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Is this soil good enough for a rose?


 I'd like to plant my Generous Gardener climbing rose against this wall.

However having dug a hole, the soil seems to be very poor:  Stony, thick clay.  I have half a bag of rose compost but still don't know if this will be good enough for the backfill. Am I better off putting it in a large pot?


  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601

    It would certainly be difficult to find much good to say about that soil! I don't think climbing roses do well in containers, though others may have had better results. If I were you I would buy several bags of rotted manure and two of coarse grit sand. I would dig out the soil down to about 2 feet, breaking up the stuff underneath, mix it all up with the grit and muck and pile it back in. Water it, tread it down a bit and then plant into it. You are very close to a wall so don't forget it may need watering more often.

  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,437

    I've planted climbing roses in soil much, much worse than that... what you've got there wouldn't worry me in the slightest.  

    It would be helpful if you used  a sprinkling of mycorrhizal fungi over the root system at planting time, and if you want to amend the soil [I often don't bother these days],  you might like to dig a hole a bit bigger than that, edging closer to the wall I think,  and include composted manure, grit or gravel and anything else you might have to hand, but the roots will eventually find their way around and will cope with whatever you've got, it just may take a bit longer, and you need to give your rose, as with all Austin varieties actually, 3 seasons of growing, by then you should start to see the best of them... they can be very disappointing in their first season or two... by the 3rd year they take off and can appear like a different rose entirely...

    East Anglia, England
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,437

    I should add, what I would also do there is use a garden fork and fork over the ground as much as I could manage, it looks rather compacted, so I'd be wanting to achieve more friable conditions if possible.  A fork is quite good for that purpose if you have one, trying to loosen the compaction somewhat... then after planting, I would cover the whole area in the photo with some bagged compost mixed in with composted manure [not wood chips], and reapply this each season... forking it in lightly... you'll be surprised what a difference this can make over time..

    Here's a photo of my 'Lady of Shalott' rose, another Austin variety.  Planted 3 years ago in the most horrendous conditions, builders sand, rubble, hardcore, any proper soil exists about 2 feet down.  A bit of patience was needed...


    Last edited: 18 June 2017 22:43:02

    East Anglia, England
  • FireFire Posts: 18,146

    I too would dig a large, wide, deep hole and fill it with a grit, manure, and compost mix. keep it really well watered until next year.

  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,633

    The other problem you have is that the plant is very close to a wall and is therefore in a rain shadow. You will have to water it regularly to keep it healthy.

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
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