- Growing Miniature Roses In Pots – Tips For Care Of Miniature Roses Planted In Containers
- Choosing a Container for Miniature Roses
- Preparing the Miniature Rose Container
- Choosing a Miniature Rose to Grow in Containers
- Mini Roses
- Choose your bloom
- Abundant color and fragrance
- Year-round versatility
- Growing tips
- How To Care For Grocery Store Mini Roses
- How to Care for Miniature Roses
- Mini Rose Rescue
- Growing Miniature Roses Indoors
- Miniature Rose Care
- Tips for Growing Miniature Roses
Growing Miniature Roses In Pots – Tips For Care Of Miniature Roses Planted In Containers
By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
Growing beautiful miniature roses in containers is not a wild idea at all. In some cases, folks may be limited in garden space, may not have an area that is sunny enough where the garden space is available or just happen to like container gardening better. Then, too, perhaps some folks are renting a place and do not want to plant a miniature rose bush where they might have to leave it.
Choosing a Container for Miniature Roses
I have used a couple old coal buckets to grow miniature rose bushes in successfully, but you can use anything that will hold soil. For miniature rose bushes, I highly recommend something about the same size as an old coal bucket and at least as deep (around 10-12 inches). I do recommend not planting any miniature rose bush in a clear container as the sun’s rays can damage the root system, causing root burn.
Preparing the Miniature Rose Container
Clean the rose container out well. If there are no drainage holes, drill several 3/8-inch holes in the bottom of the rose containers for drainage and place a layer of 3/4-inch gravel in the bottom to help provide the drainage area.
When planting miniature container roses, for the soil in the container, I use a good bagged garden soil for outdoor use. Use a mix that allows for good root system growth and good drainage.
Choosing a Miniature Rose to Grow in Containers
I select a miniature rose for the container whose growth habit is no more than medium, as too tall a miniature rose bush would not look so good in the container. Your miniature rose bush selection should suit whatever container you decide to use. Select the miniature rose that suits the look and color of your desires.
Again, make very sure to check the growth habit of the rose either from the sellers’ website or look up the rose bush you are interested in online to learn about its habits and blooming.
Some of the miniature rose bushes I recommend for container roses are:
- Dr. KC Chan (yellow)
- Salute (red)
- Ivory Palace (white)
- Autumn Splendor (yellow and red blend)
- Arcanum (white with red kissed edges)
- Winter Magic (light lavender and very fragrant)
- Coffee Bean (dark russet)
- Sequoia Gold (yellow)
Roses are the elite flowers of the garden world. For centuries, they’ve captured the hearts and imaginations of devoted fans—gardeners and romantics alike. Their delicate soft blooms amid dark glossy leaves provide the perfect blend of beauty and balance in the garden.
Miniature roses are a classic centerpiece for a cottage garden
Dedicated rose enthusiasts have created hundreds of new hybrids in every color, shape, size, and fragrance imaginable—including the lovely and versatile miniature rose. These diminutive replicas of larger garden roses are perfectly scaled for indoor decorating, container planting, and garden borders. Compact 18-inch stems produce hundreds of blooms ranging in size from tiny ½-inch wonders that invite you to pause for closer inspection to showy 2-inch bursts of color that stop you in your tracks.
Choose your bloom
Like other roses, there is an abundance of miniature rose varieties to suit any style from refreshingly carefree to decadently indulgent, including hybrid tea roses, traditional garden roses, and floribundas. Varieties with simple, five-petal flowers add a finishing touch to any casual setting. Other varieties create a classic look with 15 petals wrapped into full double flowers. The showiest varieties have long sprays of densely packed blooms with up to 40 petals that create a lavish display.
Abundant color and fragrance
Miniature roses span nearly the full color spectrum from feminine shades of demure pastels to pure saturated colors to bold confident hues in solid, striped or variegated petals. From the purest white to the darkest red, plus pink, yellow, orange, mauve, russet, and many shades in between, mini roses bloom for up to three weeks and coordinate with any setting. And you’ll find fragrant varieties that fill your room with classic rose, citrus, sweet, or spicy notes.
