So you\u2019re thinking of buying a rose to fill the air with fragrance and to marvel at the summer bloom, but you don\u2019t know whether it will survive in your fast draining sandy soil...\n\n\n\nHardy Rose species such as Gallicas and Regosa Roses can thrive in poor quality, quick draining, sandy soils. However, to ensure a good bloom, the rose will benefit from four gallons of water once per week, an application of fertilizer once per month and soil amendments such as organic mulch to help retain water and improve soil fertility.\n\n\n\nLet\u2019s take a further look at how to prepare sandy soil for\nrose planting, which roses are best suited for sandy soil, how to fertilize\nyour rose and how often you should be watering your rose in the growing season\u2026\n\n\n\nHow to Prepare your\nSandy Soil for Rose Planting\n\n\n\nSandy soils occur naturally in particularly arid areas or where the underlying bedrock is made up of sandstone and fine material, but can also be caused by previous building work.\n\n\n\nThe two biggest problems with sandy soil are\u2026\n\n\n\nThe soil is too nutrient poor for roses to produce the best bloomsSandy soils will drain too quickly for the rose\u2019s roots to absorb water and the rose dies of drought.\n\n\n\nRoses do love well draining soil, but sandy soils drain so fast that if left unamended, they will be too dry for growing roses.\n\n\n\nThe best solution to both these problems is to amend your soil with plenty of organic mulch which will improve the fertility of the soil and help retain the right level of moisture in the soil.\n\n\n\nPlanting a Rose in Sandy soil\n\n\n\nWhen you\u2019ve decided on the perfect spot for your rose, dig the hole at least twice the size of the root ball of the rose, both in terms of width and depth.\n\n\n\nThis will give you plenty of space to partially fill the hole with a generous amount of mulch so that the rose\u2019s roots have plenty of loose, fertile material to make themselves at home.\n\n\n\nIf you have sandy soil and live in an arid climate, the best organic material to line your hole will be made up of decomposed leaf litter. \n\n\n\nAll organic mulches do retain water well, but leaf mulch in particular is the best material for absorbing and holding onto water so that the roots can draw upon it when the need it, to counteract the fast draining sandy soil texture.\n\n\n\nLeaf mulch also improves soil structure which allows excess\nwater to drain through so roots will not be waterlogged which is the best of\nboth worlds.\n\n\n\nAfter you have planted your rose I would recommend that you add plenty of organic material to the surrounding soil area around your rose. \n\n\n\nComposted kitchen scraps, grass clippings and wood chips will all benefit the health of your rose by breaking down into the soil and reinvigorating the beneficial microbes, yeast and fungus which all make more nutrients available to the rose. \n\n\n\nA layer of mulch will also feed the earthworms, which work to break down material into highly fertile worm castings. With worm castings the nutrients are chelated, which means that it is in a form that is far easier for the plant to absorb and benefit from. \n\n\n\nAdditionally earthworms will aerate the soil to ease soil compaction and create channels for water to reach the roots and create space for the roots to grow down deep into the soil.\n\n\n\nBy making the soil more fertile with regular mulch applications,\nthe plant will be healthier and more resistant to disease.\n\n\n\nIt is best to add a surface mulch to rose beds three times a\nyear:\n\n\n\nOnce at the start of spring to provide nutrients and help stimulate growth.A second time during the height of the summer for added moisture and to keep the roots cool as the intense sunshine will increase the rate of transpiration and evaporation.A third application the end of the fall, to help insulate the roots from the sudden drop in temperature in winter.\n\n\n\nPile the mulch 2-3 inches deep around the rose but keep the mulch about 2 inches away from the main stem. If you have mulch that is constantly moist and pilled up high against your rose cane then this can start to rot the wood, so take care when layering you mulch.\n\n\n\nWatering your Rose in\nSandy Soil\n\n\n\nAll roses like a good drink in the spring and summer but you\nhave to be especially diligent with quick draining sandy soils.\n\n\n\nIf you have amended your soil with plenty of mulch then this\nshould help to alleviate the problem significantly. \n\n\n\nThe amount of watering also depends a lot on the climate you\u2019re in or the specific weather you have that summer so the best advice is to give your rose a good soak once a week with around 4 gallons (in the morning), but to also use your intuition. \n\n\n\nYou can test if your rose needs watering by placing your finger an inch or two below the surface in the surrounding soil. If you detect any moisture then your rose should be doing just fine, but if it is bone dry its time to get the hose out for a good soak.