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How to Grow Roses in Pots: Expert Tips (2023)

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how to grow roses in potsIf you want to add some color and fragrance to your outdoor space, growing roses in pots is an ideal solution. Not only are they beautiful, but there is something about having roses that can make anyone feel powerful and liberated.

In fact, according to a study by the University of Michigan, those who grow flowers like roses experience greater well-being than those who don’t. If you want to learn how to grow gorgeous potted roses year after year with ease, then here are some tips from the experts.

First, choose a pot that is large enough – typically 18-24 inches wide and deep. Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging. For the soil, use a quality potting mix that contains compost or manure to provide nutrients.

When planting, create a mound in the middle of the pot so the roots have room to spread out.

Place the pot in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Roses love the sun! Make sure to water them regularly, letting the soil dry out slightly between waterings. But don’t let them totally dry out. Fertilize every 3-4 weeks during the growing season with a balanced rose fertilizer.

As the roses grow, train them up a trellis or provide plant supports. This will prevent damage from wind. It’s also important to prune regularly. In spring, cut back weak or dead stems and shape the plant.

With the right care techniques, your potted roses will thrive indoors or out. The payoff will be gorgeous, fragrant flowers that keep on blooming all season long. Growing your own roses is tremendously rewarding, bringing natural beauty right to your personal space.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose a pot with drainage holes and a width of 18-24 inches. Ensure that the pot will allow the roots to receive adequate oxygen and to avoid rot.
  • Use quality potting mix amended with compost. Select disease-resistant rose varieties to plant for best results in a container.
  • Water potted roses regularly, but allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Fertilize every 3-4 weeks during the growing season using a balanced rose fertilizer.
  • Prune potted roses lightly in spring to shape the plant and remove any dead or damaged canes. Prune again in summer, removing spent blooms and any weak growth to encourage repeat blooming.

Choose the Right Container

Choose the Right Container
When choosing containers for growing roses, the right pot is crucial for plant health and vigor. Consider material, color, size, and drainage as you select the best vessel to showcase your roses. The pot’s material affects moisture retention and temperature. Plastic and ceramic hold moisture longer while concrete and terra cotta dry out faster.

Dark colors absorb more heat. Match smaller pots to miniature roses and larger containers to fuller rose bushes, allowing adequate room for root growth. Ensure pots have drainage holes so roses don’t sit in water, which leads to diseases.

Ideal container size

You’ll need at least a 15-inch wide pot for ample root development:

  1. Use a container at least 15 inches wide and 12 inches deep for most varieties.
  2. Miniature roses can thrive in 10-12 inch pots.
  3. For climbers, go bigger – try a 20 inch pot.
  4. The container size depends on the specific rose variety and your climate.

Choosing the right material

When selecting materials, favor breathable terra cotta over decorative glazed pots for optimal rose health. Consider drainage, insulation, mobility, and material properties when deciding on the ideal rose pot.

Material Pros Cons
Terra Cotta Breathable, insulates roots Heavy, prone to cracking
Plastic Affordable, lightweight Can overheat roots
Concrete Durable, stylish Heavy, moisture issues
Wood Natural, insulating Needs sealing, decays over time

The container material impacts drainage, insulation, and plant health. Evaluating your climate, needs and rose variety helps choose the best pot.

Importance of drainage holes

Make sure your pot has drainage holes galore or your rose’s roots will be soggy and sore.

  • Allows excess water to drain, preventing root rot
  • Improves aeration for healthier roots
  • Reduces risk of mineral buildup from stagnant water
  • Makes judging water needs easier without standing water
  • Avoids waterlogged soil that stunts growth

Proper drainage is imperative for growing healthy, thriving roses in containers. Select pots with holes or drill them yourself for the ultimate protection against overwatering woes.

Select the Right Rose Variety for Containers

Select the Right Rose Variety for Containers
When selecting roses for container growing, focus on compact, repeat-blooming varieties that are naturally disease-resistant and fragrant. Miniature roses, polyantha roses, patio roses, and dwarf shrub roses all make excellent choices for pots and planters since they don’t require as much root space.


With containers limiting their reach, select roses known for fragrance to envelop your patio with sweet scents. ‘Knock Out’ shrub roses can pack whole flowerbeds with perfume, so a single potted plant can infuse a small space.

