Grow roses in pots


How to Pot Up Roses

If you have room for a pot, you have plenty of space for arose garden.

Choose the right container. Wooden tubs work well; plastic pots hold moisture, while unglazed terra-cotta dries out quickly. A smaller miniature rose (from 6 to 18 inches tall) needs a pot at least 6 to 8 inches deep; a 2- to 3-foot standard rose requires a container at least 18 inches deep. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole.

Improve the soil. Add one scoop of organic matter, such as composted manure, mushroom compost, or garden compost, for every three scoops of regular potting soil. Some gardeners swear by adding a scoop of peat moss (to retain moisture), as well as a scoop of bonemeal (for extra nitrogen and phosphorus). Add water-holding polymer granules (available from garden centers and mail-order sources) to absorb moisture and release it as the soil dries. Feed plants weekly throughout the growing season. Use liquid fish fertilizer, or make compost tea (mix a handful of compost or composted manure in a gallon of water).

Plant properly. Position rose roots on a mound of soil, with the bud union or base of the plant 1 to 2 inches below the rim of the container. Add enough soil to fill the pot.

Water smartly. Check potted roses daily, and water when the soil feels dry. If you live in a hot, dry climate, set up a drip irrigation system for your containers, and control watering with a timer. Mulch to preserve soil moisture. A 1/2-inch frosting of pebbles or wood chips adds a finished look to plantings and may help keep squirrels and other rascals from digging in the pots.

Protect plants from temperature extremes. Insulate potted roses by slipping them into slightly larger containers; pack peat moss between the pots. Remember, part of the beauty of potted roses is their portability. If they get too much afternoon sun, move them to a slightly shadier spot. In winter, transfer potted roses out of the garden to a protected location where their roots won’t freeze. An unheated garage is fine, as long as you wrap the pot with layers of burlap or set it in a styrene ice chest and pack leaves around it.

Image zoom The ambitious Climber ‘Dr. Walter Van Fleet.’

If you’re looking for places to add roses, don’t overlook these opportunities:

Build on the foundation. Many roses do best on a sunny side of the house, protected from winter winds. If you remove the hard-packed, lime-leached dirt found next to the concrete foundation and replace it with at least 18 inches of rich organic soil, you’ll enjoy cascades of blooms from a compact Climber, such as “Golden Showers,” in a bed just 12 inches wide.

Border a driveway, or edge a walk. “Betty Prior” makes a colorful edging that grows no higher than 4 feet tall. If your only available open space is a patio or deck, plant miniature roses around the perimeter. Space plantings of “Double Bubble” 2 feet apart to form a pretty border of soft pink blooms.

Plant a blooming hedge. Landscape roses, such as “Flower Carpet” and “Simplicity,” are perfect for forming a living garden wall. Meidiland roses grow into a thorny, unpenetrable property line.

Keep it simple. Make a single outstanding statement by creating a focal point in a sliver of space. Train an old-fashioned beauty, such as “Madame Hardy,” up a wood tower. Instead of cramming plants and furnishings into a small area, edit for maximum impact.

Tuck roses into pockets. In a mature or fully planted landscape, nestle a compact Shrub rose into a remaining pocket of soil. Consider adding “Ballerina,” a petite pink Floribunda, to the corner of a bed as an accent.

Go up and over. Arbors, trellises, and pergolas keep your roses upright and add a vital vertical dimension. Enjoy the classic red blooms of “Blaze” by securing the climber’s canes horizontally to a fence.

About author

Roses are extremely popular as cut flowers, garden flowers and potted plants. While cut roses only last for a few days, a potted plant can give the recipient years of joy. That’s why they are fast becoming a favourite for occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and even Mother’s Day. Taking care of potted roses is much like caring for roses in your garden. However, since you have much more control over the environment and conditions in your home, they can be even more rewarding with less effort.

Sun and water

Roses enjoy warm to hot conditions and can tolerate a fair amount of direct sunlight. In fact, they need quite a bit of sunlight in order to really flourish and produce an abundance of flowers. Due to the warm conditions, the soil can tend to dry out fairly quickly and you will need to monitor it regularly. Do not simply look at the surface of the soil to check if it’s dry. Stick your finger down about an inch into the soil and, if it’s dry that far down, it’s definitely time to water.

Water fairly generously and, when the water starts to drain through the bottom of the pot, then it’s time to stop.


Roses are quite delicious to a number of different bugs. You should always monitor your potted rose plant for any indication of insect damage and deal with it immediately. Kill the bugs by hand or ask the professionals at your local nursery for a suitable pesticide. A great time to check for such pests is while you are carefully pruning your plant but in between checks are also a good idea.


In order to produce high quality blooms, your potted rose is going to need some extra nutrients. You can use the same kind of fertilizer as you would with garden planted roses and make sure that you follow the instructions to the letter for best results.