The blossoms of these diminutive beauties can be as small as ½ inch and as large as 2 inches
Mini roses are great companion plants for other sun-loving annuals, perennials, and bulbs. Their compact mounds of flowers in the foreground accent taller background plants like iris, gladiolas, and dahlias. For texture and fullness, combine mini roses with succulents and groundcovers. Invite hummingbirds and beneficial insects into the rose garden with salvia, lemon thyme, and lavender. They will add life to the garden and keep aphids and other pests that may appear on the leaves and flowers to a minimum.
Miniature roses are incredibly versatile adding natural charm and romance to spaces that are impractical for full-size roses. Small containers in 4-inch and 8-inch sizes brighten up a dining room, bedroom, bathroom, or office and make a fabulous centerpiece at a wedding or special event. During the long winter months when colorful plants are scarce, these beauties are readily available year-round in supermarkets, florists, or garden centers.
In winter, when other flowering plants are scarce, miniature roses add cheer to a sunny window ledge
After they finish blooming, you can plant mini roses outdoors in a sunny perennial garden, along a walkway, in a container, or in a hanging basket. To prepare for the move from indoors to outdoors, cut back the stems about three inches above the pot, place in a bright sunny window, and keep the soil moist. New shoots will naturally develop which may need to be cut a second time after about six weeks. Move mini roses outdoors after the danger of freezing has passed.
If you don’t have a sunny spot in the garden for mini roses, you can also use them for cut flowers, drying, and potpourri. Of course, it’s also fine to throw them out guilt-free when the blooms are spent, just as you would cut flowers. Just toss the plant and soil in with the other yard waste or add to a backyard compost pile. Then recycle the pot and care tag.
Some people mistakenly believe that miniature roses are difficult to grow. Not true! They’re much easier to grow than you might think. They require much less space than their larger cousins, coordinate beautifully with other plants, and are hardy bloomers for their diminutive size. Most mini roses bloom continuously for two to three weeks under the right conditions. Some ever-blooming varieties are also available that bloom throughout the season.
Perfect for small spaces, miniature roses add color and fragrance on a smaller, personal scale
Mini roses thrive in bright light, moist soil, and cool temperatures. They are hardy perennials in USDA zones 5 to 9, returning year after year with bright, beautiful blooms. In other zones, mini roses make sensational annuals that you plant each spring in containers, on patios, or in garden beds and enjoy throughout the summer—right up until the first frost.
Mini roses perform equally well indoors as outdoors— just be sure to keep them away from hot windows or heat sources where they may quickly dry out. As with all flowers, avoid placing them near ripening fruits and vegetables—these emit ethylene gas that prematurely ages the flowers and may cause the leaves to drop.
As every gardener knows, there are always unwanted pests that show up to the party and mini roses are no exception. The best approach is to check for early warning signs and remove any affected areas. Consult with your local garden center to identify the pests and help resolve the problem—natural or chemical remedies are readily available for most garden needs.
Symptoms can include sticky spots on the leaves from tiny green or black aphids, stippling on the leaves and flowers from thrips, or webbing from spider mites. Other visitors that may give your roses unwanted attention include deer, rabbits, and Japanese beetles.
Don’t throw those grocery store mini roses away when the flowers disappear. Learn how to care for them inside until you can get them in the garden.
Every year, I buy myself a mini rose bush at the grocery store and I receive at least one, from my thoughtful husband, as a gift. And every year I manage to kill them in very short order.
It’s a depressing cycle, but one I’m sure I’ll break out of each time I drag those poor suckers home with me.
The plan is always the same, keep them alive long enough to plant them in the garden come spring.
It rarely works out this way.
Well, this year, I decided that instead of just looking at the tag for care instructions, I would ask the nice lady who works in the plant department at the food store for help.
She’s super knowledgeable and keeps a very nice little gardening section. It’s always well stocked, attractive and I get assistance there that I can’t get at the big box stores.
She gave me some tips and tricks to keep my plants alive until it was time to move them outside and some lovely words of encouragement, too. This time, when I left the store with a pair of mini rose bushes, I was pretty confident about my gardening skills…and so far, so good.
Here’s what I learned.