Opt for varieties such as ‘Fragrant Cloud’ and ‘Double Delight’ in containers to allow their heady aromas to transport you.

disease-resistant varieties

Choose disease-resistant rose varieties like Knockout and Drift for container growing’s tight quarters. Compact habits and continual flowering suit small spaces when selecting mildew-resistant beauties.

With proper care, these vigorous varieties thrive in containers, rewarding with carefree blooms. The are well-suited for container gardening. Their compact size and continual blooming make them an excellent choice for small spaces.

When selecting roses, look for mildew-resistant varieties. With proper care, these hardy roses will thrive in containers, providing beautiful, carefree flowers.

Compact container rose options

You’d be delighted to know three container rose varieties—Miniature Roses, Patio Roses, and Fairy Roses—thrive in small spaces, averaging just 12 to 36 inches in height. Miniature Beauties offer fragrant blooms with disease resistance in colorful compact forms, ideal for container rose care.

When choosing roses to grow in pots for delightful container gardening, look for repeat bloomers like potted roses and small shrub roses.

Consider repeat-blooming roses

Go for repeat-bloomers so your container roses keep pumping out flowers. Pruning encourages repeat blooming. Focus on consistent watering and fertilizing. Address pests promptly. Protect from extreme cold.

With care, your potted roses will reward you with continuous color and fragrance.

Prepare the Potting Soil

Prepare the Potting Soil
You’ve picked the perfect rose variety for your container garden – well done! Now it’s time to prepare that potting soil so those roses thrive.

Start with a quality potting mix like FoxFarm’s Ocean Forest. It’s got great drainage and water retention. Blend in extra perlite or vermiculite for even better aeration. Don’t use garden soil – it’ll compact over time.

Mix in some organic compost to provide the nutrients roses crave. Dry organic fertilizers like bone or fish meal work too. But take it easy – you can always add more later, but it’s hard to take away excess nutrients.

Finally, add a handful or two of worm castings. That microbiome boost will help your roses access nutrients and stay vigorous in their limited root zone.

With a stellar soil foundation and the right rose variety, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous blooms and heavenly fragrance on your patio this season. Those container-grown roses will keep flowering all summer long with proper care.

Plant the Rose

Plant the Rose
Place the rose in the middle of the pot, carefully spreading its roots before filling the soil mix. Press the soil tightly around the stem, leaving the graft union just above the dirt.

Set the pot where it’ll get 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Morning light’s ideal to dry dew from leaves, reducing fungal disease risk.

Check soil moisture daily by sticking your finger in the top few inches. Water when the top inch’s dry, gently applying at soil level rather than wetting leaves. Self-watering pots or drip irrigation works well. During the first summer, a newly potted rose may need more water as its roots establish.

Apply balanced rose fertilizer according to the package starting a month after planting. Fertilize regularly through the season. Stop fertilizing 8 weeks before your first expected frost to harden off for winter.

Remove dead or damaged canes by pruning just above outward buds. Also prune to shape or control size. Make 45 degree angle cuts just above a leaf node. Sterilize shears between each cut to prevent disease spread.

Provide Adequate Sunlight

Provide Adequate Sunlight
Make sure your beauties bask in at least 7 hours of bright sun daily for abundant blooms. Position pots where they’ll soak up the rays from mid-morning through late afternoon, turning occasionally to prevent lopsided growth.

South-facing spots are ideal. Dappled light beneath high trees won’t nourish like direct exposure.

If possible, elevate containers onto wheeled dollies or sturdy plant stands. This prevents reflected heat from hard surfaces like concrete from sizzling roots yet still captures sunshine. Where winters are frigid, boost vitamin D before the first frost with supplements like grow lights or mirrored reflectors.

During summer’s dog days, terra cotta and ceramic pots help buffer soil temperatures more than plastic. Water early so foliage dries before night to prevent diseases. And improve drainage and aeration with amendments like perlite, a pebble-like volcanic glass.

Healthy growth depends on the delicate balance between hydration and respiration. With plentiful light as the engine for photosynthesis, your roses will thrive in containers.

Water Properly

Water Properly
After ensuring your potted roses get adequate sunlight, be diligent about proper watering. Moisture management directly impacts the health and flowering of container roses. Establish an optimal watering schedule to provide consistent moisture without overwatering.

