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Planting roses near septic tanks

Shona Asked

If roses are planted in 30L aquatic baskets filled with soil near a septic tank, would the Rose survive?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Shona: Roses are happiest when grown in a space that will receive a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sun each day. They require nutrient rich and well drained soil. Roses, like any other plant living in a container will need extra care in terms of moisture and nutrients during the growing season. The winter months will require extra protection since they will be more exposed to the elements. There is always a risk that the rose will not survive the winter.

There are limitations when it comes to gardening around a septic tank so lets make sure we are on the page. I am a bit confused about the purpose of the aquatic container. Are you thinking of planting the roses in the containers and keeping them above ground? If this is the case, there should be no issues other than those that come with any container grown planting. This might be a good opportunity to use a more decorative container. The concern would be when aggressive roots come into contact with pipes in the drain field. The aquatic containers would serve no purpose if placed in the ground, simply because they are filled with holes and the roots will be able to grow freely. Aquatic containers are typically used to hold water plants. The container itself is submerged in the water so only the plant is visible.

If you plant the roses directly in the soil, it is recommended they are at least 20 feet away from the drain field. For more detailed information on landscaping around a septic system visit:

This research-based publication is from South Carolina so the planting suggestions may not be valid but the do’s and don’ts of gardening around a septic system are valid and good to know.

Please let me know if I did not answer your question.


Angie Oakley

Kentucky Living-Ask the Gardener

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