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Basic Miniature Rose Care In Containers

"There are a lot of right ways to grow roses."

~~Darleen Auber

Note: I live in a rose-friendly zone, so it may be easier for me than those of you in other parts of the country. My gardening philosophy has always been to grow the plants that like my style of gardening. If I have a rose that does not thrive under my care program, off it goes to someone who wants to spend more time and energy with it. There are plenty of roses that like the way I do things. I am certain you will find this is true for you, too.



  • First remember that miniature roses are roses and should be grown outside. I know they can be grown indoors, but it seems like a lot of work to me. Others have got the system down and can probably add their advice to this article by using the "Comments" feature for the HelpMeFind Ezine.
  • When I choose a container, I chose the final container they are going to live in for the rest of their rosy lives. I have found that roses really don't like their roots disturbed, so "potting up" only stresses the plant. In SOCAL I cannot imagine planting a miniature rose in anything less than a 3 gallon pot. I try use even larger containers if I can because this helps the rose manage heat stress much better and I don't have "burned" roots.
  • Plastic or thermolite containers are best. Clay pots leach out water away from the roots and salts leach into the soil and can damage the roots.
  • If you do use a clay pot…sometimes they are prettier or some other found container ... try to line it with a plastic pot, but be sure to "lift" the pot so that there is good drainage between the inside and outside containers.
  • Also "lift" the outside container up off of the hardscape. This allows for better drainage, and container grown roses need excellent drainage.
  • Water: you cannot over water a container-grown rose if you have good drainage. The rose will only take up what it needs. Never let your rose dry out completely, it can shock the plant for months!
  • During very hot periods you may have to water your roses daily or twice a day. If they are lifted higher from the hardscape and are in larger pots, you have less chance of heat stress.
  • Don't count on the rain to do your watering for you. When the bushes leaf out, rain water does not really hit the top of the soil in the pot and they are not getting watered.
  • Initial planting: I like to use a lighter soil, others choose to use a heavier soil. I mix in some perlite and then in the bottom third of the pot I put in about a tablespoon of bonemeal and some 9-9-9 time release fertilizer. Do not feed the rose again until you see some top growth. This means that the root system is developing properly.
  • Feeding: I use a ½ strength concentration of any fertilizer recommended for the larger roses. For container grown plants, the only source of nutrition is what you add. You can either add too much and burn the roots, or you can forget to feed the plants and will end up with weakened plants.
  • Be sure to water your roses the day before, or at least several hours before feeding them, especially in hot weather, and to water them again the next day.
  • As far as light requirements, insect control and all the rest of normal rose maintenance follow your usual plan that you use for your big roses.
  • As with all container plants, I find that they are healthier if they are repotted about every three years. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but I take my time and only do a few each evening.

    Good luck with your minis.

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