Pruning your roses, like many other plants, is the best way to help them grow and produce even better blooms year after year. Make sure that you use a sharp knife or sheers to prune your roses. The last thing you want is to crush the stems. When cutting the stems, do so just below each spent bloom and at a 45 degree angle. Do the same with any dead foliage as well. Pruning will greatly reduce the overall size of your potted roses and they will remain this size during the colder winter months. However, when their blooming season nears, you will notice the explosion of life, growth and beauty again.

Other helpful information

Roses serve a number of different purposes. Some roses are used to make jam, others are used to extract their essence and they make fantastic home made potpourri as well. Home owners should not be concerned with any poisonous aspects of this plant. The only potential issue is the thorns which, in small rose varieties, are often soft and pretty harmless if they are even a feature of the plant.

Container rose gardening made easy

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Container rose gardening is a stylish way to brighten up outdoor spaces. Use a potted rose to create a focal point in a garden or add bold color and fragrance to decks, patios, and entranceways. Planting roses in containers also allows you to control the growing conditions of the plant, a big benefit if your garden soil is less-than-ideal.

To show you just how easy it is to grow roses in containers, we’ve teamed up with the good folks at Easy Elegance® Roses. Easy Elegance® Roses are a gardeners dream! Not only do they have beautiful blooms that repeat all summer long, but the compact plants are tough, cold hardy, and disease resistant. No fussing required!

The brilliant blooms of Screaming Neon Red add bold color to decks and patios.

Picking the best containers for potted roses

Start your potted rose garden off right by picking the best container for the job.

1. Size – When it comes to selecting a pot for container rose gardening, size matters and bigger is better! Roses have extensive root systems and a standard-size rose should be planted in a container in the 8 to 15 gallon size range. The pot should be big enough to accommodate the root ball of the plant, plus offer room for growth. A large container also holds more soil volume and dries out less frequently than a smaller pot, which means less watering for you.

2. Material – Drop into any garden center and you’ll find a wide selection of pots that can be used to plant container roses. Plastic and fiberglass are popular because they’re lightweight and come in many colors and sizes. Terra cotta is a classic choice that has natural appeal, but it’s also a porous material and dries out quickly. That means it needs to be watered more often. To get the look of clay, but with improved water retention, opt for a glazed ceramic pot. Glazed ceramic pots are beautiful, come in many colors, sizes, and styles, and are non-porous so they don’t dry out too quickly.

3. Drainage – Good drainage is essential when container rose gardening. If the soil is too wet, the roots will rot. Look for a pot with drainage holes at the bottom. If your chosen container doesn’t offer drainage, add some holes yourself with a drill or pick a different pot.

Coral Cove is a stunning rose from the Easy Elegance® line of roses. This compact cultivar is perfect for pots and produces a heavy flush of orange-pink-yellow blooms all summer long.

Choosing the best rose for container rose gardening

The best roses for containers are miniature and shrub roses. Avoid climbing roses or those that get larger than 5 feet tall and wide as these will be difficult to move and store for winter.

For low-maintenance and a steady supply of gorgeous flowers all summer long, you can’t beat Easy Elegance® Roses. These roses are incredibly easy to grow – even for novice rose gardeners! They’re minimal care, disease-resistant shrub roses that are bred to be tough and long-blooming so you can enjoy months of beautiful roses without the work. Plus, these roses are grown on their own roots. That means the plants are more vigorous and cold tolerant than traditional grafted roses. Expect the large flowers and re-bloom of tea roses combined with the cold tolerance and hardiness of shrub roses.

Here are three outstanding Easy Elegance® cultivars that offer maximum flower power for your containers:

  • Coral Cove – Coral Cove has it all; large, double, orange-pink flowers that are produced in abundance all summer long, compact growth, and excellent disease resistance. What more could you want from a rose? With its three-foot height and rounded form, Coral Cove is an excellent choice for a container. We suggest you place the pot where you can enjoy watching the unique orange to pink to yellow flowers bloom for months.
  • Screaming Neon Red – Prepared to be dazzled by the brilliant red flowers of Screaming Neon Red! Each semi-doubled flower boasts lipstick-red petals that surround a golden yellow center. And the plants continue to pump out repeat blooms all summer long. Come autumn, the show continues when the dark green foliage turns a lovely deep red. Each plant grows three to four-feet tall with a three-foot spread.

If your garden needs more flower power, look no further than Screaming Neon Red rose. This award-winning cultivar has electric red flowers with bright yellow centers and is extremely disease resistant.

  • Yellow Submarine – Bold, beautiful color? Check! Easy to grow? Check! Pest and disease resistant? Check! Fragrant? Check! Yellow Submarine is the rose you’ve been waiting for. The cheerful lemon-yellow flowers fade to butter yellow to white as they mature, which means you always have a range of yellow hues on the plant. And, like other Easy Elegance® Roses, you’ll find the plants to be tough and reliable.

