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Grow Container Roses

Even gardeners with limited space can raise roses easily in containers. Plus, an attractive planter is a great complement to a beautiful rose.

Tips for Container Roses

Pros and Cons of Container Roses

Container roses are the answer to the space and time dilemma. They can be used in regular gardens as accent or specimen plants. Containers also adapt well to apartments, balconies and patios. You are no longer limited to just planting miniatures. You can also plant floribundas, small hybrid teas and tree roses, providing the container is large enough.

There are advantages and disadvantages to container rose gardening. Make your own decision; most gardeners feel it is worth the extra effort.


  • Decorative pots add to the beauty of an indoor rose.
  • You are able to use your landscape space more efficiently since containers can be spaced a little closer than plants in the ground. Just make sure the plants still get adequate air circulation and growing room.
  • Containers are portable. Move them to the patio for your garden party. Group them for added impact and fragrance. Control the microclimate by moving them for protection from extreme weather.
  • Containers can be turned occasionally to maximize light exposure on all sides of the plant.
  • You control the soil quality.
  • Containers are more accessible to the gardener. You can work in your "garden" with reduced need for bending and stooping.
  • Containers are less accessible to many pests.
  • You can eliminate competition from other plants.
  • Container plants are easier to water, spray and fertilize.
  • Gardeners can see how the plants look before committing them to the landscape.
  • Containers can be isolated for treatment of pests or disease.
  • Containers are great for areas with poor soil or poor drainage.
  • Plastic or biodegradable pots can be sunk into planting beds for an in-ground look.


  • Hanging baskets require more water than most containers.
  • There are limited types of roses suited for container adaptability.
  • Containers require more frequent feeding and watering.
  • Plants in containers are more susceptible to overheating and freezing.
  • Container plants require re-potting as they grow.
  • They must be moved indoors or winterized.
  • Containers may experience soil compaction.
  • Containers that are large can also be heavy.
  • If you decide to plant the rose in the ground later, it may be a large plant to move.

Types of Containers

Types of Containers

Whether you choose them to be practical or fashionable, there are many options:

  • Biodegradable containers can be planted directly into the ground.
  • Plastic pots are available in dozens of styles and sizes. Remember, the black ones absorb and retain heat.
  • Wooden containers range from whiskey barrels to window boxes.
  • Hanging baskets can accommodate smaller roses.
  • Ceramic pots work great with miniature roses.
  • Terra cotta is attractive, but loses water quickly.

When choosing containers:

  • You must have drainage. Check the container for drainage hole(s) before you fill it up with dirt.
  • Choose containers to match rose form and color as well as the landscape.
  • Make sure the container is big enough to allow root growth.
  • Check the plant tag to get an idea of the mature size of the rose. If in doubt, get a larger pot.
  • A stand with wheels is a good idea for larger pots.

Caring for Container Roses

Caring for Container Roses

Container roses need the same basic care as any potted plant:

Soil - Use a quality potting soil mix.

Light - Provide light as dictated by the variety. Roses generally need full sun.

Water - Water as needed to keep the roots moist for maximum flowering. Avoid getting water on the leaves.

Food - Use diluted plant food. Since water drains out more quickly, so will the fertilizer.

Temperature - Take extra care to prevent freezing.

Grooming - Deadhead spent blossoms and watch for disease and pests.

- Remove old canes and close or crossing canes.

- Increase container size as needed when growth dictates. It's a good idea to repot every three to four years to replace soil which has experienced salt buildup. Make sure you disturb the root ball as little as possible.