How To Care For Grocery Store Mini Roses
Number one, leave them in the container they came home in until they are done blooming. If you want to display them in something other than their plastic pot, drop it inside a larger planter. Just don’t upset the apple cart until the flowers are done.
This sounded perfect to me, the queen of lazy decorating, and it’s what I’ve been doing for years. This stage was not my problem area.
Number two, when the flowers are done, move the plant outside in the garden or transplant it until you can.
Ok. Here is where the trouble begins for me. When the flowers are gone, I lose interest. That’s terrible, I know, but it’s the truth.
I let those little plants sit in their tight plastic pots, getting root bound. I tuck them in a corner and water them, hoping that they’ll start to flower again someday, but they die long before that ever happens.
In the garden they will thrive, I just never seem to be able to keep them alive long enough to make the move. So on a very rare, snowless day a few weeks ago I transplanted them to pots. Hopeful.
Turns out, I had a ton of old items that could be used for planting, along with a few actual pots. I ended choosing an old candle holder and a container from Edible Arrangements.
I grabbed my favorite potting soil…or mix…my plants, a newspaper to protect my new patio and a handful of rocks. I was going to dig out (unintentional pun!) my gardening spade, but it was just easier to grab a plastic fork from the kitchen.
And I wonder why my plants keep dying…hmmmm.
Anyway, I lined the bottom of each pot with a handful of the tiny rocks for drainage. If my pot had holes, this wouldn’t be necessary.
Next, I used my used my hands, again, to grab dirt and drop in the pot over the rocks.
I turned my planters upside down to pop the roses out, make sure the roots aren’t bound and twisted into themselves (Thank you, Diana!) and I placed them in the dirt and then covered the root ball up with more.
I used the fork to move the soil around and tamp it down. Now, if your mini rose bush has some dead twigs sticking up, remove them. They’re gone and never coming back.
However…and this is the important part…if the sticks are leaf-less but green and alive, leave them! They are dormant and they will spring leaves again. I didn’t understand this and I used to toss my plants when they reached that stage.
I was sure they were beyond recovery and I gave up on them. The flower lady said this can be normal. Do not give up hope. Keep them in a bright spot and water them normally until they wake up again.
If your plants hold on to their leaves, even better. Place them in the sunshine and keep them moist. I pop mine in a full sun window sill in the morning and then move them to the table and the window next to the sink in the afternoon.
Once the weather is warm enough and the threat of frost is gone, I’ll move them to a sunny location in my yard. For now, however, they’re safe and snug inside, protected from Mother Nature’s lingering chill, and doing a great job of decorating my home.
Of course, an early burst of spring would be nice.
I mean, I’m reasonably sure they’re going to make it this time.
But it would certainly take the pressure off.
I’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE!! It worked!! This is the same little rose bush from the red pot. With a little bit of love and a lot of sunshine it bloomed and bloomed inside until it made its way to the great outdoors.
Are you a mini rose fan?
How to Care for Miniature Roses
By The National Gardening Association, Bob Beckstrom, Karan Davis Cutler, Kathleen Fisher, Phillip Giroux, Judy Glattstein, Michael MacCaskey, Bill Marken, Charlie Nardozzi, Sally Roth, Marcia Tatroe, Lance Walheim, Ann Whitman
Miniature roses are perfectly scaled, smaller versions of larger roses, with all the colors, forms, substance, and often, fragrance of full-sized roses. Like other types of roses you would take care of, each variety of miniature rose has different characteristics, with plant size ranging between 6 inches and 4 feet or more and plant shapes that include bushy, compact, climbing, and cascading. But no matter what the shape or growth habit, a good miniature rose has flowers and leaves in perfect proportion. Smaller definitely doesn’t mean less attractive, and in most cases, smaller does mean easier to grow. Their smaller habit makes miniatures ideal for growing in containers. The flowers provide bright and constant spots of color throughout the growing season, and you can cut their flowers for mini-bouquets and arrangements. The selection of varieties is awesome, and hundreds of new ones are introduced each year.
