Will Roses Grow Successfully in Sandy Soil?

Last Updated on August 24, 2022 by Stephanie

Youre considering purchasing a rose to fill the air with scent and also to admire the beautiful summer flowers however, youre not sure how long it will last in the fast draining soil of your sandy garden…

Hardy Rose species such as Gallicas and Regosa Roses can thrive in low quality, fast draining, sandy soils. To ensure beautiful flowering, roses should benefit from 4 gallons of water every week, a application of fertilizer every month, and soil amendments like organic mulch that helps retain water and increase soil fertility.

Lets look at the steps to prepare your soil for planting roses and which varieties of roses are most suitable for soil with sandy texture and the best way to feed your flower, and the frequency you should water your rose during the season of growth…

How do you prepare your Sandy Soil to Rose Planting

Sandy soils are found naturally in areas that are particularly dry or in areas where the bedrock is composed of fine and sandstone However, they could also be caused by prior building work.

The two most significant issues with soil that is sandy include…

  • The soil is not nutrient rich enough for roses to put on the most beautiful flowers.
  • The sandy soil drains too fast for roses roots to soak up water, and the rose suffers from the lack of water.

Roses love draining soil, however sandy soils drain so quickly that if not amended, theyll become too dry to grow roses.

The most effective solution to both of the problems can be to improve your soil by adding lots of organic mulch that can improve the soils fertility and will help maintain the proper amount of moisture in the soil.

The planting of a rose in Sandy soil

Once youve chosen the ideal spot for your rose, make the hole to at least double the diameter that the ball of root of the rose, both in terms of depth and width.

This gives you ample space to cover the holes with a substantial amount of mulch, so that the roses roots are provided with plenty of fertile, loose material to create their own their own.

red rose with water droplets

If youve got sandy soil and live in a dry climate, the most organic material to line your hole would consist of decayed leaf litter.

Organic mulches all hold water, but leaf mulch in particular is the most effective to absorb and hold onto water, so that roots are able to draw it whenever they need to in order to offset the rapid draining sandy soil texture.

Leaf mulch can also improve soil structure, allowing excess water to flow through, so roots wont get waterlogged which is the ideal of both worlds.

Once the rose has been planted,, I would suggest adding lots of organic matter to the soil surrounding the rose.

Scraps from your kitchen grass clippings, wood chips can all contribute to the well-being for your flower by breaking it down into the soil and reviving the beneficial microbes, yeasts and fungal growth that all help to provide more nutrients to your rose.

Mulch will provide food for earthworms, that reduce material into highly nutritious worm castings. Worm castings contain nutrients that are chelated, meaning that they are in a form thats much easier for plants to absorb and gain benefits from.

In addition, earthworms will aerate soil, which will ease compaction, and also create channels that allow water to get to the roots, and also create an area for roots to expand to the soils depths.

In making the soil fertile by regular mulch application The plant will become healthier and less susceptible to diseases.

It is recommended to add an area mulch to rose gardens three times per year:

  1. At the beginning of spring, to supply nutrients and encourage growth.
  2. Another time at the peak of summer to increase the amount of moisture and to ensure that the roots remain cool, as the intense sunlight can increase rates of transpiration as well as the rate of evaporation.
  3. The third application is at the at the end of fall to protect root systems from abrupt decrease in temperature during winter.

Spread the mulch about 2 inches in the center of the rose, however, keep the mulch 2 inches away of the stem itself. If your mulch is always damp and piled over the rose cane, this could cause rot to the wood, so be sure to take extra care when layering your mulch.

Fertilizer for Roses in Sandy Soils

The sandy soils are deficient in nutrients, which is why regular mulching is vital. To ensure that your roses health and has the highest quantity of flowers you can, you should apply fertilizer every month during the growing season because sandy soils are known to be the most deficient in nutrients.

