How to Care for a Rose Standard in a Pot

Updated April 17, 2017

Rose standards add a depth and height to your garden. They are typically called tree roses and are formed when rose bushes are grafted onto a small, upright trunk. Rose standards are particularly susceptible to cold and frost, so planting them in pots gives you the means to protect them during the winter. Pots are also good for gardens with limited space and those with poor soil quality and water drainage. Tree roses are delicate and take some attention, but with knowledge on how to care for the plant they will flourish and bring beauty to your garden.

Buy a pot with a minimum diameter of 18 inches to allow roots to spread. Make sure the pot has a hole or holes in the bottom for drainage. The best pots for a rose standard are porous terra cotta pots, because they provide air circulation to the roots. Plastic or fibreglass containers are also good to use and are lightweight, which makes the plant easier to move.

Plant the rose standard in a potting mix, or a mix of topsoil and organic compost. Place a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch on the top to retain moisture. If the tree is top heavy, stake the trunk to keep it upright.

Water the plants every day in dry weather. Since pots drain faster than soil in the ground, special attention needs to be paid to these plants. Soak the soil slowly and be careful not to splash leaves with water to prevent disease.

Fertilise two or three times a year for best performance. The frequent water needs of potted rose standards means that the fertiliser leaks out more quickly. Apply new fertiliser in the early spring and early and late summer to promote growth.

Prune when the plant is dormant in the early spring. Remove any damaged or diseased wood and leaves and cut back any weak offshoots. If there is a shoot pointing in a direction that you do not like, cut that off as well. Flower pruning depends on the type of rose bush you have on your rose standard. For single flowering rose trees, prune after flowering. For repeat flowering rose trees cut off the branch tips that have the old blooms on them every one to two weeks to promote growth.

Bring the rose standard pot inside before the first frost and store in a cool basement or garage until frost season is over. The tree rose is in greater danger during the winter because of its exposed high graft point. You may also wrap burlap around the tree starting from the base and rising to cover the graft.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Rose standard
  • Potting mix
  • Fertiliser
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About the Author

Sarah Morse has been a writer since 2009, covering environmental topics, gardening and technology. She holds a bachelor's degree in English language and literature, a master's degree in English and a master's degree in information science.