Everything you need to know about keeping roses in containers, our top 3 bush roses, patio miniature, ground cover, patio climbing and patio rambling roses for pots.
1 – What’s better for a rose, the ground or a container?
2 – How best to plant in a container
3 – General care for roses in containers
4 – Bush roses for containers
5 – Ground cover roses for containers
6 – Patio miniature roses for containers
7 – Patio climbing roses for containers
8 – Small Rambling roses for containers
9 – Transplanting roses from containers into the ground
1. What’s better, planting roses in the ground or in a container?
The answer to this question really depends on you, the truth is that your ground and healthy soil is a huge resource for your roses. They can reach water and nutrients deep in the soil by themselves, and don’t need to rely on you for their every need. Equally, they will never become pot-bound in the soil. Roses can spread their roots far and wide without reaching any barrier which will restrict their health and growth. So, if you’re the type of gardener who wants an easy life, then we would recommend planting your roses in the ground, they have more chance of survival if they’re ever left neglected for a few weeks while you’re on holiday or busy with work. However, all is not lost for those of us who don’t have the luxury of big gardens and sprawling ground to plant our roses in. If you have a small patio garden, poor soil or even just a little balcony, then there is hope for you to have beautiful, fragrant roses too. There are even some perks to growing roses in pots! You just have to work a little harder to keep them happy and blooming all season.
2. Tips and Tricks for Planting Roses in Pots
Life in a pot for roses isn’t all bad, they can live long and fruitful lives in containers as long as they are well cared for. The first thing to think about is size. Roses’ roots are very deep and they are extremely greedy plants, they need a lot of water and feed in order to create their beautiful blooms. That means, the bigger the pot the better. A bigger pot will hold more water and feed, and your rose won’t suffer if you miss out on the odd rose-care day. So what size are we talking about? The minimum size that we always recommend is 18 inches wide by 18 inches deep (46cmx46cm), and I repeat, that is the minimum size! As we go through the different types of roses that grow well in pots, we will give the appropriate measurements for the variety. The pot will need drainage holes, as roses don’t like to sit in water or damp soil for too long. Now, once you’ve chosen the right pot, you’ll want to fill it with the best and most nutritious compost. This is a fundamental step in container-grown roses, they need soil that is rose specific, and which will give the rose all the basic minerals that it needs.
Our recommendations for compost are:
All three are available to purchase at our nursery, but if you’re not local then follow the link to buy them online.
3. How to care for roses in pots:
Once you’ve got your rose potted up in its new home it will start to grow on and settle into the pot. To keep your rose flourishing and in good health, you’ll need to take some quick and easy steps. The two key ingredients to a happy rose are water and feed. During the summer months especially, roses in pots will need to be watered very thoroughly a few times a week, and you should feed with a rose specific food.
These are the options we would recommend for feeding roses in containers:
A liquid foliar feed that you spray directly onto the leaves, this is the fastest way to feed your roses and works well in giving them an immediate boost of energy to fight off common diseases and put on strong, healthy growth
Mix this with water and pour it around the base of the plant, this will be sucked up through the roots of the rose and will provide the right nutrients and minerals to keep your rose healthy.
Sprinkle this around the base of your roses and then pour water over the top, the granular feed takes longer to break down than the liquid feeds but once it does it will give your rose the right mix of nutrients to keep it in full health.
After a few years, the rose might seem to lose some of its earlier gusto, and you’ll notice it might not be flowering quite so often and may have become more susceptible to diseases like blackspot, mildew or rust. This means the rose may have become pot-bound and will need to either replace some of the soil with fresh compost or move the rose into a bigger pot. If a bigger pot isn’t an option, wait until winter has come and the rose has lost its summer leaves. Take it out of the pot, remove some of the old soil and pack in some nice, fresh compost. This will give your rose the boost it needs to keep on flowering and looking healthy.
