Grow Gorgeous Roses in Pots!

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Do you love the smell of roses? Do you want to be able to enjoy their beauty in your garden but rent or can’t plant them in the ground? If so, then you should consider growing roses in pots!

In this blog post, we will discuss the best way to go about growing roses in pots and containers. We will also provide some tips on how to care for your roses. So, if you are ready to learn more about planting roses in pots, keep reading!

Today we will talk about:

  • Can you grow roses in pots or containers
  • Best pots for growing container roses
  • Planting roses in pots, bare root and potted
  • How often to water roses in containers
  • Caring for roses in Pots
  • Can roses survive winter in pots and containers
  • Common problems of container roses
Graham Thomas David Austin rose,

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Can you Grow Roses in Pots or Containers?

Yes but first of all, consider the rose. You can grow any rose in a pot or container if the pot is large enough but some roses will perform better than others.

Many David Austin roses perform beautifully in pots and I have many English roses growing that way. Some were in the ground and I had to dig them up to save them from the gophers eating them to a nub.

I shared all about that in this post, and how I saved them.

Many people claim that the best roses for pots are miniature roses, groundcover roses, and smaller growing specimens but I have found most shrub roses and Hybrid Tea roses do just fine if given properly sized pots.

David Austin Rose in pot on deck

Best Pots for Roses

So that brings us to choosing the right pot – make sure it has drainage holes and is large enough to accommodate the rosebush.

Choose a container in proportion to the size of your rose—one that is large enough to accommodate the root ball while offering ample room for growth.

Generally, the larger the pot the better because the roots can go deeper, soil temperatures will remain cooler, and the soil will dry out more slowly.

Consider starting with an 18-inch wide pot for shrub or climbing roses. That is the minimum for good growth.

The downside to large pots is that they are heavy, so it’s best to place them where they will remain for the season or on wheeled stands that will allow you to move them easily if you need to.

Queen Elizabeth grandiflora rose,

Here is another nice rule of thumb but nothing is written in stone. Smaller floribundas and polyantha variety roses will do great in a 10-gallon container.

Hybrid tea roses and small to medium-sized shrub roses will prefer a 15-gallon container. Large shrub roses and climbers will like 20 to 30-gallon containers.

That being said, I have climbers in smaller-sized containers and some shrubs so experiment and see what works well for you.

Plastic and resin pots are lighter to move and usually will not shatter in extreme cold.

Terra cotta pots are heavier and can break from the freezing weather so choose well. I love terra cotta and can get away with using them as I don’t get the near-zero temps in winter, usually.

David Austin Rose Boscobel growing in a pot

Planting Roses in Pots

So you have chosen your container and made sure it has adequate drainage. Before adding good quality organic potting soil, I like EB Stones Ednas Best or my own DIY potting soil, you can add a 2-inch layer of perlite. This is optional but I have found it helps.

The best soil for roses in pots is good quality, well-draining, nutrient-dense mix. I prefer organic and the ones I have tested have been the EB Stones Ednas Best and FoxFarms Ocean Forest.

potting soil recipe

DIY Potting Soil

This article shares the DIY potting soil recipe that I use for many of my containers plants, starting my seeds and cuttings.

Add the potting soil to the pot. In this video I share with you how deep I am planting the tree rose and why.

The size of the rose and the roots on it will determine how deep you need to plant your rose in the container.

Planting Bare Root roses in Pots

If planting bare-root, don’t be afraid to trim back some of the roots to help get the rose planted into the container.

This will help stimulate new growth and vigor and won’t hurt the plant. Make sure to spread the roots out over the soil before adding more.

Bareroot tree rose

Planting a Bare Root Rose in a Pot

I show you how I plant a bare root rose in a pot or container one easy step at a time.

Planting Potted Roses in Containers

If the rose you are planting into a container is already in a pot then make sure to plant the rose at the same depth as it is in the original pot.

How Often To Water Container Roses

After planting the rose, water well. How often you will need to water your roses in pots during the growing season will depend upon many factors.

How warm and dry is your weather? Are they in the direct hot sun or do they get some shade?

My best advice for watering your roses in pots is to get a moisture meter. Test and see how moist the soil is before watering and then add water as needed.

If you have a drip system test with the moisture meter for a week or two after getting it started to see if you need to adjust the frequency or the length of time the irrigation is watering.

The timer may need to be adjusted as the summer progresses and if you get summer rains.

Caring for Roses in Pots

Rose in pots will need feeding. Watering flushes nutrients from the soil easily and to bloom well roses like good nutrition.

A good organic liquid fertilizer will help give them what they need.

Watching a gardening program years ago they toured a garden of an elderly lady that had the most gorgeous plants growing lushly in a normally harsh environment. One plant-feeding trick she said she used was called “weekly, weakly”.

That meant she fed her plants organically with a compost tea diluted every week. Most of us do not have compost tea but I have started using an organic liquid fertilizer that I feel is even better and works wonders. It is called Agrothrive. Go here to get 5% off your first order!

I make a half-strength dilution because of the frequency of application. This is a predigested product meaning it is immediately available to the plant and what is fabulous is it also feeds soil microbes for a multi-faceted benefit.

Pruning Roses in Pots

Pruning roses in pots is no different than pruning your roses growing in the garden. I have a few pruning posts on different types of roses and why I do it a little differently than most advise you to. I have an entire page of Rose Growing references you might find helpful.

Can roses survive winter in Pots?

This is another answer that varies widely according to your locale and climate conditions.

Some will say it is determined by your USDA zone and I will tell you that is not all you need to consider. See my article on Garden by Zone and what you need to think about.

If you live in a very cold winter climate area then you may need to take extra care with your potted roses.

Some roses do better in colder climates than others. In fact, many rose-selling websites, like David Austin roses and Heirloom roses will list roses that do well in colder climates.

But even then you may need to take extra care. You can insulate your pots by planting them in the ground (big job if you used large pots), or you can bring them into an unheated garage or shed after they have lost all their leaves and gone dormant.

You can also wrap the pots to create insulation and here is a great article going into all the details.

do you have a very small garden?

See how you can grow roses without taking up a lot of space!

Common Problems of Roses in Pots

Root Binding

Root binding occurs when the rose begins to outgrow the pot. The roots wrap around and around inside until they are a tangled mass and can no longer take up water and nutrients.

This especially occurs in smaller pots but is easily mitigated by repotting the rose about every 2 to 3 years.

You can pot it up to a larger-sized pot or you can dig up the rose, trim the roots back and repot with fresh soil into the same pot. This should be done while the plant is dormant.

Mineral Build Up

This can occur if your water has minerals or chemicals added to protect pipes or if you have very hard water.

Also if you use chemical fertilizers this can happen. The best way to prevent this is to make sure the potted rose gets plenty of rainwater during the wetter months. Pure rainwater flushes out any buildup.

Also, you can do the same by watering once a year to an excess. What I mean by that is to let the water fill and drain from the pot several times in one watering.

This may seem counterintuitive since you will be watering with the same municipal water that caused the problem but this works.

So now that you have a few helpful hints, will you try to grow roses in pots or containers?

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