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Container Gardening with Roses

Container gardening is a very rewarding way to grow roses, bringing the beauty and fragrance of roses into our most intimate outdoor spaces and right up to eye level. Potted roses can be enjoyed in just about any sunny location: on a deck, terrace, patio or roof garden. They are a great option for anyone with limited garden space, poor soil or drainage problems, or apartment-bound gardeners. Growing roses in containers is also a practical way to evaluate plant combinations before actually planting roses in the ground.

As long as all other growing requirements are met, roses can live quite happily in pots for years. This means a large enough pot (1/2 barrels are a great choice) and a quality potting soil/compost mix. Roses planted in pots do have additional care requirements, namely extra watering and fertilizing. Otherwise, pruning and insect/disease control are the same as for roses in the landscape.

Not every rose is for containers; climbing roses and larger shrubs roses should be avoided. Fragrant, compact, disease-resistant varieties with continual bloom will perform best. It’s beneficial to repot every 2-3 years to refresh the soil and root prune if you’re trying to keep the plant smaller. Also, if you notice decreased bloom, it’s time to transplant to a larger container.

Place your potted rose on a wheeled platform for extra convenience and display opportunities. It also makes winter protection easier; simply wheel into a garage or shed during cold snaps. Containers may also be mulched, wrapped with burlap, and placed against the side of a building for winter protection.

Roses in Containers

Many rose varieties are suitable for growing in pots, as individual specimens or in mixed containers. Architectural plants like Dracaena or New Zealand Flax compliment the softer texture of roses. Trailing accents can help camouflage the bare lower branches of hybrid teas. Always maintain good air circulation around roses when planting mixed containers; disease-resistant roses will be the most successful.

What Container Should I Use?

Choosing a container can be just as overwhelming as selecting the rose to go in it! 

  • Use pots with drainage holes (plastic or fiberglass pots may have tabs you can pop out for drainage; use a masonry bit to drill drainage holes in ceramic pots) 
  • Roses have deep roots, taller pots work best (at least 10”)
  • Dark-colored pots attract heat, will need more water

Choices include:

  • Wood:  works well, but may deteriorate over time
  • Terra Cotta:  porous, good for air circulation but dry out faster
  • Plastic:  lighter weight, good for moving temporary roses around; may tip over in wind if too small a pot is used
  • Fiberglass:  decorative/heavier than plastic, lighter than clay
  • Glazed Ceramic or Concrete: heavy and long-lasting, great for more permanent plantings

Roses for Container Gardening

Please note that this list does not imply stock availability.  It is intended for your information only.

Smaller Miniature Roses
(up to 18” tall, minimum 10” deep container)

  • Baby Betsy McCall (lt. pink)
  • Baby Masquerade (red)
  • Cinderella (white)
  • Fireworks (red blend)
  • Galaxy (dark red)
  • Halo Sweetie (coral/salmon)
  • Hoot 'n' Holler (red blend)
  • Lavender Jewel (mauve)
  • Little Emma (med. yellow)
  • Little Linda (light yellow)
  • Millie Walters (orange-pink)
  • Peter Pan (medium red)
  • Rise 'n' Shine (med. yellow)
  • Ruby Ruby (medium red)
  • Secret Recipe (red blend)
  • Sheri Anne (orange-red)
  • Simplex (white)
  • Special Friend (lt. pink)
  • Spice Drop (orange-pink)
  • Spotlight (orange blend)
  • Striped Delight (red blend)
  • Sweet Sue (lt. pink)
  • Tom Thumb (red blend)
  • Y2K (deep yellow)

Larger Miniature/Patio Roses
(18-24" tall, minimum 12" deep container)

