There are a number of good reasons to grow roses in containers. Growing roses and how you do it is a personal matter of what your needs may be for producing healthy plants and fine blooms. So lets take a look at why we might want to grow roses in a container.

Here in Michigan our rose growing season is curtailed by a winter that last too long and a Spring that is too long in coming. Look at the Spring of `97. It was cold and not conducive to giving our garden roses a good start until mid-May with blooms that did not come for at least a month after that. If your roses had been in containers, you could have slid them out from cover for the warmer days and protected them from the night frosts by returning them to their protection for the evenings. Using this method, your roses would have bloomed at least 2-3 weeks earlier than your garden planted varieties because the soil warms up quicker in containers.

If you order your roses bare root from mail order nurseries, you can start your roses in containers and keep them there until they are ready to bloom, giving you a much better idea of what kind of plant you are going to have and if it is going to be a successful plant of a particular variety. Too many times we plant a particular species in our garden only to find out half way through the growing season that we have planted a runt. Every variety of roses has them. The ones that do not live up to the characteristics of the species you are trying to grow. Growing a rose in a container allows you to preview it before it gets a permanent location in your garden.

If you have a rose that is not living up to expectations, you might want to consider transplanting it to a container where you can monitor it more closely and give it a better chance to be successful. Sickly plants will respond better to warm soil and personal attention.

Finally if you have a rose that you just love but find it very winter tender, growing it in a container may be just the ticket. Roses such as John F. Kennedy, Princess de Monaco, Las Vegas and Color Magic and others can be stored and protected in a garage or shed for the winter and kept away from the harsh cold temperatures and winds. Even though the facility may reach freezing temperatures, it will still offer protection to the container rose. There is very little die back on a rose that has been stored for the winter season, consequently you get a larger and healthier plant in the Spring. The only requirement here is that you keep the plant watered about once a month to prevent dehydration.

These are only a few of the reasons you might want to consider growing a rose in a container. I'm sure there are more reasons I haven't mentioned. As I said in the beginning, it is a personal matter to meet your individual need. A container grown rose in Michigan will out perform the garden planted rose in producing bountiful blooms. If you attempt only one as a trial, I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised at your success.


Materials Required

1. Containers - Permanent 6 Gallon minimum

2. Styrofoam blocks- I like blocks better than pills because of neatness and they are

3. Soil Mixture of dirt, compost and aged manure (if available)

Planting Process

1. Place Styrofoam blocks in bottom of container to provide for water drainage.

2. Fill container with enough soil to put the bud union even with rim of the container.

3. Place the rose and root ball in container and fill in sides careful not to damage root ball. Fill soil to within 2-3 inches of the rim. Do not fill to top as we want to

4. Tamp down lightly and water.


1. Place container rose in sunny location.

2. Monitor daily and keep well watered as containers will dry out quicker than our garden.

3. Feed with a water soluble fertilizer at half strength weekly or full strength every two weeks. You may also use a granular fertilizer here if you like on fully developed roses.

4. When prepping the rose for Winter, allow the plant to go dormant before bringing into shelter. This will require exposing rose to several heavy frosts. If necessary, plant can be pruned for space consideration, but only prune what is absolutely essential.

5. Rose can be kept in unheated garage or shed, even if temperatures fall below the freezing mark.

6. Watering will be required every 1-2 months. Do not allow plant to dry out.

7. In the Spring, the container may be brought outside for daytime sunshine and heat.

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