Do Roses Like Acidic Soil?
Rose bushes require nutrient-rich heavy loam soil. The soil should be moist but well-drained. Monitoring soil pH is also important, since roses can only tolerate moderately acidic soil.
Most roses like a pH of about 6.5. Neutral soil is 7.0 and 6.5 is slightly acidic. Roses can survive with a pH as low as 5.0 but they will not be as healthy or vibrant-looking.
Overly acidic soil kills a rose bush. If your leaves are discolored or the flowers begin to wilt, you should check the pH.
Since roses do not like very acidic soil, you may need to decrease acid levels to promote rose health. You can raise soil pH levels using natural lime soil or crushed limestone.
Acidic Soil Problems
Soil becomes acidic due to five reasons: excessive rainfall, which leaches out the basic elements of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium; soils that develop from granite are naturally more acidic than those from limestone or shale; decaying organic matter produces more hydrogen ions, which leads to more acidity; use of fertilizers containing ammonium; and high-yield crops absorb the basic elements, leading to increased acidity. If soil is too acidic, it creates deficiencies in the available supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Aluminum, which plants do not need but is present in soil, becomes soluble in acidic soils and absorbed by plants, resulting in toxicity. The most commonly used liming material is agricultural limestone. Wood ash from your fireplace can also raise soil pH levels, but it takes repeated small applications over several years. Test your soil's pH level before planting. Acid-loving trees include pin oak and American holly.
- “Simon and Schuster's Complete Guide to Plants and Flowers”; Frances Perry; 1976
- University of Vermont Extension: pH for the Garden
- The Noble Foundation: Understanding and Correcting Soil Acidity
- University of Missouri Extension: Soils, Plant Nutrients and Nutrient Management
- Texas A&M University: Soil Microbiology FAQs
- Danny Lipford: How to Correct Soil pH in Your Yard
- Purdue University Cooperative Extension: Landscape Plants for Acid Soil
- The Garden Helper: Acid Soil