Best Soil for Roses

“What is the best combination of soil/amendments when building a rose garden flower bed?” Question from Nancy of Denton, Texas

Answer: It’s an excellent question. A great part of successful rose growing is getting the soil right. The best soil for roses should have a good balance of porosity and water-holding ability in addition to a slightly acid pH between 6.5 to 7. Basically, roses need good drainage and ample organic matter, so plant them in a raised area with soil that drains well and then add lots of good amendments.

I fortify my soils for roses with Black Gold Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, which has a lower pH, and Black Gold Garden Compost Blend. The combination of the two is perfect. Before planting my roses, I like to add a 1:1:2 ratio of peat to compost to garden soil.

I also fertilize the soil at planting time. My favorite natural rose food is alfalfa meal, which has the perfect balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for roses. It really supports good growth and flowering. But, this is just one of many commercially available rose fertilizers to try.

Mulch really helps roses during the heat of summer, and I know it gets hot in Texas. My favorite mulches for roses are leaf mulch (chopped, partially composted leaves) or pine straw. Both look sharp and work well.

I also recommend you watch our recent Black Gold Video, Organic Rose Growing in Nine Steps  (below)! I hope this helps!

Happy rose growing, Jessie




Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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