Roses and Soil

Sabine: Double Scotch Roses (1820)
The True Scotch Rose in its perfectly natural state, is well known; growing abundantly on a dry soil, but more plentifully in the northern than the southern parts of the kingdom.

"Rosa": Remarks on the Rose (1838)
Rosa Rubiginosa or Eglanteria: This species of rose is found in chalky or gravelly soils, on heaths or hedges in most parts of Europe; but the size and fragrance of the leaf is greatly improved by cultivation.
Rosa Cinnamoma. This rose loves a dry soil and sunny situation
The double yellow rose ... loves a light soil, of a gravelly or sandy nature, but cannot endure a confined or wet situation.

Hibberd: Roses and Soil (1864)
Where Gloire de Rosamene does well you are pretty sure to find that La Reine turns consumptive, and vice versa.
    In the planting of a dry sand with roses those worked on Brier stocks are pretty sure to fail, for the dog rose demands a cool, moist, rich loam: sand, or any kind of loose shifting soil, it abominates. Here it is that roses on their own roots or on Manetti stocks prove especially valuable. Hybrid Perpetuals on their own roots are very accommodating, and when an uncongenial soil has been made the best of, those are the roses to risk upon it.
    The other extreme of a heavy, wet clay bottom is to be met by an opposite practice in planting. Dog roses bear the effects of a wet bottom better than choice roses on their own roots, and if worked with strong-growing roses that otherwise would not survive on such a soil, the strength of the stock and its love of moisture will enable them to endure it; and Cabbage roses on their own roots will be the best kinds for dwarfs, because they also can fight against stagnant water better than most other kinds.

Andre: Rosa rugosa Regeliana (1873)
Bunge says that it grows on sandy soils on the banks of streams

Bennet: Roses in Limestone Soil (1889)
Maréchal Niel, Chromatella (Cloth of Gold), and even Gloire de Dijon, do infinitely best grafted on Banksias. The latter flourishing like Ivy, forms stems as thick as one's leg, and runs along 50 feet or more. The Banksia Rose must evidently be a regular lime plant.
    Fortune's Yellow grows in this soil with extreme luxuriance, entirely covering rocks, trellises, and Lemon trees, and when in full bloom, as it now is with me, it is a rose of dazzling beauty.

Penzance: Hybrid Sweet Briers (1893)
Rich soil should not be necessary, as the typical Sweet Brier will thrive on very poor land.

Wright: Rosa canina seedlings (1902)
Root development in seedling briers.

Rosa gigantea (1907)
The flowers of R. gigantea in Lisbon are much larger than those in Oporto, owing, I suppose, to the soil there being a reddish clay over limestone, whereas in my garden it is a sandy loam on granite; very unfavourable for most Roses.

Maynadier: Adaptation of soils to varieties of vegetation (1908)
The books on rose culture state generally that the proper soil to use is a well drained loam; many authors adding that it should have a smooth or greasy feeling. This description, while somewhat vague, is yet helpful, for it cautions us to beware of heavy clays and coarse sands and brings before us the necessity of good drainage. But the term loam, even in its technical sense, is a very elastic one, and soils may be very different in some of their most important features and still be properly classed as loams. The provision that it should have a smooth or greasy feeling somewhat restricts the original description and brings it within the limits of the class of soils known as silt loams. The smooth or greasy feeling that is found in a soil when pressed between the thumb and finger, is a consequence of the presence of silt, the finest particles excepting clay that go to make up a soil.

Van Fleet: Cherokee rose and hybrids (1908)
Sidney Hockridge, Redlands, Cal., writes: Our soil is a red calcareous drift with perfect drainage, just suitable for strong-growing roses, while our hot Summers ripen the tender wood of the Cherokee so that nowhere else in this country is there to be seen such profusion of bloom, and travelers tell me that the Cherokee rose plants noticed in the Japan Archipelago did not approach in capacity for bloom those we have in our vicinity.

Fernald: Rosa blanda and its allies (1918)
In the calcareous area to the north and northwest, however, from the St. John valley in Maine to Gaspé and Anticosti, these species are practically unknown (with the exception of rare colonies of R. nitida in sphagnous bogs and local colonies of R. palustris in the Devonian sandstones about Gaspé Bay) and their places are taken by three species of quite different character; without infrastipular prickles, with glabrous pedicels, hypanthiums and hips, and with the achenes borne on the inner walls as well as at the base of the hips. These three northern calcicolous shrubs have all passed as R. blanda Ait., and since there is some question as to the exact identity of R. blanda it is necessary first to consider the original description of that species.
RR. johannensis, Williamsii, Rousseauiorum

Van Fleet: Fragrant Roses (1919)
The Arlington experiments seem to show that the cultivation of perfume roses in this country and the working up of their products presents no practical difficulty except that of differences in labor costs. There are, doubtless, in the Appalachian region, thousands of acres of well-watered upland soils of the somewhat heavy character favored by deep-rooting roses, as well suited for perfume culture as any in France or Bulgaria, and with requisite persistence the industry could be established here if the promoters were not too keen for quick profits. As with commercial tea-growing, provision would have to be made to gather and care for the special labor needed for picking the blooms when ready.

