Is Wood Ash Good for Roses? The Real Deal

You just had a bonfire and enjoyed the summer night with friends or family, and now you’re left with a ton of wood ash. But wait, before you throw that ash away, you might want to consider saving those ashes, as they can be spread throughout your garden for fertilizer!

What if you have roses, though? Is wood ash good for roses, or will it end up doing more harm than good?

Read on to see whether or not wood ash is beneficial for roses!

is wood ash good for roses
Adding ash to plants at the time of planting will make boost growth.

Is Wood Ash Good for Roses?

When burning firewood, you get wood ashes. And surprisingly, sprinkling them over your roses’ soil beds can benefit from wood ash!


Roses require various nutrients to grow and prosper, including calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Wood ash contains such nutrients, which can help roses grow well, except for nitrogen, as it’s released as gas when burning wood. These necessary nutrients roses require will help them develop flowers, producing high-quality blooms.

To be more exact, wood ash contains about 5-7% potassium and 2% phosphorous. Potassium is required for chlorophyll production and better blossom development. Phosphorous will maintain optimum root health for the rose bush to absorb nutrients properly.

The same goes for fireplace ashes, assuming that you burn seasoned logs using paper, kindling, or a fire lighter. You won’t need to worry about the type of wood used, as ashes from different types would have similar mineral and nutrient contents.

You may also want to use fireplace ash since it’s completely dry, and roses need something water-soluble, meaning that the ash dissolves in water and washes away quickly after heavy rains. Also, since the ash is dry in the fireplace, you’re ensured that the potassium content is at the highest concentration.

But when talking about Coal or Charcoal Ash, do NOT use those remains in any garden bed! This is because discarded coal has lower nutrient concentrations than wood ash and may have traces of arsenic and other toxins, as well as animal fat, which may affect the plants. While this is still up for debate, I still recommend against it on roses and to stick with wood ash.

This applies to most types of plants as well!

Take care when handling ash from the fireplace
Take care when handling ash from the fireplace.

Take Note: Not TOO Much Wood Ash!

With all this in mind, you have to be wary about using wood ash, though!

Wood ash has a highly alkaline pH level because of the calcium content. Roses thrive in slightly acidic soil with pH levels between 6-7. That’s why you should NOT add large amounts of wood ash directly to the soil of rose bushes, which may harm the growing roses. It’s all about properly applying the wood ash, from knowing when and how much to put on the garden soil.

Applying Wood Ash on Roses

Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of wood ash on roses, the question is: How can you apply them on the soil to ensure that the roses still grow well?

  • When you have soil with acidity levels lower than pH 6, add half a pound of wood ash on the soil surface then water it in. This is suitable if you’re just about to plant new roses.
  • If ever your soil is acidic with a pH 5 or lower, the rose’s roots may die, so you’ll need to amend the soil. You can do so by adding one cup of wood ash and retesting the soil after a month. Add one cup at a time, as too much may end up changing the soil pH levels drastically.
  • For those who have planted roses already, you can lightly sprinkle wood ash throughout the growing season occasionally, right before they flower. This is during the beginning of spring, from May to June, which will promote better flowering. Avoid adding wood ash compost after summer ends, as this would promote new growth on the roses too late in the season when winter comes, which will end up with them dying from the frost.
  • You can apply wood ash to the roses by scattering it around the base of roses in small quantities. Opt for half a cup of ash for every rose bush, without any raking or digging in, as this can disturb the roots. After that, wash the ash in with two gallons of water for the potassium to reach the rose roots quickly.
  • Another method is to add wood ash to the compost pile earlier in the year, spreading the compost as mulch around the rose bed.

Do you want to learn more about wood ash and its benefit on roses? Check out this informative video:

Wrapping It Up

You’ll be surprised with the many materials and ingredients you can use as fertilizer, rather than throwing them out. One of them is wood ash, which actually helps with the overall soil quality. While you don’t need to pour them on garden soil daily, an occasional sprinkle is enough to help your roses thrive, depending on the current soil quality and pH levels.

I hope that this article answered your question, “is wood ash good for roses?” Now that you know the answer, start storing wood ash to help with your garden’s growth!

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