Miniatures are wonderful landscape plants. Because the plants are so small when you buy them, it seems as if they’ll take forever to grow and put on a good show. But don’t let that small size fool you. Miniature roses reach full size quickly, and they flower big-time all season long. Miniatures make beautiful up-front plants. Use them to edge a flower border or walkway, or plant them at the base of taller-growing plants.
Miniature roses are actually pretty tough plants. They’re almost always propagated and grown on their own roots, which gives them greater hardiness in cold weather than many other types of roses. Like most plants, however, they’re not real thrilled with harsh winter winds and the nasty freeze-and-thaw cycles that some winters bring. Even though your miniature roses will most likely live and do fine the next season no matter what you do or don’t do, if you live where temperatures regularly fall below 10°F (–12°C), they’ll suffer less damage and thrive more readily if you mulch the base of the plant with leaves for winter protection.
Smaller plants mean smaller roots, and smaller roots don’t grow very deep in the soil. So, if Mother Nature doesn’t provide rain, your mini-rose needs more frequent watering. Also, smaller plants require smaller doses of fertilizer. Generally, plan to fertilize a third as much, twice as often.
As with full-sized roses, deadheading is pretty much all the pruning you need to do during the growing season. You don’t need to cut back minis in the fall, and in spring you need only prune away the dead parts. If you have lots of minis to prune, a hedge trimmer does a great job. Shear plants back about halfway, meaning that a 12-inch-high plant should be about 6 inches tall after pruning. For fewer — but bigger — flowers, you can prune minis just as you would hybrid teas.
Don’t believe people who try to convince you that growing miniature roses indoors on a windowsill is easy. A miniature may stay in bloom for a week or two inside, but eventually the plant needs to go outside where light is sufficient and conditions are better for healthy growth. Those who do have success growing miniatures indoors usually have a greenhouse or provide some type of supplemental lighting.
Mini Rose Rescue
(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 12, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to respond to your questions.)
Surprisingly, many people treat the miniature roses (often sold as holiday novelty plants) as a throwaway plant. Not true!! Although not recommended as a houseplant, they are sold as such. Outdoor light and humidity conditions are hard to replicate indoors, especially in the winter when heated houses are, as a rule, very dry. Don’t throw the poor things away though. With a minimal amount of care these little beauties can be a wonderful addition to any garden. I discovered this fact by accident. They were on sale at my local box store and I could not resist buying a handful. I kept them alive–barely–on a windowsill and come spring, not knowing what else to do, I stuck them in the ground just to see what would happen. Lo and behold, they flourished. When fall arrived, I decided to leave them out of curiosity. I dumped a shovel full of soil over them while I was winterizing my other roses. The next spring, there they were, alive and happy, new shoots sprouting all over. This is in my zone 5a garden!!
Mini roses are true roses; the main difference being that they have been bred to stay small in size. They have smaller flowers than regular roses, but this works well because they are smaller in size, usually between 12 and 24 inches tall. They come in a variety of colours just like the bigger roses. Despite their tiny size, they are hardier than most tea roses. I have found that if deadheaded they are also repeat bloomers. They are, of course, succeptible to the same pests and diseases as other, larger types of roses.
Planting. Your newly acquired mini rose is planted the same as larger varieties. Pick a spot that gets at least several hours of sunlight. Dig a hole larger than the pot it came in. Add some good compost to the soil and stir. Gently remove your mini rose from its pot and ruffle the roots a little bit. Place your rose in the centre of the hole with the roots spread out as much as possible. Fill in the hole and firm gently. I like to leave a little depression, kind of like a moat, for the first watering, then fill the rest of the way after it has soaked in.
Most mini roses are not grafted so there is no need to worry about covering the graft or suckering.
Fertilize the same as you would your regular roses. These little guys bloom all season so therefore can be heavy feeders. Give them a shot in the spring when they first develop leaves, then after each flush of blooms. Stop fertilizing roughly six weeks before first frost. The more you fertilize, the lighter the strength you need to use. In my zone, they get the spring fertilizer and then again mid-summer, if I remember.