Planting roses in containers

Now that you’ve found the perfect rose and picked your container, it’s time to plant! Start by mixing a high-quality potting mix with compost or aged manure. Roses love rich soil, but they also need well-draining soil. Therefore, the potting mix and compost combination is ideal for container rose gardening. Aim for a ratio of two-thirds potting mix and one-third compost. At this time, a slow-release granular rose fertilizer can also be added to the soil.

Scoop the soil mixture into the container until it is around two-thirds full. Remove the plant from its container and use your fingers to gently loosen the rootball. Slightly mound the soil in the middle of the container and place the rose on top of the mounded soil, spreading out the roots. Add more of the soil mixture until it’s even with the top of the root ball. Gently firm the soil around the rootball, adding more of the potting mix-compost to bring the soil level back up to the top of the rootball.

After planting, give the container a deep drink of water and mulch the soil surface. A two-inch layer of natural bark mulch helps the soil hold moisture and reduces the need to water.

The best site for a container rose

There’s no getting around it, roses love sunshine. Look for a spot that offers at least 5 to 6 hours of full sun per day. The beauty of growing roses in containers is that even if your garden is shaded, you can grow roses wherever you can find some sun; a deck, front entrance, beside a garden bench, or anywhere the sun shines.

When positioning the container, leave room between nearby plants, containers, or structures to allow for air circulation. Good airflow can reduce the occurrence of rose diseases. Space container roses at least two to three-feet apart, so that their foliage doesn’t touch. But, as important as good air circulation is for healthy roses, don’t overdo it by placing the container in a windy spot. Strong winds can dry out the pot faster, meaning you need to water more often, and wind gusts that tip the pot over could damage the plant.

Roses grow best in full sun, so look for a site that offers at least 5 to 6 hours of sunshine each day.

Caring for a container rose garden

There are three main tasks to remember when container rose gardening: watering, fertilizing, and deadheading.

  • Watering container roses – Roses appreciate moist, well-drained soil, making consistent watering critical to the health of your plant. Expect to water every day in hot weather, checking the moisture level with a finger inserted into the soil mixture. It’s best to water in the morning so that any water that splashes on the foliage has time to dry before nightfall. Prolonged moisture on the leaves can spread fungal diseases.
  • Fertilizing container roses – Roses are heavy feeders and container-grown roses need special attention in regards to fertilizing. Fertilize potted roses each spring with a slow-release organic rose food. During the growing season, a monthly dose of a liquid organic food, like fish emulsion, can help keep flower production high.
  • Deadheading container roses – Encourage a long season of fresh flowers by removing spent blooms. When deadheading, clip the stem back to a fresh set of leaves.

Other maintenance tasks when container rose gardening include pruning, which is best done at the beginning of the season once the buds begin to swell. Prune out any dead wood, clipping back to a healthy set of outward-facing buds. Also, if you’re not growing a naturally disease-resistant rose like those from the Easy Elegance® collection, you’ll need to keep an eye out for common rose diseases, like black spot and powdery mildew, taking action where necessary.

Keep potted roses deadheaded by removing spent flowers every few days. This will encourage a non-stop show of fragrant beautiful blooms.

Re-potting container roses

Every two to three years, container-grown roses need to be repotted to keep the plants healthy and flowering well. If the plant has outgrown its pot, find a new container that is one to two sizes larger than the original pot. Be sure to pick a pot that has drainage holes! Half fill the new pot with fresh potting mix and compost. Slip the rose from its current container, and move it to the new container, adjusting the soil volume so that the top of the rootball sits just below the top of the container. Add more potting mix and compost around the rootball, firming to ensure there are no air pockets around the roots. Continue to add soil until it reaches the top of the rootball. Water well.

How to overwinter potted roses

Many roses, like those in the Easy Elegance® collection, are bred to be winter hardy when grown in a garden, but when planted in containers, they’ll need a little extra help to overwinter successfully. The first step in winter preparation for container rose gardening is to stop fertilizing in late July. Too much food late in the season can encourage tender growth that may be damaged in winter. It’s also a good idea to stop deadheading spent blooms by early September. This will encourage strong wood and increased cold tolerance.

Once the leaves have dropped, it’s time to move the plant for winter. There are two options for overwintering a containerized rose:

1. Unheated shelter – The entire container can be moved to an unheated, but insulated location such as an attached garage, shed, or basement where the temperature stays around the freezing mark. Be sure to check the pot every month to see if the soil has dried out. If it’s dry to the touch, water sparingly.

2. Underground – Perhaps the easiest way to overwinter a potted rose is to sink the pot into the ground for the winter months. A vegetable garden with loose soil is the perfect spot, but anywhere you can dig deep enough to bury the pot is fine. Once the potted rose has been ‘planted’, mulch with several inches of straw or shredded leaves to insulate the plant. Pull it out in the spring, when the buds begin to swell.

We’d like to thank Easy Elegance® Roses for helping us spread the word about how easy container rose gardening can be! Click here to find an Easy Elegance® retailer near you.

