Best roses for all soil types

Discover five tough roses that can cope with heavy clay, sandy and thin chalky soils.

While the most highly bred bush roses benefit from deep, rich soil, there are plenty of tough customers out there too.


The roses we’ve picked will cope with a wide range of growing conditions from dense, heavy clay to free-draining sandy soil, as well as thin chalk. And their simple flowers mean they’re perfect plants for bees and other garden wildlife, too.

Not sure what your soil type is? Find out with the help of our handy guide to soil types.

Take a look at our pick of the best roses for all soil types. 

Rosa 'Kew Gardens' produces showy clusters of white flowers, which appear continuously for a generous period of time.

Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’

The first of our best roses for all soil types, ‘Versicolor’ is a striking Gallica rose, with striped flowers in shades of pale and dark pink, and a strong fragrance to boot. Other Gallica roses to grow include ‘Charles de Mills’ and ‘Duc de Guiche’.


Rosa ‘Rambling Rector’

‘Rambling Rector’ is a big rose that is healthy, reliable and vigorous. Its short flowering period will be abuzz with bees. Here’s our advice on how to prune rambling roses to keep them growing vigorously.


Rosa ‘Bonica’

‘Bonica’ has loose, slightly scented, pink flowers, repeating well into autumn followed by decorative hips – great for birds and bees. Not all roses produce hips, so we’ve picked eight beautiful roses to grow for hips.


Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’

An extremely vigorous cultivar, Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’ produces showy clusters of white flowers, which appear continuously for a generous period of time. It’s also completely thornless making deadheading a painless experience. 


Rosa ‘Roseraie de l’Hay’

As with all rugosa roses, ‘Roseraie de l’Hay’ does well on sandy soils, but they’re a great plant for clay soil, too. Pollen is to be had from loose, open flowers followed by hips.


Look out for diseases

Roses are generally very easy to care for, but it’s wise to keep a look out for diseases like rose blackspotrose rust and other problems affecting roses.