Watering is essential for all roses. The minis do not have deep root systems, so this is even more important. Mine get a drink at least once a week if it hasn’t rained. I make the little moat around them and fill it with water, let it soak in and then repeat. This guarantees that the water goes where I want it instead of running off. When it has soaked in, I backfill over the damp soil to prevent loss due to evaporation. (This is a trick my grandfather taught me when I was six years old and I have always done it. I make the same moat around all of my newly planted seedlings as well). Always avoid getting the water on the foliage of your roses, especially in humid weather, as this can cause fungal diseases.
Pruning. These little plants are the easiest to prune. I wait until new growth shows in the spring and then cut back any dead branches. I do not prune them heavily, they are small and compact enough as it is. Again, dead heading any spent blooms helps to maintain the overall appearance of the plant.
Mini roses, just like regular roses, come in all shapes. There are climbers, trailers, microminiatures (6 to 12 inches tall). There are also the newer Mini-flora roses, which have a larger bloom size and are a bigger plant than the minis. Those I have bought in the box stores are the microminiatures and in my garden they rarely exceed 12 inches.
They are wonderful in a hanging basket, planted with sweet alyssum or annual lobelia, something low and trailing. They make nice focal plants in a container too. Consider mini roses planted in a strawberry pot! In colder climates, though, I would recommend planting them in the ground to overwinter.They make excellent border plants. I keep all of mine in a bed by the front door; it’s a “mini” rose garden.
This year, after the madness of Valentine’s Day, and the poor little mini roses are setting neglected on the shelves, plastered with “reduced” stickers, dying of thirst, consider rescuing a few. Imagine a mini rose garden of your very own, full of tiny wonders, for less than the cost of one standard type rose.
Many thanks to grampapa, heidi2005 and kennedyh for their wonderful photos.
Growing Miniature Roses Indoors
Botanical Name: Rosa chinensis hybrids
If you’re growing miniature roses indoors, you’ll have success with these tips for miniature rose care.
Miniature rose plants can be found for sale in florist’s shops around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Although these pint-sized beauties are popular gifts, they’re really better off as temporary house guests. Their true home is outdoors, where they’ll thrive in the sunshine and fresh air.
Nearly every garden has space for growing miniature roses. Plant them in borders, or in front of your tall rose bushes. If you don’t have a spot in your garden, you can keep your minis in pots on your sunny porch or patio.
Some are shrubs and some are climbing. Train climbing miniature roses on a small trellis.
Miniature Rose Varieties
Dozens of excellent varieties are available. The difficult part is choosing among them. Award-winning ‘Cupcake’ blooms abundantly in pale pink…’Innocence’ is white with a blush of pink…’Caliente’ is stunning with bright-red blooms and glossy foliage.
Miniature Rose Care
Let the sun shine in. These mini and micro hybrids won’t bloom if they don’t get enough sunshine. When growing miniature roses indoors, it can be challenging to find a spot where they’ll get several hours of direct sun each day. If you don’t have space in a sunny window, you can move your rose outdoors, as long as there is no danger of frost.
Water regularly. Flowering roses are thirsty, and they dry out quickly in containers. Stick your finger in the soil to check for dryness every day or two, especially if you’re growing miniature roses outdoors.
Deadhead spent blooms. Remove flowers as soon as they fade to keep plants looking their best and to encourage a long blooming season. Don’t pluck them off with your hands because tearing can damage the stem. Use sharp pruners to avoid tearing the stems, which can attract disease. Cut at a 45° angle.
Pruning miniature roses. New plants won’t need pruning. As they get older, you’ll want to remove dead branches or any cross branches that rub against each other. Don’t be afraid to prune it back hard in fall, after flowering. Yearly pruning will promote vigorous new growth as well as the overall health of your rose. It also gives it an attractive shape. Use clean, pruning shears to cut the stem at a 45° angle, 1/4-inch above a leaf axil.
Repot year-old roses. Potted plants or gift baskets sometimes contain more than 1 rose plant per pot. This is a good time to divide them. Tease apart roots with your fingers, removing as much of the original soil as possible and plant separately in small pots with drainage holes. Repot in fall, after the flowering season is over.
Miniature roses are popular gifts — and elegant plants for a sunny window.