Are you ready to grow roses in containers? Please tell us about it in the comment section below.












Growing roses in containers

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Last updated on 22 June 2018

Growing roses in containers is becoming more and more popular. We asked rose experts Sheenagh Harris, former president of the World Federation of Rose Societies, and Ludwig Taschner, of Ludwig’s Roses, how to get the best results



Sheenagh: Roses in containers look fabulous when used to decorate a patio, a balcony, courtyard or driveway. It’s easy to move them to a sheltered position in extreme weather and out of the way if they are not looking attractive.

Ludwig: Containers are ideal where there’s root competition in beds from trees or in areas with very sandy soil. They can either be a feature in a bed, or planted in plastic pots and sunk into the soil.

“Gnome World”


Ludwig: Any type of rose can be grown in a container. However, it is best to select varieties with a growth habit suitable for the shape of the container. For example, a shrub rose suits a large, wide pot, while a climbing rose looks elegant emerging from a tall, slender pot.

READ MORE: Container gardening with succulents


Sheenagh: Yes, as long as the container is big enough. My favourite combination is ‘My Granny’, ‘Granny Dearest’ and ‘Granny’s Delight’, preferably in a half wine barrel with a standard variety of one kind in the centre.

Granny’s Delight

Ludwig: Grow a tall, upright type, such as ‘South Africa’, at the back and an arching variety in front, such as ‘Deloitte & Touche’. Or try a standard in the centre, such as ‘Iceberg’ and three shorter bush types, such as ‘Tawny Profusion’, around it.

READ MORE: 10 Roses we love

Deloitte & Touche


Sheenagh: The larger the pot, the happier the rose. A half wine barrel or large urn is a good example of the depth. Wood and terracotta are the best choice. Metal gets very hot and dries out the soil quickly and plastic can become brittle and crack in the sun.

Ludwig: Miniature roses will do well in a 5–10 litre container, but for most other roses, you’ll need a larger container, between 30–50 litres. So, if you want to plant two roses together, use a 60-litre container.

READ MORE: Container gardening: Potting water lilies


Sheenagh: Choose a place where your container will receive a minimum of six hours of sun a day. Pots of roses make a statement at the end of walkways; tall pots are effective on either side of a doorway or entrance; and shallower pots bring personality to the edge of a retaining wall, allowing rambling roses to hang down.


Ludwig: Permanent aeration is the key. Potting soil sold at garden centres is often not sufficiently coarse or rich enough for roses. It’s best to add coarse organic material, such as bark mulch, peanut shells or gravel. Just five percent clay mixed in well does wonders for the soil’s water-holding capacity, but any more will destroy aeration. Avoid using too much compost as it decomposes quickly and settles to a low level, destroying aeration in the process. Raise the upper level of soil slightly over the edge of the container. Within a month it will have sunk to the ideal level.

Tawny Profusion


Ludwig: A climbing rose grows quite big and will eventually have a lot of foliage and flowers to support. Ensure the container has a holding capacity of at least 40–60 litres. Place a stake into the soil to support the climbing canes, or place the container next to a pole, fence or wall with a trellis attached.


Sheenagh: There is no limit to the length of time a rose can be kept in a container, provided the soil is renewed regularly every year. Remove as much soil as possible from around the roots at pruning time and replace with rich, new compost. If the rose requires repotting, prune hard and keep the plant damp while renewing the soil and then replant immediately.


Ludwig: Water container roses well every day. However, ensure the roots don’t stand in water as they will rot within hours. Once established, fertilise on a monthly basis from August to April with a quick-reacting granular fertiliser, such as Vigorosa or Wonder Rose. Apply a heaped teaspoon per plant for every 30 litres of potting soil, or for miniature roses in smaller pots, a level teaspoon per 10 litres of potting soil. In winter, apply a few handfuls of manure or rich compost to the soil surface for long-lasting nutrition. Trim and shape regularly during the year, taking care to retain enough leaves. Prune in winter as you would the roses growing in the garden.


Sheenagh: Roses in pots are very susceptible to red spider mite. Avoid placing them against a wall and don’t allow them to dry out as this encourages the pest.

Ludwig: If potted roses are plagued by diseases and insects, it means they are not receiving enough water. If the water content in the leaves is low, powdery mildew, red spider mite and pernicious scale may appear. Drenching with an insecticide containing imidacloprid (Koinor, Merit, Confidor) keeps most insects away from roses for about six months. Control fungal diseases by spraying monthly with Chronos or Rose Protector. Ludwig’s Insect Spray is organically certified. A tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate added to a 10 litre solution of ready-mixed spray provides a good control of insects and a fair control of fungal diseases.

