Growing Roses in Pots: Easy Step-by-Step Container Guide

Roses are a beautiful, versatile group of plants from the Rosaceae family. Some types of roses grow well in pots, making them ideal for smaller gardens. So anyone can enjoy these fabulously fragrant and colorful flowers. In this article, I’ll explain how to grow roses in pots and containers.

How to Grow Roses in Pots and Containers

Can Roses Grow in Pots?

Most roses (Rosa spp.) have long taproots to anchor them in the soil and search for water and nutrients. This means that many roses, such as rambling roses, are unsuitable for growing in pots. However, some types of roses have been bred to be more suitable for growing in pots.

Best Rose Varieties for Growing in Containers

A small potted pink rose plant sits atop a wooden table

Use compact rose varieties such as miniature or patio roses for small or medium containers. These varieties have been bred specifically to have smaller root systems. You can also grow ground-cover roses in pots as they will trail over the side, creating an attractive display.

If you have a large pot, Polyantha roses work well. These varieties are shorter than many other roses and produce clusters of tiny flowers. Repeat-blooming roses throughout summer are ideal for containers, especially in small gardens.

Here are some of the most beautiful miniature or patio roses to grow in pots:

  • Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’
  • Rosa ‘Nice Day’
  • Rosa ‘Robin Redbreast’
  • Rosa ‘Stars ‘n’ Stripes’
  • Rosa ‘Sweet Dream’

The Best Types of Containers for Roses

It’s best to use a relatively large, deep pot when growing roses in containers. This gives your rose plenty of room to spread out its roots. Large pots hold more soil, which helps retain more moisture and nutrients.

Choose a pot that’s at least 15 inches wide and deep enough to accommodate the rootball. Clay or ceramic pots are ideal because they’re durable. Avoid wooden containers as they can get damaged easily. Always choose a pot that has some drainage holes.

Suitable Growing Zones for Potted Roses

Flowering potted rose plants bloom in a garden setting

Most roses grow well in USDA Zones 4 to 10. However, potted roses are better suited to Zones 5 to 9 because they need moderate temperatures. Potted roses dry out more quickly and are more vulnerable to cold temperatures than roses growing in the ground.

Where to Position Potted Roses

Potted roses need a sheltered spot that protects them from strong or cold winds. Roses growing in containers need approximately six to eight hours of full sun daily. East or south-facing aspects are ideal because these areas provide direct sun in the morning rather than the afternoon.

Soil Requirements for Roses in Containers

Like all roses, potted roses need rich, well-draining soils that still retain some moisture. Loamy potting mixes are ideal because they’re nutrient-rich and balance drainage and moisture retention well.

Clay soil also works well if you mix fine grit, perlite, or sand to improve drainage. Add plenty of compost to provide extra nutrients if you have sandy soil.

How to Plant Roses in Containers

Pink roses flowers bloom from a potted container attached to a building

Planting roses in containers correctly gives these beautiful plants the best chance of success. Here’s a quick guide explaining how to plant roses in containers:

  1. Choose a ceramic, clay, or terracotta pot that’s at least 15 inches wide. Make sure that the pot has drainage holes.
  2. Add some crocks or large stones to the bottom of the pot. This keeps the drainage hole from getting clogged with soil.
  3. Fill approximately two-thirds of the pot with a fertile, well-draining soil mix that still holds some moisture. Add a dose of slow-release fertilizer to provide an initial burst of nutrients.
  4. If you’re planting a bare-root rose, make a little mound with the soil before planting.
  5. Gently loosen your rose’s roots before placing it into the container.
  6. Carefully fill in around your rose with more soil. Firm the soil down with your hands to remove any air pockets. If you’re using a bare-root rose, ensure the graft between the stem and the roots is just above the soil.
  7. Water your rose thoroughly to help it acclimatize to its new pot.

Caring for Potted Roses

Once you’ve planted your rose in its container, you’ll need to care for it. Potted plants can dry out quickly, so water your potted rose at least once a week. In hot, dry summers, you may have to water every couple of days.

Like other roses, potted roses need lots of nutrients to produce their best flowers. During the growing season, fertilize potted roses weekly with liquid fertilizer. Always dilute the fertilizer according to the packet instructions.

If you’re growing miniature or patio roses, you shouldn’t need to prune them. You may need to deadhead your rose throughout the growing season to remove spent flowers. However, many cultivars are self-cleaning and may not need deadheading.

Overwinter Care for Potted Roses

Potted roses growing in warmer areas shouldn’t need any extra winter protection. However, in colder areas, apply a thick layer of mulch in the fall. To protect your rose from harsh winter conditions, wrap the pot in fleece or move it into a greenhouse.

How to Grow Roses in Pots and Containers FAQs:

What is the Best Potting Mix for Roses in Pots?

Potted roses need a rich, well-draining potting mix that still holds some moisture. A loamy potting mix is ideal, as do many commercial mixes.

Do Roses Grow Well in Pots?

Some types of roses grow well in pots, including miniature roses and patio roses. Ground cover roses and Polyantha roses also grow well in containers.

Do Roses Need Deep or Wide Pots?

Roses need pots that are reasonably deep and wide, as these plants have long taproots. Choose a pot at least 15 inches wide with plenty of depth.

Wrapping Up

Potted roses are easy to grow and care for, especially if you choose miniature or potted roses. Position potted roses in sheltered areas that receive full sun. Choose pots that are at least 15 inches wide and have drainage holes. Use a fertile, well-draining soil mix that still holds some moisture.

For more, see our in-depth guide to whether roses are toxic to cats, whether roses will bloom indoors, and how to press roses at home.

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