Test drainage regularly by poking a finger into the top inch of soil – water thoroughly when the top layer is dry.

Consider using drip irrigation to directly wet the root zone. Prevent fungal disease by avoiding overhead watering between 10am-6pm when water evaporates rapidly. Be vigilant during summer’s heat. Ensure the rose is not sitting in water by providing good drainage.

Follow these key tips for watering potted roses:

  • Water early morning or evening.
  • Poke finger in soil to check moisture.
  • Use drip irrigation right at roots.
  • Add mulch to retain moisture.
  • Ensure excellent drainage.

Proper watering allows your roses to thrive with minimal disease. Be attentive but don’t overwater.

Fertilize as Needed

Fertilize as Needed
You’d do well to feed your roses a balanced fertilizer every couple weeks during the growing season.

Look for organic options like fish emulsion and bone meal that provide a steady release of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – key nutrients roses need. Alternate between watering and fertilizing to prevent buildup and burn. Apply the fertilizer according to label instructions, being careful not to get any on the leaves.

Pay attention to the numbers, going for equal parts nitrogen and potassium. Feed more heavily in spring and taper off in midsummer.

With the right balance, those container-bound beauties’ll reward you with a flush of flowers and healthy green foliage.

Prune and Maintain the Rose

Prune and Maintain the Rose
Tend those beloved roses with care, as their beauty rewards your dedication. Remove spent blooms and weak, crossing canes in early spring or after flowering to promote new growth. Cut back stems above an outward facing bud at a 45 degree angle using clean, sharp bypass pruners.

Establish a rose care calendar to tackle seasonal maintenance tasks. Check weekly for common pests like aphids, spider mites, or Japanese beetles. Spray insecticidal soap or neem oil; handpick larger bugs. Before winter, stop deadheading and fertilizing.

Add insulating mulch after several hard frosts. For potted roses, move containers to an unheated garage or wrap with burlap. Enjoy planning creative container designs and plant pairings to showcase your roses.

Focus on the joys of cultivating your potted rose garden. Don’t let maintenance become a chore.

Protect From Freezing Temperatures

Protect From Freezing Temperatures

  • Cover the soil surface with 2-3 inches of loose mulch like bark, leaves, or straw to regulate soil temperature.
  • Wrap containers with horticultural fleece, burlap, or bubble wrap to protect from hard freezes.
  • Place smaller pots inside larger containers and surround with insulation like wood shavings or crumpled paper.
  • Move pots together and cover with horticultural fabric for added warmth.
  • Store roses in an unheated garage, shed, or cold frame if possible.
Avoid exposing potted roses to repeated freezing and thawing cycles. Consistent cold is better than fluctuations. With adequate protection from winter extremes, container roses can thrive season after season.

Apply winter preparations at the right time for your climate so tender roots remain unharmed when temperatures drop.

Manage Pests and Diseases

Manage Pests and Diseases
Handpick aphids early morning to avoid pest buildup. Diligent scouting allows early detection so problems don’t get out of control. Employ natural insecticidal soap or neem oil sprays for aphids before populations explode.

Maintain good air circulation around plants by proper spacing and pruning. Remove old flowers and foliage which can harbor pests and diseases.

Prune any diseased canes immediately upon noticing powdery mildew or black spot. Disinfect pruners between each cut with rubbing alcohol.

Promote plant health through proper watering, fertilization and site selection. Keep foliage dry by watering early in the day. Apply preventative fungicides labeled for roses starting early spring. Monitor weekly and reapply fungicides after rain.

Remove dropped leaves and petals to eliminate sources of fungal spores. Be vigilant yet patient – a few pests or minor fungus needn’t warrant chemicals if caught early.

Prevention through cultural practices minimizes pest and disease issues when growing roses in containers.


It’s easier than you think to add a touch of beauty to your home with roses grown in pots. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can be a master rose grower in no time.

Choose a large, tall pot with ample drainage holes and fill it with a potting soil mix of your own creation. Plant the rose, ensuring it receives at least 7 hours of direct sunlight, and water and fertilize regularly.

Select fragrant, disease-resistant, compact varieties of roses and prune to maintain shape. With proper care, you can look forward to seeing the beauty of roses in your home all year round.

So if you’re looking to bring a little extra charm to your living space, why not try growing roses in pots?

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.