KEEP READING: Growing your own pesticides


Karen Gardelli 082 745 2891
Ludwig Taschner, Ludwig’s Roses 012 544 0144 or

Planting Guide: Potted Roses

Leave it in the supplied pot

Your rose will continue to grow and flower if you decide to leave it in the pot provided, however it will need re-potting in winter. Place in a sunny spot with good drainage and keep well watered.
Please keep in mind that roses have very large root systems and will become root bound when they out grow the size of the pot. Re-potting your rose into a larger pot will be necessary after a period.
Water: pots provide little insulation against the heat, this causes the potting mix to dry out faster than the soil in the ground. For this reason, roses in pots require frequent doses of water. Watering roses every day or every second day is sufficient, depending on the weather. Try to avoid letting the potting mix dry out completely. for more information on watering roses.
Pot Size: this will depend on the variety – miniatures can cope with a smaller pot to standards, shrubs or hybrid teas. However, the larger the pot the better.
Soil: always use potting mix in pots. Never use soil from your garden when planting roses in pots. Garden soil is too dense and can compress the roots making it hard for them to grow.

Plant in the ground

Rose planting is best done during winter but can be done year round, providing you don’t disturb the root system.
1. Dig a hole large enough to place the pot within. This must be in a sunny spot with good drainage.
2. Carefully slide the pot away from the plant, without disturbing the soil around the roots. ie. Do not shake the soil off or tease the soil from around the roots in any way! Disrupting the roots will allow air into the root system which can cause damage.
3. Carefully place in the pre-dug hole. Make sure the soil line is vertical with the top of the potted soil, as pictured below.
4. Fill in the rest of the hole with soil.
5. Keep well watered. This step is very important as the rose will require extra water while the root system becomes established in the new position.
Please note: if wilting occurs, increase the water dosage. Newly planted roses require 10 to 20 litres of water twice a week.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

The Container Rose Garden

Container gardening has become quite popular and is not limited to annuals alone. I started container gardening with a couple of hybrid tea roses about 10 years ago. Since then, my collection of container roses has expanded from a couple to about 20 pots. Hybrid tea roses, floribunda roses, small shrub roses, and miniatures are all fantastic in containers.

Roses are gorgeous in containers and may be the perfect feature in an outdoor decor setting. Limited in-ground planting space or the need to dress up a hardscape area are key reasons to consider container gardening. One of the reasons that I grow many roses in containers is that I love roses and, unfortunately, my garden is in a really cold area, where many varieties simply are not winter hardy. Roses planted in containers fill my garden with color, fragrance, and gorgeous floral focal points. Choose varieties with “continuous bloom” for container gardening.

Choose a pot shape, color, and size that will complement the rose you choose. The featured planting should look balanced and the bloom color should be complemented by the pot color. Hybrid teas and floribundas perform well in pots larger than 14” in diameter and at least 14” deep (the deeper the better). Miniatures with a mature plant height of less than 18” are fine in a pot 10”-12” in diameter and 10”-12” deep. Hot Cocoa, a floribunda, is perfectly suited to this brown round clay pot.

Keep in mind that I am gardening in zone 3, where the growing season is short, and many of these container roses will not reach their mature plant size. Expect the growth in a container to be about the same as the first-year growth of a rose you would plant in the ground.

The Location

All roses need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to develop and produce their flowers. Shelter from the wind will prevent the blooms from dropping petals prematurely. Be sure to choose companion plants that are compatible with the full sun conditions. Alternatively, the surrounding plants or structures may provide shade to the under-planted companions, while the tall rose will have full sun exposure. Your choice of companion plants will depend on these factors.

The Companions

Combination container planting usually is approached with the design method of using a “thriller, filler, and spiller.” The thriller is the tall focal plant, the fillers are upright bushy plants, and the spillers hang over the pot edge. When you are working with roses, a different approach may be a better option. Think of the rose as the thriller and filler. The roses are quite bushy with beautiful foliage. Adding additional upright bushy plants to a rose combination planter may create a scene in which the fillers engulf the rose (not the most attractive sight). I like to use spillers that drape over the pot and hang down. This is especially true for hybrid tea and floribunda roses planted in pots that are less than 20” in diameter. Sometimes simpler is better.

Large, 22” diameter pots allow for a bit more room for additional plant material. A tall hybrid tea planted with an assortment of low-growing herbs is a lovely combination. Roses with an upright growth habit are a better choice for a combination planting than mounding bush shapes.

The top choice in my garden of a single container combo is a dark red hybrid tea and green leaf Creeping Jenny in a large urn-shaped pot. Lysimachia nummularia, Creeping Jenny, is a hardy ground cover, and I transplant it from my flowerbeds each spring. The golden leaf variety of Creeping Jenny looks terrible with a rose. I avoid using all plants with chartreuse foliage as planting companions in containers with roses.

Planting within a color theme is fun and very eye catching. I’ve done some “all pink” and “red & white” combos that were very pretty.


Grouping a number of different pots to create a container collection is one of my favorite garden projects. I have two beds devoted to container collections. One of the advantages is that roses are easier to maintain when they are in their own pots. Using pots of assorted heights or elevating some of the pots will enhance the display. These container beds have bark mulch under the pots to prevent weeds from growing in between the containers.