The ideal time to begin fertilizing is based on the climate in which you live. Once youre sure there wont be any more frosts after the of winter, you can start fertilizing your roses in spring, a little before the leaves fully open. (Usually in March/April).

It is important to wait until following the frosts last occurrence as fertilizers encourage new, soft leaf growth that is more susceptible to damage from frost.

It is also recommended to stop fertilizing your roses after the 15th of August to ensure you dont encourage new, soft growth that is more susceptible to damage from frost and can be destroyed when temperatures drop in winter and fall.

The new growth that your rose has put on during the growing season requires time to set and prepare for its winter hibernation.

I have personally had satisfaction using a miracle cultivate rose fertilizer on sandy soils. The fertilizer has a great mix of all the minerals and nutrients, which contains all the necessary ingredients to create a healthy, disease-resistant rose bush that blooms in abundance and only two applications per year throughout the blooming season.

Alternately, you can fertilize your organic garden using bone meal, fish emulsion and alfalfa. Make use of a mixture of these fertilizers at least once a month during the season of growth.

One word of caution when applying organic fertilizers, they are more likely to attract flies and smell while formulations like Miracle Grow are less prone in releasing smells as well as drawing unwanted wildlife.

Every garden is unique in regards to soil fertility, the amount of sunlight, humidity, etc. So there could be some trial and error to find the right conditions to ensure the perfect bloom, but If youve applied lots of mulch, a good fertilizer and located it in an area that has enough sunlight and water, then there is a good chance that you can successfully grow roses on sandy soil.

You can water the Rose with Sandy Soil

All roses love a nice drink in the spring and summer, but you must be vigilant with fast drainage sandy soils.

If youve altered your soil by adding plenty of mulch, this will aid in reducing the problem substantially.

How much watering also is dependent on the climate in which you live or the conditions youre experiencing that summer, therefore the best recommendation is giving your rose a thorough bath every week, using around 4 gallon (in early morning) however, you should also make use of your sense.

You can determine whether your rose requires irrigation by placing your finger about an inch or so below the surface of the soil around it. If you notice any signs of water, then your rose will be fine however if its dry, its time to take the hose ready for an adequate soak.

When your flower is too dry, it could exhibit signs of stress, like wilting or the leaves turning yellow at this point you will have to give your rose a good soak , and add more organic mulch on the edges of the plant in order to keep the water in place.

Rose Varieties Suitable for Sandy Soils

If you live in sandy soils, you are more likely to choose more robust varieties of roses that can thrive in less favorable conditions, but capable of producing stunning flowers with a delicious scent.

The most secure option to opt to would be Roses that belong to those of the Gallica as well as Regosa groups. The Gallica as well as Regosa roses are extremely hardy and continue to grow and flourish despite the drought and poor soil quality.

They are also resistant to pests and diseases which could be the bane of a rose gardeners life.

It is, however, the best practice to apply lots of the mulch, and to give it a thorough soak during the dry months, no matter how sturdy the rose is so that it has the greatest chance of flourishing.

Regosa roses are tolerant of salty spray , so if reside in the coastal region, this is the perfect rose for you. My personal favorite regosa Rubra rose is a stunning bloom with classic pink flowers and abundant summer flowers.

Regosa roses are more readily available on the internet and in garden centres than gallica roses, however If youre lucky enough to stumble across the gallica, I suggest the Charles De Mills rose due to its abundance of flowers, big blooms and a beautiful scent.


To summarize that, with the correct rose varieties and some altered conditions, roses can flourish and show a wide array of flowers in soils that are sandy.

The most difficult thing to remember is always giving the rose adequate nutrients and access to water. Adding more mulch than you typically would for a rose garden is a good idea.

If the soil fertility in your garden is not particularly high, ensure that you fertilize your roses regularly.

In soils that are deficient in nutrients (as sandy soils are known to be) an already-formulated formula is usually the best route to go, as it takes the guesswork off fertilizing. They provide all the nutrients that a rose requires, in the correct concentration, and are simple to apply.



Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)