Overwintering your plant. Roses go dormant in winter and will drop their leaves. Giving roses a rest period in winter will prolong the life and health of the plants. Keep them cool during this time. They’re cold-hardy, but if you’re growing miniature roses outdoors, protect them from freezing temperatures by covering them with a layer of mulch. Move container-grown roses to a basement or garage for the winter so that roots don’t freeze.
Miniature rose plants are just as susceptible to the same ailments that afflict any other roses. Damp conditions can cause blackspot to develop on the leaves. It’s a fungus that needs to be treated right away. Cut off affected leaves and treat foliage with a fungicide specially made for blackspot. Good air ventilation will help to prevent fungus. Fortunately, newer rose hybrids are more and more resistant to diseases.
Yellow leaves that drop off can be a symptom of a few things. Lack of sunlight, dry soil, and dry air will cause roses to shed their leaves. Resuming good care of miniature roses will help them recover.
Tips for Growing Miniature Roses
Origin: Hybrids with parents from China
Height: Up to 2 ft (60 cm)
Light: Bright light, with as much direct sunlight as possible while plant is growing.
Water: Water thoroughly and allow the top 1 in (2.5 cm) to dry out between waterings. Keep soil barely moist in winter. Avoid getting water on the leaves, which can cause blackspot.
Humidity: Maintain at least 40-50% relative humidity. Use a humidity tray or room humidifier. Rose buds that shrivel up before opening may be suffering in the dry air of a heated home. Prune off the shriveled buds and raise the humidity around the plant. Moving the plant outdoors may be just the cure.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C will suit growing miniature roses fine. Established plants will tolerate varying temperatures. If you move your rose plant outdoors, don’t worry — it can take the heat. And roses are cold-hardy, but potted plants, especially, need extra protection from frost.
Soil: Any good potting mix with neutral pH (pH 7).
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks in spring and summer with a high-phosphorus fertilizer (such as 6-12-6) that contains micronutrients, diluted by half.
Propagation: Take 4 inch (10 cm) stem tip cuttings in early summer. Dip cut ends in rooting hormone powder and plant them in moist potting mix. Maintain high humidity.
- Houseplants A-Z
Miniature roses are sold in grocery stores, florists, big box stores, garden centers and nurseries, and even here in Santa Barbara at our farmers market. If you buy one from a reputable nursery or garden center, then it’s meant to be grown outdoors. The others are probably greenhouse grown and not really meant for life in the great outdoors. Regardless of which type of miniature rose you have, the pruning is done the same way.
This is a micro-mini rose which is greenhouse grown.
The one that I show in the video and above is a greenhouse grown rose which I used because it was easy to demonstrate on. Most miniature roses in the garden get 12-24″ in size and also make great container plants. The pruning is easy and they are much tougher than they look.
Hanging out on my front steps showing how to prune a miniature rose:
Here’s how to prune them:
During the summer or the flowering season, remove the dead blossoms. Go down 1 or 2 nodes and cut at an angle to the bud faces out and not towards the inside of the plant. Make sure your pruners are clean & sharp. For the greenhouse grown roses I sometimes use Fiskars floral nips if the stems are really small. For those in the garden (like “Gourmet Popcorn” picture in the lead photo & down below), I use my favorite Felco #2.
Prune them annually during the dormant season (here in Southern California it’s done in January) after the danger of frost has passed. If they’re growing and flowering well, then only a light pruning is need. Remove any dead branches or ones that cross over each other. Leave the center a little taller than the sides for a more pleasing shape.
If your rose is not doing well, then prune it harder. Leave the strongest stems and take the other ones down by at least one-half.
Make your cuts at an angle about 1/4″ above an outward facing terminal bud.
Miniature roses, or any type of rose for that matter, just aren’t suited to be houseplants. In the garden they’re a bit hard to prune because they are so low. If you have quite a few of them to prune, I’ve heard of some people doing it with hedge clippers. Now that’s tough!
“Gourmet Popcorn” (in the foreground covered in white flowers & shown close up in the lead photo ) grows very thickly so I always thin it out in the middle. I pruned this one out quite a bit & as you can see, it’s still covered in blooms.
Small plant, big flowers!
“There are a lot of right ways to grow roses.”
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.
Good luck with your minis.