Container Planting Techniques

  • Ensure that your pot has drainage holes.
  • Cover the drainage holes with landscape fabric.
  • Pre-moisten potting soil and fill to a level where the transplant will sit about an inch below the top rim of the container. My favourite potting soil is Premier Pro-Mix BX. Use new soil each year in the smaller containers and recycle half of the soil in large pots.
  • The soil moisture level at planting time should be similar to a damp sponge. When you squeeze it, water will dribble out.
  • Loosen the roots to encourage them to spread with new growth. Position the transplant in the pot.
  • Fill in the remaining space with pre-moistened soil, lightly compacting the soil to eliminate air pockets.
  • Add rose fertilizer. My preference is a 4 -6 week granular fertilizer.
  • Cover the fertilizer with 1/4″ of soil, finishing with a soil level 1″ from the top rim. This will allow the water to soak in and not run off the pot when watering.
  • Mulch to help control moisture levels. Bark mulch is my first choice for mulching containers.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Epsom salts on top of the mulch.
  • Water until you see the water drain
    Trumpeter Floribunda Climbing Pinata Hybrid Tea NOID

No picture available, but Jeanne Lajoie underplanted with miniature Sweet Fairy is very pretty.

Maintenance Tips

  • Elevate pots with “pot feet” to ensure good drainage.
  • Follow a consistent watering schedule. Deep-watering until the water drains out the bottom is better for the rose than light watering every day. Allowing the soil to become parched or oversaturated will cause stress to the rose and the health of the plant will suffer.
  • Nutrients are depleted fairly quickly in container planting. I add granular fertilizer every 6 weeks throughout the growing season.
  • Add Epsom salts monthly to maintain plant health.
  • Take appropriate action when there is any sign of disease or pest problems.

Roses in Zone 5 or lower are not likely to survive the winter in pots without special overwintering techniques.

Anyone and everyone can enjoy roses, no matter what climate you live in. And who wouldn’t want a shrub or two in their garden that contains roses? They’re bursting with color, foliage, and unforgettable fragrances. In addition to that, roses are easy to care for, especially in pots and containers. So, we’ve made a list of recommendations of the best roses for container gardening, just for you!

How to Care for Roses in Containers

Caring for roses is rather simple. Roses need cleaning up, pruning, deadheading, and feeding because it takes a lot of energy for them to grow and flower. If you’re a beginning gardener and want to grow the best and easiest roses for container gardening, be sure to choose roses that are under 5′ tall, disease-resistant, and repeat blooming.

Nell’s Quick Tips on Rose Gardening:

Use Nell’s advice for future reference as you grow your own rose garden! Here are some of her tips on container gardening regarding roses.

1. Choosing the Right Container Pot:

Containers stand-alone or in small groupings. Choose a rose which repeatedly blooms and is disease resistant. As far as rose gardening is concerned, there are two factors you should look out for:

Choose pots with drainage holes.

You’ll want drainage holes because the roots can easily rot otherwise. Roses, like all plants, need drainage. Make sure the container has at least 1 drain hole.

Bigger containers will work better than smaller ones.

Your roses will need room to grow and flourish. Almost any rose does well in an appropriately sized container but I like to stick with roses which stay under 4-5′ tall. I’ve found that climbing roses, large hybrid teas, large floribundas, and large shrub roses aren’t as well suited for growing in containers.

Choose a large enough container which is suited to the size the rose will be at the end of the season. The larger the rose gets, the larger the size container you’ll need. Their fibrous roots need room to spread out and grow. Also, the smaller the container, the more often it’ll need watering.

Plastic and resin pots have gotten so good looking these days. They can easily be spray painted to accent your outdoor space. Plus, they don’t get as hot as terra cotta or ceramic pots do so the roots will stay a bit cooler if heat is an issue. Just make sure they’re weatherproof (most say how cold they go on the tag) if you’re in a cold climate.

2. Plant your roses in the spring after the last frost.

Give your roots time to stabilize in the soil. Bare root is available for shipping in winter or spring (depending on your climate zone) from the sources below.

Buy your roses from a reliable source.

Good choices are David Austin, Star, Edmunds, Weeks, Jackson Perkins, Regan Nursery and Heirloom Roses.

3. Roses love & need full sun to do their best.

Choose a location that gets at least 5-6 hours of sun a day for your roses.

4. Air circulation is important so make sure yours has enough to keep it healthy.

5. Plant your roses in good organic potting soil.

Roses love to grow in rich soil. We recommend FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil. They love a rich, nourishing mix so add compost in when planting and also use it as a topdressing.

6. If the pot is large enough, roses look great underplanted with colorful annuals & trailing plants.

This is a great way to make your garden or patio look aesthetically pleasing as well!

7. Don’t let the soil go completely dry.

Roses need regular watering suitable to your climate.

