Rock Dust and Roses: Planting Tips for Healthy, Beautiful Blooms


Spring has sprung, and the warmer weather has been good news for the volunteers who came out to plant thousands of new rose bushes in Peninsula Park, Portland’s first public rose garden that will celebrate its 100th anniversary in June.

Cascade Minerals has donated nearly 2,000 pounds of our volcanic basalt rock dust to help these beauties grow, and we’ll be photographing them as the season progresses. For those of you planting roses at home, here are a few tips to help get your roses settled and ready for the biggest, healthiest blooms ever.

  1. Roses don’t like wet feet, so make sure your soil is well-drained. Plant roses in areas that get at least 8 hours of sun per day (morning sun is best for drying moisture from the leaves and helping prevent disease).
  2. If possible, choose bare root roses over container roses as they adapt better to the surrounding soil (they’re usually less expensive, too). Dig a hole approximately 18-inches wide by 18-inches deep and make a cone of soil at the bottom. Then, add an organic fertilizer mixture—we recommend mixing Cascade Minerals rock dust with bone meal and greensand. Place the rose in the hole and carefully fan the roots out over the cone.
  3. Fill in the hole, and apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch to deter weeds and retain moisture. Then, apply approximately 1 cup of Cascade Minerals rock dust to the surrounding soil. The rock dust will nourish the soil and make trace elements and minerals available to the newly planted rose at a balanced rate.
  4. Water well to help settle the rose’s roots.

Check back as we visit the roses in Portland’s Peninsula Park and watch them bloom. In future blog posts, we’ll also offer more rose-care tips, such as pruning and disease prevention.