Van Fleet: Rose-Breeding in 1920 at Bell Experiment Plot (1921)
R. Willmottiae,* ... opens its cheerful rosy purple flowers at Bell before the middle of May. This very distinct species has not generally succeeded in cultivation, but grows thriftily in the sandy loam soil at Bell, ripening a limited number of hips.

Nicolas: Sterility in Rose Breeding (1927)
Have the soil and original method of propagation a direct relation to the fertility or sterility of a plant? We have long noted here that grafted plants of R. Hugonis, for example, will profusely bear seeds, while plants grown from cuttings are very scant seed bearers, almost approaching sterility. Paul's Scarlet Climber as an own root plant may be considered as sterile, but a grafted plant will bear both self- and hand-pollinated seeds. I have also noted that plants of the same variety in different parts of the nursery have a different seed bearing capacity, although both receive the same amount of sunshine. As an instance, R. bracteata and R. Altaica at one location are practically sterile, while a short distance away, but in a different soil, nearly every bloom, either hand- or self-pollinated, sets fruit.
    Climatic conditions may also have something to do: a rose hybridizer of experience in Canada writes that Mme. Caroline Testout and Gruss an Teplitz are totally sterile for him, yet they notoriously are prolific seed bearers in other sections and in Europe.

Erlanson: Field observations on wild roses (1929)
The group of R. nutkana grows along the coast in northern California in alluvial soil. At Crescent City both R. Brownii and R. muriculata were collected.

Tukey & Green: Gradient composition of rose shoots (1934)

Peter Lambert by J. H. Nicolas (1937)
The Lambert grounds back on the north to the Moselle River. On the other side of the river are high hills ter­raced with villas and vineyards. Some of the best moselle wine (which connoisseurs prefer to Rhine wine) comes from the south slope of these hills facing Lambert's place, and Trier is the central wholesale wine market. The hills offer an effective protection from northern winds. The soil in that section is of volcanic formation, of burned or rotted limestone and of highly alkaline reaction. This accounts for the luxuriance of grapevines, their great yield and quality.

American Rose Magazine 3(9): 153 (May-June 1940)
How Deep Do Rose Roots Go?
    All sorts of surmises and correspondence and statements have been made as to the penetrating quality of rose roots. Recently a statement was made that they had been found more than 10 feet down. Here is one from Albert B. Morris, of the Western Rose Company, San Fernando, Calif., as follows:
    I note in the Rose Annual a question about how deep the roots of roses go. An oil company here planted Paul's Scarlet on a fence around their property about ten years ago. This year they dug out one of their tanks, which was down sixteen feet, and the roots of the roses went below that.

Shepherd: Rosa setigera (1954)
Fibrous root systems and wide adaptability to soil and climate have encouraged use of the various forms as understocks. Results have been somewhat disappointing, as the plants are difficult to bud, seeds germinate slowly, and cuttings do not root readily.

Young: Perpetual Flowering Roses (1956)
None of the plants tested was more than three years old; Will Scarlet, Damascena N.L. 849 and Reine des Violettes were all in their first year, yet gave a performance deserving of record. I should perhaps add that my soil is a heavy, damp clay, mixed with peat, and since the river rises in chalk country, it is definitely alkaline. For many weeks in the preceding winter it was waterlogged, and for a full week it was actually under several inches of water — and water which contained a measurable quantity of salt! Strangely enough, no apparent harm resulted.

Moore: Breeding Minis (1967)
Hardiness implies more than just hardiness to winter cold. We also need kinds which can take extremes of heat which in many areas is much more of a problem than cold. Improved varieties should be able to tolerate such unfavorable conditions as over-alkaline soil and water, and smog.

Cooper: Blind wood—its causes (1970)
2. "With greenhouse roses such as 'Forever Yours', one of the worst in the matter of producing blind canes, the best preventive is to keep the calcium content of the soil about 200 parts per million and the potash content at 20-30 on the Spurway scale".
3. "'Mister Lincoln' will produce many blind stems if the nitrogen content of the soil is too high and the calcium too low".

