Mulch or gravel for Roses?
I live in Chicago, Illinois (zone 5?). I like the visual appeal of gravel, but what is most important is what is best for healthy roses. Please advise if gravel would be okay and, if so, what specific kind. Does it matter if colored? If gravel is not okay, then what specific kind of mulch would be best? Thank you so much!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
I use both in my rose beds. I have one rose bed where I have brown shredded cedar mulch and others that have gravel mulch. I use the grey 3/4 rock in one and some Colorado Rose Stone in the other that is 1 1/4 inch, it is a white and rose pink gravel. I have found that roses do not like lava rock and it is too dark anyway. With gravel, you want to stay lighter colored so it does not draw too much heat in the summer or winter. Too much heat drawn to the soils in winter can kill the roses as they will try to grow when they should be taking their winter nap.