Rose bushes make wonderful additions to the garden, especially through the summer months when they start to produce their show of colourful and sometimes fragrant blooms.
A lot of these varieties are fantastic for growing in pots and containers which means they can be grown in even the smallest of gardens, and even on the patio.
If outdoor space is limited for you then growing roses in pots is ideal so keep reading our guide and discover how to plant roses in pots and keep them healthy and thriving.
How to Plant Roses in Pots
Choosing a Rose
Avoid planting large shrub roses and rambling or climbing roses in pots. These tend to have deep root systems so the pot would have to be extremely large to accommodate the growth.
For the best success, opt for miniature varieties or patio roses. These have a compact growth habit and are usually hardy and disease-resistant while still producing an abundance of blooms. While there are vast amounts of rose bushes out there, not all will thrive when grown in a container so it’s vital that you choose the correct one.
Choosing a Pot and Planting
Another way to improve drainage is to add a layer of gravel to the base of the pot before planting.
Always choose a deep pot to accommodate the root growth and ensure that it has good drainage. Check the base of the pot for drainage holes, if there aren’t any then you can drill your own in.
Use a high-quality soil mixture by combining a potting soil with some compost or well-rotted manure for extra richness and nutrients. We recommend using something like John Innes no.3 which loam based and perfect for long term container growing.
Avoid planting into a compost that already contains granular feed or fertiliser as this can burn the roots.
Plant your bare root rose bushes throughout November and container rose bushes anywhere between October and April.
To plant your rose bush:
- Remove your rose bush from it’s container and loosen the roots slightly.
- Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your chosen pot.
- Add compost to the pot and place the rose in, add more compost to fill in the edges and press firmly.
- Water well to allow the roots to become accustomed to the new soil.
When rose bushes are left to dry out they can fall victim to powdery mildew. Water regularly and keep the compost slightly moist but never wet or sitting in water.
Producing blooms takes a lot of energy meaning rose bushes need a lot of sunlight. We recommend choosing a location in the garden where it can get at least half a day's worth of good sunlight. Be wary in summer as the compost may dry out more quickly in the sun.
Rose Plant Care in Pots
Once you’ve planted your rose bush in a pot keeping it healthy with good aftercare is important. Keep reading for our top tips on how to look after roses in pots.
Keep an eye on the compost to make sure that it never becomes waterlogged. This is especially important in the winter. To help increase drainage you can try standing the pots up on bricks or feet to allow water to drain away freely.
With no other access to a water supply, compost in pots can dry out very quickly. If you notice the compost is starting to dry, give the pot a good soak and let the excess water drain. Making blooms is thirsty work!
Like with the water, container grown roses have no other access to important nutrients which can be used up quickly in the growing season. For the first year stick to a balanced liquid rose feed according to the instructions. Thereafter you can add a layer of granular rose feed to the topsoil.
Feed for the first time in spring and then regularly throughout the summer growing season after each flush of blooms. Avoid feeding after August or at least 8 weeks before the frost. This ensures there is no new soft growth to be damaged in early autumn.
Add a layer of well rotted manure or compost to the topsoil to help enrich with nutrients and retain the moisture levels.
If you do not plant to repot your rose further then it is recommended to top dress the soil with fresh compost. To do this, remove the top 5cm of soil from the pot and add new.
To keep the rose at an optimum size for your pot, prune the roots when needed. This will keep your bush
Keep your rose healthy by pruning as you regularly would the others in the garden. Remove spent blooms by deadheading, pruning for size, shape and to keep pests at bay.
If you notice that your rose is looking a little lacklustre and the amount of blooms produced has decreased then it might be time to repot to a large container or look into pruning the roots. If you plan to keep repotting, always choose a pot bigger than the last and aim to repot every 2-3 years.