8. Roses love to be fed.

I was a professional gardener in the San Francisco Bay Area for 20 years and this is the organic fertilizer blend I found which helped them thrive. I didn’t feed roses in containers with this blend as often as I did roses in the ground. Once in spring & once in mid-summer was enough.

9. Prune throughout the season as necessary.

You’ll need to deadhead, shape, and remove sucker or unwanted growth depending on what type of rose you have.

10. Protect your roses in the winter if you’re in a cold climate.

Apply a very thick layer of hay on the surface of the soil &/or wrap the plant with burlap.

Lovely Fairy by Heirloom Roses

Roses Fit for Pots and Container Gardening

Now it’s time to introduce you to some of the best roses for container gardening! We love these for their stunning colors, beautiful foliage, and simple maintenance.

Belinda’s Dream Floribunda Rose

This rose is a dream come true. Belinda’s Dream is an easy-care shrub that’s resistant to rose diseases and pests. The pink color will shine brightly in the sun, and you won’t have to worry about the sunlight and heat ruining this plant. It also comes with glossy foliage that we love so much.

Height: 3 to 4 ft

Flower Color: Pink

Cream Veranda Shrub Rose

She grows just right in containers, as well as any landscape you choose. The soft colors can complement a variety of gardens. We love the flowy feel of the bursting blooms.

Height: 2.5 ft

Flower Color: Cream

All My Love Hybrid Tea Rose

When your eyes fall upon this hybrid tea rose, you’ll be mesmerized by the splash of pink looking back at you. The blooms on this beauty are flawless. This rose is robust, and you can easily share some of the blooms with your loved ones.

Height: 2 to 3 ft

Flower Color: Pink

Doris Day

Just like the name suggests, this rose is definitely star quality. Look at that pop of yellow! Plus, it has a sea of deep green foliage to compliment the roses. They come with a fruity scent too!

Height: 3 to 5 ft

Flower Color: Yellow

At Last Floribunda Rose

This particular rose is easy-care and quick to flourish, so if you’re new to rose gardening, At Last Floribunda is a good bloom to start with. This one also caught our eye because of its unique apricot coloring.

Height: 2.5 to 3 ft

Flower Color: Apricot

Blanc Double De Coubert Rugosa Rose

If you were searching for an elegant white rose, here it is. The intense fragrance that accompanies this rose will make you never want to leave your garden. It’ll remind you of candy-like licorice!

Height: 4 to 5 ft

Flower Color: White

Celestial Night Floribunda Rose

The plum color of this rose is so gorgeous! The number of blooms included will make your garden feel rose-abundant. Plus, it’s disease-resistant, so you can expect it’ll be around for a long time.

Height: 3 to 5 ft

Flower Color: Purple

Celestial Night Floribunda Rose

Centennial Star Hybrid Tea Rose

Another beautiful bloom with a wonderful fragrance, this hybrid tea rose has a colorful combination of yellow and orange in its blooms. They are gently ruffled and pleasing to the eye.

Height: 3 to 4 ft

Flower Color: Yellow

Adolf Horstmann Hybrid Tea Rose

The color is rich burnished gold with salmon tints on the outer rows of petals and it’s amazingly prolific despite its large size. The leathery foliage is extremely resistant to both mildew and blackspot covering robust and free-branching plants. Certainly the hardiest of anything near its color and deliciously fragrant as well.

Height: 4 to 5 ft

Flower Color: Yellow

Beverly Hybrid Tea Rose

Looking at this rose is like looking at a painting. There are so many shades of pink that come together just like paint strokes. The fragrance is one of the best too: hints of citrus, peach, and pear, it’s almost like you purchased a fruity body mist!

Height: 3 to 4 ft

Flower Color: Pink

The Fairy Shrub Rose

This rose contains shades of white and pink coloring. It’s tough and reliable, so you can expect it last for a long time. The blooms are thick and will cover the foliage, so you can expect to see lots of roses!

Height: 2.5 ft

Flower Color: Soft Pink

Princess Alexandra Of Kent English Rose

The blooms give a warm and pink glow. This rose is very ideal for pots and containers. It’s also highly fragrant so enjoy the sweet scent!

Height: 5 ft

Flower Color: Warm Pink

Tranquillity English Rose

This English rose is extremely floriferous. Looking at the blooms will remind of you vanilla cupcakes! They tend to grow vigorously and emit an apple fragrance. They’re disease resistant and repeat-flowering easily, which makes them one of the best choices for container gardening.

Height: 4 ft

Flower Color: White

Tranquillity by David Austin

Perfume Delight

Every rose lady should smell so sweet. This siren can lure you into a hypnotic trance with her heady damask rose perfume and lurid costume of hot pink. She has big shapely buds and blooms borne on long strong stems. The vigorous upright plant is attractively robed with large dark green leaves. The established plant gives more bloom.

Height: 4 ft

Flower Color: Deep Rose Pink

Lovely Fairy

Pink and ruffled, this rose will actually survive the winter months. Continual blooming and disease-resistant make this one a catch for container gardening too.

