How to care for an indoor rose bush

Updated February 21, 2017

Miniature rosebushes bedecked with ribbons and in full bloom make thoughtful and romantic gifts perfect for commemorating an anniversary or birthday. If you've been given a miniature rosebush, you might be wondering if you can keep it indoors. The answer is yes, but with qualifications. It's a little more challenging to maintain a rosebush indoors than to care for one in an outside garden, but it can be done. By using some techniques to provide your plant with the right temperature, light, air circulation and humidity, you can have a thriving miniature rosebush inside the house.

Remove any decorative sheet moss on top of the soil and re-pot your rosebush in a container 5 cm (2 inches) bigger than its current pot. Many mini rosebushes are sold in pots that are too small for them. You want the pot to be big enough so the roots can grow but not so big that water will stay in the soil and cause root rot. Make sure the new container has holes in the bottom for drainage and an overflow dish underneath. Use good-quality potting soil.

Fill the overflow dish halfway up with clean pebbles. This helps to keep air around plant moist but prevents it from sitting in water.

Select a spot for your rosebush that offers plenty of sunlight, cool temperatures and good air circulation. If you can put it near a south window in a cool room with a ceiling fan, you have provided the essential elements your plant needs to thrive. Watch for leaves yellowing and falling off, a sign of insufficient light. You may need to augment the sunlight with fluorescent bulbs.

Lift up the plant and feel in the soil every few days to see if your mini rosebush needs water. If the container feels light and the top inch of soil is dried out, water generously and allow the water to run out the bottom drainage holes.

To provide the humidity that your rosebush so desperately needs, spray it with a mister every day. Watch for leaves drying up and falling off, a sign that the air is too dry. Dry conditions can also encourage spider mites on your rosebush.

To promote blooming, fertilise your indoor rosebush every month using a balanced houseplant fertiliser. To make the soil more acidic and rosebush friendly, spread some fresh coffee grounds across the surface.

Prune buds and dead leaves as soon as you notice them and watch for whitish spots -- signs of powdery mildew -- as well as black spots on leaves, a sign of the black spot fungus that attacks roses. Both of these diseases can be controlled by spraying with a mixture made of 1 tsp of baking soda and a few drops of vegetable oil added to a quart of water.

As soon as it gets warm outside, give your mini rosebush a vacation from indoor conditions by putting it outside on a patio where it can get morning sun. If your rosebush is not thriving inside, consider transplanting it into your garden.


If your rosebush drops all its leaves during winter, help it to go dormant by placing it in a cold room until March, then trimming dead stems and placing in a sunny spot.

Things You'll Need

  • Houseplant pot with dish
  • Potting soil
  • Clean pebbles
  • Fluorescent bulbs (optional)
  • Spray mister
  • Balanced houseplant fertiliser
  • 1/2 cup of fresh coffee grounds
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Vegetable oil (optional)
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