Advantages to Growing Roses in Pots
You’ll never again lose your roses when you move! Before I started planting them in pots, I always had to decide between replacing old favorites left behind or trying new ones. This was heart-wrenching and expensive! You will rarely lose a potted rose because it’s fairly easy to spot check each one and give it the attention it needs.
Another advantage is that you can move a rose that’s struggling in too much shade to a spot where there’s more sun. You can also isolate a rose with black spot or rust to a place where you can treat it by itself and where the problem won’t spread to other roses.
Using roses in pots is a great way to spruce up bare areas of your yard or deck if you need splashes of color and fragrance. I have over 60 potted roses, but even a few make a difference.
Roses in pots dry out faster than roses planted in the ground. You have to water more often, especially if you live in an area of frequent winds or high heat.
Arranging Your Pots – Portability is the Key!
Group pots of roses by colors or varieties or by arranging them in groups of similar or contrasting shades, mixing multi-colored roses with solid colors. Group them by size and growing patterns. If you plant climbers, place the pots against a wall or railing where you can train the roses on a trellis.
Use different shapes, colors and types of pots. Place the pots with sufficient space between them to allow for trimming. Create pathways between pots that will allow you to wander through the garden and enjoy each rose up close and personal. Add mulch, rock borders and stepping stones and mix in other types of flowers and herbs for contrast. Feature the roses you especially enjoy in a place where you will always see them first!
Types of Containers
The best choices are plastic or ceramic pots. They come in different colors, shapes and even designs. Be sure there are holes for drainage or plan on drilling holes yourself. Redwood planters add variety but eventually rot. Stone pots are rustic but heavy. Whole or half oak wine barrels add interest, but you’ll need a dolly to move them.
Starting Your Rose Collection
Buying mature roses is often a luxury. Bare root roses are the most economical way to start a collection. These can be planted directly into small pots and then re-planted the following year into larger containers. Larger pots with more soil promote larger roses.
Another way to begin your collection is to take starter stems (with permission) from friends and neighbors or from your own existing roses and plant them into one-gallon plastic pots that you can obtain from a nursery. Or, keep the containers from plants you buy and recycle them to use for starters. The best time to begin starters is in the fall when the weather is cooler. Keep them well-watered (moist soil at all times) until roots form and the first leaves sprout. Re-plant in a year after the starter stem divides into at least two branches.
Caring for Your Roses
Roses thrive in full sun. Usually, watering your roses every third day is sufficient. If you live in a windy area or where it’s very hot, you may need to water every other day. If the pots are placed in an area that does not receive full sun during the day, water less frequently. During winter, placing shredded strips of newspaper around the base of the roses in the pots will protect them.
One important tip – do not plant any other types of flowers into the pots. It’s tempting to add lobelia, sweet alyssum or violas. However, competition for root space and different watering needs can kill the roses.
Use Miracle Grow liquid fertilizer twice a month. It comes in pre-mixed bottles that you attach to a sprayer screwed onto the end of your hose. Watch for aphids – hose them off with a strong burst of water or make a spray using a mixture of 1 cup of vegetable oil, 1 ½ cups of water and 2 teaspoons of dish soap. Look for for black spot, rust and mildew, depending on the season and weather patterns. There are recipes for homemade remedies, but commercial sprays from Ortho or Bayer are a good bet. Most of all, talk to your roses and give them lots of love. They will reward your attention with abundant blooms throughout the growing season!