Height: 4 ft

Flower Color: Dark Pink

Carefree Delight

This particular rose doesn’t look like the rest. The blooms open wide so you can see the pedals within. Plus, they are pretty massive, so they easily cover the entire foliage.

Height: 2 ft

Flower Color: Soft Pink

Mandarin Ice

This extremely healthy and vigorous Floribunda has unique coloring with brilliant orange-red petals highlighted by their cream reverse. Gold medal winner in international competition.

Height: 2 to 3 ft

Flower Color: Orange Red

Mandarin Ice by Heirloom Roses

Double Knockout Tree Rose

Do you enjoy landscaping? You may want to include the Double Knockout Tree Rose in your garden then! It has a gorgeous red bloom, and the shrub grows well throughout the summer well into fall.

Height: 3 to 4 ft

Flower Color: Fire-Engine Red

Walking on Sunshine

Just like the name suggests, this rose will remind you of glowing sunshine! The flowering is rich and the fragrance is out of this world. Pruning isn’t always needed, just deadheading here and there.

Height: 4 ft

Flower Color: Bright Yellow

Yellow Sunblaze

When this one blooms, she blooms! The Yellow Sunblaze would be an exceptional addition to any rose garden: it’s busy and glossy, so it’s a fun flower to look at, as well as smell. Enjoy!

Height: 12 to 18 inches

Flower Color: Yellow

Carding Mill Shrub Rose

Here is another beautiful rose with an apricot glow to it. The blooms are double-layered and ruffled, which makes them look really bountiful. This flower will grow well in warmer climates.

Height: 4 ft

Flower Color: Apricot

Carding Mill Shrub Rose via Edmund’s roses

Now that you’ve learned more about our favorite roses for container gardening, please enjoy our other articles about roses:

  • The Best Way To Feed Roses Organically & Naturally
  • Hybrid Tea Rose: Annual Winter or Spring Pruning

Growing Roses In Containers

With the exception of large climbers, most roses can be grown successfully in containers. It is important that the container be large enough to provide ample space for the roots; also to have good drainage, good soil and a location with adequate light and air circulation. The container may be plastic or clay. Plastic fares better in cold climates where freezing may actually crack clay containers. Clay containers do provide a cooler condition for the roots during hot weather. If choosing plastic, it is better to obtain the lighter terra-cotta colour rather than the darker plastics, as they heat up faster. When met with these requirements one can grow miniatures right through roses that can attain a height and spread of up to five feet.

It is important that bush roses and small shrub roses be placed in containers no less than 15 inches in diameter. They will do well there for about two years and then will need transplanting. Roses in containers tend to deplete the soil of its nutrients more rapidly than if they were in the ground. Often they will also outgrow their containers and need a larger home. In this case one can provide the rose with a container one or two sizes up from the previous one.

To prepare a container for the rose to be planted in, place a layer about one inch deep of gravel or other medium sized rocks in the bottom of the container. This serves as drainage and prevents the soil from becoming too compressed at the bottom. Next, to prepare the soil, combine one third good quality commercial potting soil, one third well- aged garden compost (if this is not available then substitute more of the potting soil) and one third well-composted mushroom or steer manure. You may wish to add an extra cup of perlite to the mix to enhance drainage. It is beneficial to the rose to add one cup of bonemeal to the soil. To increase the nutrient level, fishmeal and bloodmeal may be added. Roses are heavy feeders, as they need fertile conditions to produce many blooms over the growing season.

Fill the container about two-thirds full with the soil mix. Place the rose, with its roots spread out comfortably, over the slightly mounded soil. Then fill in around the rose with the remaining earth. Press down gently and firmly around the protruding canes. The soil surface should be level with the bud union (where the rose is grafted onto the rootstock). If the rose seems too deep in the container or the soil level is well below the brim of the pot, repeat the planting procedure. The soil will compress somewhat with time and the entire contents will sink somewhat in the container. It is advisable to fill the container right to the top. Water so that the contents are well saturated. Containers dry out more quickly than soil in the ground; it is important to water container roses often, especially during long periods of drought and heat. A quick spot-check for dryness will determine whether a rose needs to be watered. Scratch about an inch down into the soil. If it is totally dry the rose is in need of fluid.

For health it is necessary to place the rose in a situation where it receives some moving air. Space containers about two feet apart. This will reduce the incidence of fungus-related rose diseases. A rose should also have a full day of sun, or at least seven hours.

Roses can spend their lifetime in this situation, excepting those places where the temperatures can drop dramatically over the winter months. It is advisable to move roses to a sheltered site or temporarily indoors. Finally, in spring offer roses in containers a tablespoon of epsom salts sprinkled around the base of the plant. This provides the necessary magnesium for healthy foliage. Also a kick-start of a fish emulsion feed in spring to get them off to a healthy start.
(By Andrea Grant)

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