Končalová: Rosa hugonis pollen (1975)
This species is known to be native in Central China, where hot springs and very dry summers prevail.

Končalová: Calcium, sucrose, Rosa pollen (1976)
The stimulating effect of calcium was generally most pronounced in the pollen from roses of hybrid nature, such as R. jundzillii, R. canina, and especially in the case of the calciphilous species R. eglanteria.

Gammon & McFadden: Effect of Rootstocks (1979)
These data show that rootstocks may strongly influence not only the mineral levels in the leaves of cultivars grown on them but also the flower yield of the cultivar. The importance of mineral accumulation induced by the different rootstocks cannot be clearly evaluated. Certainly rootstocks that tend to increase K and N levels, especially when the soil reserves are relatively low, would be expected to stimulate flower yields. However, the variations produced in some elements, such as Mn, may be large with no apparent effect on flower production. Although the effects of rootstocks on mineral accumulation may be of considerable significance in flower production, it is likely that biochemical and other biological factors (including possible soil microorganisms) are important in determining the flower production stimulated by a given rootstock.

Allen: Rosa arvensis, a problem Wild rose (1987)
As a boy I, myself, remember the white flowers of R. arvensis as being very common in hedges on the heavier soils of East Anglia but the removal of hedgerows on the boulder clays has now made it locally rare. Indeed in the last 27 years I have searched for this wild rose in many parts of England and have found it growing wild only twice — once in Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, on heavy calcareous clay, and once, very commonly, in woods close to Grafham Water, Huntingdonshire, on very heavy clay.

Thomas: Rosa roxburghii (1994)
The wild single-flowered form makes a large shrub, up to 3 m or so even on poor sandy soils, bushy, with stout, angular-branching stems.

Fofana: Roses and soil (2013)
Species preference for soil type has nonetheless been reported. R. villosa was reported to grow better in a dry soil with low calcium content whereas R. canina and R. dumalis prefer more calcareous soil. R. rubiginosa also prefers more calcium and grows well in a relatively heavy soil. R. palustris grows in marshes and R. nitida in bogs. Similarly, R. virginiana likes salt marshes and salty soils (Joly, personal communications). In Prince Edwards Island province (Canada), wild rosehips are found in a variety of habitats including hedgerows, wet and dry pastures, thickets, swamps and uplands in dry orthic humo-ferric Podzol sandy soils.


Nägeli: Achillea species and lime (1865)
Achillea moschata excludes A. atrata from a silicious soil and is itself excluded by the latter from a calcareous soil. On the other hand, either of them grows equally well in the company of A. Millefolium. Evidently the two first-mentioned plants, as they are externally extremely alike, make analogous demands on the environment. A. Millefolium, however, which systematically is further removed from either, does not compete with them, because it is dependent on other conditions of existence. If either of the two species be absent, the other becomes indifferent as regards its choice of soil.

Van Fleet: Gladiolus breeding (1902)
Cruentus is a particularly showy species, very distinct, though allied to the preceding (Gladiolus Saundersi) both from the botanist's and gardener's standpoint. While vigorous and profuse in bloom if its requirements are satisfied, it must be considered a particularly "miffy" species for general cultivation. Though known for many years it no sooner appears in a dealer's catalogue than it is taken out for want of stock. Orders for corms of this species are filled with almost anything but the true article, and much disappointment has resulted among breeders and fanciers in consequence. If healthy corms are planted in nearly pure sand, with a stratum of peat for a root run, kept fairly moist, and the plants afforded plenty of sun, they make strong, leafy plants and bloom finely, but resent any suspicion of clay, and seldom thrive in rich garden soil.

The Story of Root-caps

Fitch: Potatoes, Alfalfa and Clay (1913)
If we compare the potato root habit and root cap with the root habit and root cap of the alfalfa, we find a striking contrast. The alfalfa root goes straight down through raw clay soils unpenetrated before by any root, and the alfalfa root cap is snug and loses very few cells when subjected to rubbing, but seems rather to cover the root like a glove finger.

Ten Eyck: Kafir vs Corn (1904)
The results indicate that Kafir-corn rapidly exhausts the soil moisture in the latter part of the season, leaving the ground drier than does corn. This condition is especially noticeable in the surface soil.

Collins: Pueblo Indian maize breeding (1914)
Very deep rooting

Collins: Tropical varieties of maize (1918)
Surface rooting

Dakora & Phillips: Root exudates (2002)

Mineral Uptake