How to grow climbing roses in pots

Written by kay dean
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How to grow climbing roses in pots
A potted climbing rose will add a splash of colour to your balcony or patio. (rsester/iStock/Getty Images)

If you love roses but don't have a garden you can still enjoy these flowers by growing them in a pot on a balcony, patio or in a conservatory. Several varieties of miniature roses grow from 1.8 to 3 metres long and can successfully be grown in a pot. As long as the plants get adequate sunlight and have a trellis, wire or frame, you can grow climbing roses. Miniature roses are easier to care for than larger varieties and you can take them with you when you move house or flat.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large container with watering saucer
  • Trowel
  • Climbing miniature rose
  • All purpose plant food
  • 2 buckets or containers
  • Peat moss
  • Good quality potting soil
  • Garden soil
  • Mulch
  • Trellis (optional)
  • Gardening gloves
  • Twine or flexible floral wire
  • Container plant food

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  1. 1

    Watch the spot where you plan to set the pot with the climbing rose. All roses, no matter what size, need lots of sunlight (at least 6 hours) each day. If they only receive sun part of the day, they do better with morning sun.

  2. 2

    Buy the miniature climbing rose and the pot for the rose. These roses generally can be found at plant nurseries or online at companies like John's Miniature Roses. Which rose you select should depend upon the size of the mature rose and the size of the pot for the rose. The pot should be at least 20 cm across to begin with; the rose can be transplanted to a larger pot later as it grows. Make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes. Keep the rose in a sunny location and watered regularly until you can transplant it to the pot.

  3. 3

    Transplant the rose at a location where there is something to catch water, like a large tub, as this procedure can get messy. Mix several tablespoons of all purpose plant food in a bucket of water. Carefully remove the rose from its container and set it into the bucket with the water/fertiliser solution; adjust the water so the roots and some of the lower part of the canes are covered. This will help the rose have fewer problems with transplant shock and settle into its new home faster.

  4. 4

    Mix equal amounts of potting soil, garden soil and peat moss in a bucket. Scoop the mixture into the pot, to about halfway full. Move the rose from the water solution into the pot and adjust the height of the soil so that the rose's bud union (the joint-like knob between the rose canes and roots) is about 6 cm below the top of the pot. Nestle the rose slightly into the soil. Mix more potting soil, peat moss and garden soil into the other bucket with the water, until it is the consistency of soup. Have someone hold the rose in place in its new pot and pour the soupy soil around the rose, until the roots are covered. Quickly finish filling the pot, alternating between potting soil and garden soil to the container until the soupy soil mixture is firmed. This step will be quite messy, as the water will begin flowing from the bottom of the drainage holes.

  5. 5

    Insert a trellis for the miniature rose to climb on; place it towards the edge of the pot to avoid damaging the plant's root system. Spread a 2.5 cm layer of mulch on top of the soil surrounding the rose and slightly covering the bud union. Set the rose's pot in a sunny location.

  6. 6

    Water the climbing rose daily for two weeks and then every other day for another two weeks. Gradually uncover the mulch from the bud union during this time. When you see the rose putting forth new growth, reduce watering to several times a week. With adequate drainage holes, the chances of over watering the rose are reduced, but don't allow the soil to stay waterlogged; it can damage the rose and cause disease. As the climbing rose grows, it will reach toward the sunlight. Adjusting the position of the pot will help the rose grow upward.

  7. 7

    Tie the canes of the miniature climbing rose lightly to the trellis as they grow, using twine or flexible floral wire. Prune the miniature rose the same as you would larger varieties and keep the soil under it cleaned from fallen leaves or petals. Apply plant food developed specifically for container-grown plants according to its directions.

Tips and warnings

  • Roses of all sizes love coffee and tea grinds and banana peels. Spoon some periodically on the soil under the rose. Dig a small hole near the rose, stick a piece of banana peel in and cover it up.
  • Miniature roses have thorns too; wear protective gardening gloves when working with them.

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