CarolynB
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:27 am
Location: Livermore, CA

roses went downhill due to poor potting soil

I'm wondering if anything can be done to bring roses back after they go downhill due to being in poor potting soil. I'm unable to use commercial potting soil due to having an allergy to it, so I tried to make homemade potting soil. Some of my plants are okay with the homemade potting soil, but my roses are definitely unhappy with it! They went downhill, losing many of their leaves and looking spindly. I tried to save them by taking them out of the pots and planting them in the ground. It's been about a year since I put them in the ground. One looked like it was starting to come back last spring, but it went downhill again as soon as the hot summer weather hit. The other two have done virtually no growing or blooming the whole last year, although they don't appear to be completely dead. They seemed like they were going to be good growers at first, so I don't think they were just bad plants to begin with. Is there anything I can do to help these roses become healthy and strong again?

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

What were the ingredients of your home-made potting soil? Maybe there was a significant nutrient shortage?

Maybe the feeder roots were damaged in transplanting the roses?

What is the allergic ingredient in commercial potting soil? Could you avoid it by making compost and using the compost to improve the soil where the roses are?

Just some ideas. This information may help members of The Helpful Gardener give you constructive suggestions.

You might also want to look at Sunset's Western Garden Book for more advice on growing roses in Sunset Zone 14 (Livermore and other locations).

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

CarolynB
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:27 am
Location: Livermore, CA

Thank you for your reply. I had read somewhere that potting soil could be made by mixing equal parts yard soil, compost, and vermiculite or perlite. I tried this, using vermiculite at first, and using homemade compost. Someone later told me that vermiculite and perlite are not interchangeable in this context, and that vermiculite is too similar to clay, so I should have used perlite. So, for my next attempt, I used perlite instead, and I used a lower percentage of yard soil and a higher percentage of perlite, trying to make my potting soil lighter and faster-draining. It was a little better for the roses than the first attempt, but still not nearly fast-draining enough. My geraniums, hydrangeas, and some other plants seem to do pretty well in it, but not the roses.

The allergic ingredient in commercial soil products that use "forest products" is poison oak, to which I'm very allergic. That's why we make our own compost, to avoid that. But there must be some other ingredient in commercial potting soil that makes it lighter and faster-draining, which I don't have available to use.

I have Sunset's Western Garden Book, but it's been a while since I've read in it. I'll re-read what it says about roses. Thanks

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