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How to plant roses in clay soil?

Getting Established

How to plant roses in clay soil?



My second question here with the awesome help for the first and almost success of the project 👍 


I dig few holes in the front garden and found soil is clay and recent rain made water collecting in them for few days. Seems water almost does not absorb on to the ground. 


Is there anything I can do to complete my planting to expect they will not have root rot in time?


I've seen liquid compost, gypsum, organic material does help. But can I plant straight away after that?


Added few pictures of the ground if it helps at all.


Any advice much appreciated 🙏 






Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Dig to plant roses, soil is clay and now water collecting in the hole

Hi @nadula,


Unfortunately, liquid compost, gypsum, and organic material will not resolve a solid layer of clay. That can assist with soil that has a high clay content, but nothing is going to shift a solid clay layer. In this situation, I'd probably look at filling most of the hole with Rose potting mix and then building further mounds on top of the soil, planting the roses in a slightly raised and mounding bed. This will help keep the roots out of the moisture-retaining layer. Another option would be to create a low-level raised garden bed above the soil with sleepers. Here's a helpful guide: How to build a simple raised garden bed.


Let me mention @Noelle and @mich1972 to see if they have other ideas.


Please let me know if you have any questions.




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Kind of a Big Deal

Re: How to plant roses in clay soil?

Good morning @nadula that some serious clay you have there !! I agree with @MitchellMc, you actually need to raise and mound the soil that you will add, so when you plant in it, the water will be able to drain and the root system will not become waterlogged. Good luck with that and please keep us posted 😃🪴

Amassing an Audience

Re: How to plant roses in clay soil?

Hi @nadula 

I completely agree with both @MitchellMc and @mich1972 - you have a serious problem!

Digging planting holes into clay like those shown in your photos is an absolute no-no! Backfill the holes with the clay you removed from them to fill in the sumps (otherwise they will continue to act as drains). Then build up planting beds or mounds on top of the clay to a depth of at least 45cm and plant into them, so plant roots will sit on top of the clay without risk of waterlogging and rotting.

Bit of prep to do before planting can occur!

Getting Established

Re: How to plant roses in clay soil?

Thanks all for the advice. I would not have thought of planting on mounding bed in clay soil. What a great idea 👍
Will do a post when I get it done.



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