Roses growing in pots

by Brian Wagner

We are often asked if rose plants can grow well in pots as well, and our answer is certainly Yes.

Sometimes pots are a better option; they can be moved, they fit well under a porch or in a specific area of your garden, and they can also become a beautiful gift.

Gardening with roses in pots can also offer a world of opportunity for those people keen to create their own slice of rose garden heaven in very small spaces.

Roses can grow well in a pot, but there are a few things to remember:

– Choose the right pot: the bigger, the better.

We suggest the minimum size of 40cm x 40cm x 40cm.

– Use a good quality potting mix.

We recommend a slightly acidic blend that is suited for roses and azaleas.

– Plant with the graft above the soil by 2-3cm.

– Water your pot every day in Spring, Summer and Autumn.

Every second or third day in Winter, depending on your rainfall.

Never let the potting mix dry out, because dry potting mix will repel the water and the water will run down the sides and not actually soak to the root zone.

– After six months, fertilise with a half handful of fertiliser monthly and water in.

– After 3-4 years, replace the potting mix.

Do this in winter time when the rose is dormant: take out of the pot and remove as much old soil as you can.

You are allowed to trim the root system but try to keep the top and the bottom roughly the same.

Repot (this is the time to upgrade the size of the pot if you wish) and watch your rose thank you for your efforts.

When do I need to re-pot a potted rose?

After a few years of being in a pot, the rose is likely to develop a very strong and vigorous root system, and this will often be seen ‘above ground’, that is, in the rose plant’s foliage and flowers, as a distinct loss in vigour. It means it’s time to repot it.

– Take it out of the pot and reduce as much of the root ball as you can by pulling out the matted roots.

You can even cut some of the roots back to reduce the size of the root ball.

– Plant it back into a larger pot with fresh potting mix and fertilise, mulch and water it well.

– You should be rewarded with a more vigorous plant in the next season, that will continue for the next few years.

Are certain roses more suitable for pots than others?

There are many roses ideally bred and suited for this very reason, and most come under the heading of miniature/climbing miniature, ground cover, floribunda shrub roses or patio roses of 60cm (2ft) high.

We think that floribunda roses are more suitable for pots than hybrid tea varieties, as they have a shorter and bushier growth habit.

Indeed, with the exception of large climbers, most roses can be grown well in pots.

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