Growing Roses in Containers
Growing Container Roses

Growing roses in containers is easier than growing them in the ground as growing roses in pots gives you complete control over their soil. Choose small varieties when growing container roses.



Tuscan Doorway in Castellina in Chianti, Italy
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Growing roses in a pot is the perfect solution for would-be rose gardeners who live where the soil is too alkaline to support most rose varieties.

Container growing can also allow you to surround yourself with the rose flowers and fragrance you love while living in rented quarters.

Planting roses in pots will allow you to grow them where there is no soil or where you cannot dig.

I have a neighbor who used to own a townhouse with a courtyard. The rules disallowed planting into the soil so she decorated her outdoor space with colorful potted plants.

I also have a friend who lives in a ground floor apartment. The management will not let her plant the flowers she loves so dearly in the ground beneath her windows, but they do not mind her placing containers there and on the concrete walk beside her door.

Smiling Woman Looks Down from Balcony Laden with Flower-Filled Pots
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This is a great example of how many pots you can fit into a tiny space.

It is a mistake to feel disadvantaged because you don't have much room.

Small space gardens are wonderful!

A small area is easy and inexpensive to beautify. You can quickly transform it into a cozy retreat. A few pots overflowing with beautiful roses is all it takes.

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Rosa 'The Fairy' is a perfect container rose for a balcony. It is tough-as-nails and drought tolerant enough to shrug off any drying winds.

You will love the way its cascading stems spill over the rim of its pot, nearly hiding the container.

'The Fairy' rose is a heavy bloomer, too. If you remember to feed and water it regularly, it will reward you with the same profusion of bloom that you see in this picture.

Imagine several identical pots overflowing with these bubble gum pink flowers lining the edge of a balcony. Or picture them alternating with pots of silvery Dusty Miller or white geraniums.

'Fairy'Rose Plant Care

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Miniature roses adapt better to pot culture than any other type and need only a very bright windowsill to thrive. There are 2 ways to grow mini roses as houseplants:

  1. If you have a bright enough location, you can grow the roses indoors year round. Roses need 6-8 hours of direct sun (or the fluorescent equivalent thereof) each day in order to maintain healthy growth and to bloom.

  2. If your home is too dark and you do not wish to supplement with artificial light, keep the plants outdoors most of the time.

    Bring them in when their flower buds swell enough to reveal the color of the blooms. Return the roses to their outside location after the petals fall.

    For the short time the plants will spend indoors, they can cope with lower light conditions.

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Here, the yellow 'Rise n Shine' is underplanted with maidenhair fern and ivy.

Placing trailing plants around the rim when you are growing roses in containers, makes for a full and feminine display.

Keep in mind, however, that most roses resent sharing their root space with other plants.

The solution: Plant the trailers in the decorative planter and plant the rose in a smaller pot which can be slipped into the larger one.

Miniature Rose Care will guide you in growing mini roses in pots.

Growing Tree Roses in Containers

If you want to "underplant" a rose tree with mini roses, don't plant them into the same soil.

Keep the minis in their own pots and just nestle them into the tub holding the tree.

The tree here is Rosa 'Angel Face'.

Tree roses, especially the weeping trees make stunning pot plants. Planting them in pots makes their winter care much simpler.

Rose Tree Care

Hybrid Tea roses grown in containers can be moved into a greenhouse for winter bloom. You'll be cutting roses from your potted plants when your rose bushes in the ground are still dormant.

The Best Container Garden Roses

When growing roses in containers, you will want to choose varieties which do not grow too vigorously. Vigor is a desirable quality in a rose that must jockey for space with other plants in a perennial border, less so in a potted rose.

I once tried to grow an 'Old Blush' China rose in a 14 inch pot.

I thought the plant was fine until its roots split the pot.

The top growth had not grown so large as to indicate that potting up was necessary. The root system was simply too vigorous to easily allow for pot culture.

Smaller roses are easiest to manage but large varieties can also be grown in pots as long as they are not so vigorous that they will outgrow their containers quickly.

Think about where the pots will be displayed when choosing which roses to grow in pots.

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Hanging baskets call for a rose with a weeping growth habit like, 'Sweet Chariot' shown here.

Containers which will be used to fill gaps in a flower bed may house lanky Hybrid Tea roses as their naked knees will be hidden by the surrounding foliage.

If the pots will be prominently positioned, compact-growing types will be better appreciated. Other features to look for include, healthy foliage which is abundantly produced and good flower production.

When growing roses in containers, you want shapely plants that look good even during those brief periods between bloom flushes.

Growing Climbing Roses in Pots

Potted Plants Decorate a Patio in Tuscany, Petroio, Italy
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You will want to choose one of the smaller climbers for growing roses in containers. A 10 foot tall pillar rose is much more likely to thrive in a pot on your patio than an old garden rambler.

The other advantage to growing the modern pillar rose is that its flowers will be larger and they will appear more frequently.

The right climbing rose, given enough food and water, will provide you with color, fragrance, and flowers for the vase throughout the summer months.

Watering Roses Growing in Pots

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The biggest challenge you will face when growing roses in containers outdoors is keeping them properly watered. During hot weather, pots setting in full sun can quickly dehydrate.

Roses are not xeric plants. They require even moisture at their roots. Repeated exposure to drought will weaken them.

If going out to water the pots each day is an enjoyable pastime for you, this will not be a problem. If not, my advice would be to group the pots together and run a drip irrigation line through them.

Drip irrigation hoses are thin and black. They can be easily hidden amongst the foliage. I also like drip irrigation for growing roses in containers because it is water wise. You can arrange for the water to go precisely where you want it to.

None is wasted.

Add an inexpensive timer to the set up and your hydration problem is solved.






My Other Rose Gardening Pages:

A List of the Best Florida Roses

Fertilizing Roses to Promote Abundant Bloom

Tips and Tricks for Growing Roses in Florida

Recipe for No-Cook Rose Hip Jam

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