  • Avon (white)
  • Charmant (med. red/pink)
  • Coffee Bean (red blend)
  • Daddy's Little Girl (pink)
  • Dancing Flame (yellow blend)
  • Fairhope (light yellow)
  • Irresistible (white)
  • Kristin (red blend)
  • My Sunshine (med. yellow)
  • Pretty Jessica (deep pink)
  • Regensberg (pink blend)
  • Rosy Future (deep pink)
  • Scarborough Fair (lt. pink)
  • Stars 'n' Stripes (red blend)
  • Sunny Day (deep yellow)
  • Sweet Caroline (red blend)
  • Queen's London Child (mauve)
  • Top Marks (orange-red)
  • Wing-Ding (medium red)
  • Wonderful News (red)
  • X-Rated (pink blend)

Floribunda / Smaller Shrub Roses
(2-3' tall, minimum 15" deep container)

  • Alfred de Dalmas (lt. pink)
  • Ambridge Rose (apricot)
  • Angel Face (mauve)
  • Carefree Beauty (med. pink)
  • Cécile Brunner (lt. pink)
  • Christopher Marlowe (or-red)
  • Clotilde Soupert (white blend)
  • Country Dancer (deep pink)
  • Cream Abundance (white)
  • Desireé (pink blend)
  • Dove (lt. pink)
  • English Miss (lt. pink)
  • Escapade (mauve/pink blend)
  • Floorshow Roses
  • French Lace (white)
  • Happy Child (med. yellow)
  • Judy Garland (yellow blend)
  • Lady Elsie May (orange-pink)
  • Laura (pink blend)
  • Mary Magdalene (pink blend)
  • Midnight Blue (mauve)
  • Nathalie Nypels (med. pink)
  • Petal Pushers (lt. pink)
  • Prairie Sunrise (apricot)
  • Red Cascade (dark red)
  • Red Fairy (medium red)
  • Remembrance (medium red)
  • Saratoga (white)
  • Sexy Rexy (med. pink)
  • Sister Elizabeth (pink)
  • Sunny Abundance (yellow)
  • Sunrise at Heirloom (or-red)
  • Symphony (light yellow)
  • Tamora (apricot)
  • The Fairy (lt. pink)
  • The Fawn (med. pink)
  • The Poet (deep yellow)
  • The Prince (dark red)
  • The Shepherdess (apricot)
  • The Soham Rose (lt. pink)
  • Tranquility (lt. pink)
  • Unicef (orange blend)

Hybrid Teas / Shrub Roses
(3-4' tall, minimum 18-22" deep container)

  • Awareness (deep pink)
  • Baby Love (med. yellow)
  • Ballerina (med. pink)
  • Benjamin Britten (orange-red)
  • Betty Boop (red blend)
  • Blueberry Hill (mauve)
  • Bonica (med. pink)
  • Brandy (apricot)
  • Carefree Delight (pink blend)
  • Cinco de Mayo (red blend)
  • Color Magic (orange blend)
  • Crystalline (white)
  • Dainty Bess (lt. pink)
  • Danny Boy (dark red)
  • Deep Secret (dark red)
  • Elle (pink/orange blend)
  • Fair Bianca (white)
  • Grace (apricot)
  • Julia Child (med. yellow)
  • Kateryna (med. pink)
  • Knockout (red blend)
  • Lady Mitchell (med. red)
  • Louise Clements (orange)
  • Midas Touch (deep yellow)
  • Mister Lincoln (dark red)
  • Molineux (deep yellow)
  • Neptune (mauve)
  • Nicole (white/pink blend)
  • Peace (yellow blend)
  • Perfume Delight (pink)
  • Precious Platinum (med. red)
    Prospero (dark red)
  • Red Ribbons (dark red)
  • Rose de Rescht (deep pink)
  • Royal Highness (lt. pink)
  • Sophy's Rose (red blend)
  • Tequila Sunrise (red blend)
  • Wife of Bath (pink blend)
  • Wildeve (pink blend)

Ceramic Pots for Roses

Ceramic Pots for Roses

Peter Pan Rose

Peter Pan
(Miniature)

Peter Pan Rose

My Sunshine
(Miniature)

Peter Pan Rose

Tamora
(Shrub Rose, David Austin®)

Peter Pan Rose

Perfume Delight
(Hybrid Tea)