry yours froze. Sounds like a good reason to buy new roses! : )
Name: Andi
Pocono Mountains, PA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap
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GardenQuilts
Mar 18, 2015 9:52 AM CST
My roses are in the ground. I moved this year and hurried to get them in the ground before winter. I lost some in the move. I am concentrating on starting veggies and flowers from seed this year, but I am always tempted to buy roses!

I had two decorative pots with annuals at either side of my front door. I put a pine tree in each and striped pipissewa, a woodland ground cover. Surprisingly, the pine tree and ground cover look fine. I was able to drain water from one pot. the other one remains under a heap of snow dumped by the snow plow. The pots will have different plants and different locations this spring.
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
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AnnofPA
Mar 18, 2015 12:03 PM CST
That's great your pine trees and ground cover survived. I had dwarf spruce in pots 2 winters ago and they died. Maybe yours survived by being against your house.

Are you starting seeds inside or out? This is my 2nd year to start seeds by winter sowing in milk jugs. I had more plants than I knew what to do with last year. The only thing up so far is kale.
Name: Patty W
La Salle Illinois (Zone 5a)
Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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Pattyw5
Mar 20, 2015 7:07 PM CST
It seems kind of heavy to me also. I've used Black Forest and think you'd be better mixing it with a lighter type potting soil. Then the Black Forest will help keep the peat based medium from becoming compacted. I would think the top soil would hold to much moisture. Hope that this may help a bit.
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
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AnnofPA
Mar 21, 2015 2:31 PM CST
Thanks Patty!

That's exactly what I decided too. I wasn't even going to use the Black Forest this time, but I checked the barrel that already has it in, and I didn't think it was heavy so the new barrel has Black forest and potting soil, 1:1 ratio.

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