How to Grow Roses in Containers

Planting a beautiful rose garden is a dream for many home gardeners. Unfortunately, we don't all have the room or adequate soil. Or, we have critters, such as gophers and moles, that make it impossible to keep that dream alive. Growing roses in containers may be the answer, and all it takes is a little extra care. Here's how to keep the bloom on container grown roses.

Select the container. Make sure the container is large enough for the roots to spread out. The container should also allow for good drainage and be placed in a location that provides ample sunlight and air. The container can be wood, plastic, foam, ceramic or clay. The oak whiskey half barrels are excellent for growing roses. The size of the container will also be determined by the type of rose you choose.

Choose the rose. Almost any rose can be successfully grown in containers, however the large climbers are better left to the garden. Look for fragrant roses so you can enjoy their lovely scent on your patio, balcony, deck or wherever else you place the container.

Prepare the soil. A good mixture for container roses is 1/3 good potting soil, 1/3 compost and 1/3 mushroom compost or manure. If garden compost is not available, add more potting soil. In addition, a cup of perlite can help drainage. Optional amendments to the soil are bonemeal, bloodmeal or fishmeal.

Plant the rose. The container should be filled approximately 2/3 full with the prepared potting mix. Create a small mound of soil at the center. Position the rose on top of the mound, making sure that its roots are spread out evenly. Add more of the potting mixture until the roots are covered and the soil is level with the bud union. Gently firm the soil around the rose canes. If the bud union is too low or the soil is too far beneath the pot rim, replant the rose. It is best to fill the container to the rim to allow for soil compression. Water thoroughly.

Monitor the soil moisture. Containerized roses dry out more quickly than ones grown in the garden. Check the soil daily with your finger or a moisture monitor. When watering, make sure to water the plant thoroughly until the water is flowing from the bottom of the pot. Clay containers dry out very quickly and may need water daily.

Feed the rose regularly. Container roses use the soil nutrients quickly so it is important to maintain a regular regimen of fertilization for successful blooming. Do not increase the strength of the application, but fertilize more often. Be sure to water the rose well the day before fertilizing so there is less chance of burning the tender roots.

Prune the rose and provide insect and disease control. Prune containerized roses the same way as those planted in the ground. Monitor your roses for signs of insect infestation or disease the same way also.


It is good for the rose to be situated where it will be in moving air. It helps reduce fungal diseases. A rose should also have a full day of sun, or at least 7 hours. Fertilizer recommended for roses can be found at many garden centers. Fish emulsion fertilizer is a popular and effective fertilizer.

Things You'll Need

  • Rose
  • Container
  • Garden trowel
  • Potting soil, compost and manure
  • Fertilizer for roses
  • Pruners
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