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Container Gardening

You might ask yourself, "Why would I want to plant roses in pots when I have the space in my garden?" Maybe you're an urban gardener, or you do not have lots of room in your yard. Either way, container gardening with roses can be a wonderful way to bring color and fragrance to your deck, patio, balcony, or pathway.

You can grow most any kind of rose in a container as long as it large enough for the rose to stay healthy. You can grow miniatures, shrubs, Hybrid Teas, Floribunda's, English Roses, old garden roses, Tree roses and more. Climbing roses are probably not a good choice for container gardening, but try other roses as long as they do not get to tall. Most any kind of container will work. Remember, however, that while clay and ceramic pots are nice, they can be extremely heavy if you have to move the rose anywhere, such as indoors for winter. Plastic pots or the new resin formed pots are great for roses because of they are light weight and flexible.

The soil for container gardening should be a good lightweight potting soil; there are many sold at garden centers. Roses need more fertilizing in pots as nutrients leak out more because you have to water container roses frequently, almost every day or every other day. Fertilize roses as you would the same ones in your yard.

The following is a great formula for 15-18" containers, for any 3-5' tall rose:

  • A Good lightweight potting soil (for good drainage)
  • 1-cup Bone meal (for healthy bloom and root production)
  • 1/2 cup Blood meal (For green growth)
  • 1/4 cup Alfalfa meal (For Basil shoots, and promotes plant growth)
  • 1 tbsp Epsom Salts (For Vigor)
  • a big shovel full of compost or rotted manure ( For overall health of the rose)
  • Cut the formula in half for smaller pots and for miniature roses.

Mix all together and plant the rose about 1" below the rim of the pot. It doesn't matter whether it's a grafted rose or own-root rose, plant at that level. Then firm the soil to get rid of air pockets. Water till it's well soaked. Soil dries out fast in potted roses so you will have to water frequently - almost every day!. Be sure your potted rose gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Every 10 days in summer give your rose a liquid Fertilizer Boost with Fish Emulsion (follow directions), manure, or compost tea. (get any large container, fill 1/4 with manure or alfalfa pellets, then cover with water to the top seep for 3-day-then use as a liquid fertilizer boost) Planting your roses this way will reward you with beautiful roses all summer. Repot your roses every two years as they become root-bound in a container.

In a warm climate roses can stay outdoors all year long in pots. In cold climates they need to come indoors so they do not freeze. Water your pots before they are put away for the winter. Canes will not freeze as easily when there is water in the canes. Roses in containers can be put in a basement, as long as it's not warm. An unheated garage or another building not heated in winter is best in cold gardening zones. Roses need the dormancy, and the unheated area offers that.

When you place your roses in the unheated area for winter, cover the crown or base of the canes with 8-12" of light potting soil. To protect them from freezing, wrap the canes with burlap that will protect the canes even more.

In the spring when the weather warms nicely, bring your roses out of dormancy and put them in a partly shaded area for a couple of days until the rose is used to direct sunlight again. Water the rose it will need it badly! Prune your potted rose just like a rose in the ground when the buds start to swell in the spring. Prune back all the old wood, crossed over wood, and trim back by 1/3. They will respond nicely to this and reward you with beautiful healthy blooms for the season.

Some suggested for Roses in Container Gardening:

  • Cupcake
  • Winsome
  • Hot Tamale
  • Miniatures
  • The Mayflower
  • Christopher Marlowe
  • Geoff Hamilton
  • English Roses
  • Tiffany
  • Secret
  • Heirloom
  • Hybrid Teas
  • Iceberg
  • Scentimental
  • Sunflare
  • Floribundas