\n\n\n\nIf your rose is too dry then it will show signs of stress such as wilting and the leaves turning yellow, at which point your will need to give the rose a good soak and heap on some more organic mulch around the surface of the plant to help retain that water.\n\n\n\nFertilizer for Roses in Sandy Soils\n\n\n\nSandy soils are low on nutrients which is why applying regular mulch is essential. However to ensure your rose is healthy and blooms with the most amount of flowers possible you will need to use a fertilizer once a month in the growing season as sandy soils tend to be particularly low in nutrients. \n\n\n\nThe best time to start fertilizing depends on your climate. After you are confident there will be no more frosts from the tail end of winter you can begin to fertilize your rose in the spring slightly before the leaves are fully open. (Usually in March\/April).\n\n\n\nYou have to wait till after the last frost because the fertilizer will stimulate new, softer leaf growth which is susceptible to frost damage. \n\n\n\nYou should also stop fertilizing your rose after the 15th of August so you don\u2019t promote new, soft growth which is again more susceptible to frost damage and will be killed when the temperature drops in the fall\/winter.\n\n\n\nThe new growth your rose has put on in the growing season needs time to harden up and prepare for its winter dormancy.\n\n\n\nI personally have found success with using a miracle grow rose fertilizer for use in sandy soils. This fertilizer contains a good balance of all the minerals and nutrients that has all the ingredients for a healthy disease resistant rose bush with plentiful blooms with only two applications per year during the growing season.\n\n\n\nAlternatively you can fertilize organically with fish emulsion, bone meal and alfalfa. Use a combination of these fertilizers once per month in the growing season. \n\n\n\nA word of caution when using organic fertilizers is that they tend to smell and attract flies whereas formulations such as miracle grow tend to be more benign when it comes to emitting smells and attracting unwanted wildlife.\n\n\n\nEach individual garden differs in terms of soil fertility, amount\nof sunlight, humidity etc. so there may be an element of trial and error before\nyou get the conditions right for the perfect bloom but if you have applied\nplenty of mulch, good fertilizer, in a spot with enough sunshine and water then\nthere is every chance you will grow roses successfully in sandy soil. \n\n\n\nRose Varieties Suitable\nfor Sandy Soils\n\n\n\nFor sandy soils you are always better off choosing the\nhardier varieties of roses that are capable of growing in less favourable conditions\nyet still able to produce spectacular blooms with a sweet fragrance.\n\n\n\nThe safest bet to go for is Roses from the Gallica and\nRegosa groups. Both Gallica and Regosa roses are exceptionally hardy and can\nstill grow and thrive in spite of drought and poor soil quality. \n\n\n\nThe also are particularly resistant to disease and pests\nwhich can be the bane of a rose growers garden. \n\n\n\nIt is of course still best practice to add plenty of mulch and give it a good soak in the dryer months not matter how hardy a rose is, to give it the best chance to thrive.\n\n\n\nRegosa roses can even tolerate salty spray so if you are in\na costal region this is the rose for you. My personal favourite regosa \u2018Rubra\u2019\nrose blooms with beautiful classic pink flowers and plentiful summer blooms.\n\n\n\nRegosa roses tend to be more commonly available online and at garden centres then gallica roses but if you are lucky enough to find a gallica, I recommend \u2018Charles De Mills\u2019 rose because of its bountiful petals, large flowers and beautiful fragrance. \n\n\n\nConclusion \n\n\n\nSo to summarise, with the right rose variety and some amended conditions rose can grow and display plentiful flowers when growing in sandy soils.\n\n\n\nRemember the biggest challenges will always be providing the rose with enough nutrients and access to water, so adding more mulch then you normally would to a rose garden is a great plan. \n\n\n\nIf the fertility in your garden is notably poor then make sure you fertilize your rose regularly. \n\n\n\nWith nutrient deficient soils (as sandy soils tend to be) a pre-made formula is often the best way to go as it takes the guess work out of fertilizing. The provide all the nutrients a rose needs, at the right concentration and they are very easy to apply.