4. Best Bush Roses for Containers
Pot size recommended: 45cm x 45cm minumum
All bush roses will grow in pots, but some will work much better than others. The rule is generally that the smaller and more modern a bush rose, the better it will work in a pot. Here are our recommendations of roses that will thrive when situated in pots:
Blue for you is a beautiful floribunda rose, it has an abundance of mid-sized flowers in a range of shades of blue, lilac and mauve. This colourful rose has a white centre which is complemented by a bright yellow stamen. Not only do we love this rose, but it’s also irresistible to the bees, who can easily pop in and collect some pollen from the open blooms. If you’re not already captivated by this gorgeous rose, then we’ll add that it’s beautifully fragrant too. It has been said that the flowers smell like lemon sherbert, sweet and strong. It has compact, bushy growth which makes it perfect for a pot.
An aptly named rose, meaning ‘Joy of Life’, this lovely plant brings plenty of joy to those who have one in their garden. It certainly has a classic look to it, and it became very popular after winning the 2011 Rose of the Year award. It is extremely disease resistant and has beautiful glossy leaves that are dark green. It has compact, bushy growth and medium-sized but very full peach to pale pink blooms. No fragrance, but truly one of the easiest roses to grow in a container.
The name speaks for itself, another Rose of the Year winner, this stunning rose was introduced in 2010. Its brilliant disease resistance and unique fragrance made it an instant hit among rose growers. The buttercup yellow blooms are complemented by its glossy foliage, and its ability to repeat and repeat and repeat all through the season make it a customer favourite. Again, its growth is compact and bushy which means it sits beautifully in a container without becoming long, weak and leggy.
5. Best Ground Cover Roses for Containers
Pot size recommended: 40cm x 40cm minimum
Although not the first group of roses that comes to mind, ground covers can work very well in pots as they are naturally very disease resistant and prolific flowerers. As their growth is long and can grow in trusses, their arching growth can weep over the side of pots to create a pleasant effect.
This plant is repeatedly covered in small, semi-double flowers of pure white with a yellow stamen. It’s wonderfully healthy and seems to resist all common diseases that get the best of other roses. It has a long flowering season and can continue through the summer and into autumn with flushes of lovely white flowers. It grows wonderfully in a container, and will require less attention and care than other more difficult roses.
A true favourite of ours, Lancashire is a real show-stopping rose. It carries a mass of cherry red roses on long trusses which repeat nicely throughout the season. In a container, Lancashire will weep over the side of the pot which can add something a little different to your garden. Its height is only around 30cm, but it can reach 90cm or more in width.
The flower carpet roses are one of the most versatile, useful varieties that you can find. They are wonderfully hardy and disease resistant and are definitely a great beginner rose. They are extremely free-flowering, and their flowering season stretches on well into Autumn. Along with all of these wonderful attributes, they also grow well in a container. All of the Flower carpet roses will grow well in pots, the pink just happens to be our favourite.
6. Best Patio Miniature Roses for Containers
Pot size recommended: 40cm x 40cm minimum
Patio miniatures are a wonderful option for pots, due to their dense and bushy growth that doesn’t reach more than a couple of feet, they tend to work better in pots than other varieties. Here are some of our recommendations:
This has to be our favourite patio miniature, it is adorned with delicate, light pink double blooms that come out in clusters and last well. The precious pink petals contrast beautifully with its dark and glossy foliage, which holds up well against common diseases. Patio miniatures are a great fit for containers as they only reach around 60cm in height and width, they sit beautifully in a pot and don’t tend to have issues with smaller spaces for their roots.
This enchanting little rose is exactly as its name suggests, carefree and easy! It produces hundreds of small, double Fuschia blooms right through the season and stays healthy and happy without requiring too much attention. It looks like a classic pink rose, just shrunk down to miniature size! Definitely, a must-have for a patio or courtyard garden, it will bring plenty of colour to a space.
For those of you that like a dramatic splash of colour in the garden, Wildfire is the rose for you. Its spectacular, flame orange flowers smother the plant in a blaze of orange! The growth is compact and dense, with glossy dark green foliage. It’s definitely a showstopper, so if you only have space for one rose in a tub then this is the one!
7. Best Patio Climbers for Containers
Pot size recommended: 50cm x 50cm minimum
Patio Climbers are a special new variety of rose that has given those of us with small gardens a few more options for climbing roses in pots! They have all the characteristics of full-size climbers, only they don’t get to such huge heights and spreads. This means that they fit in perfectly in a smaller garden, across an arch or arbour, or growing over a fence. Here are our top 3:
This new variety has really blown us away, it’s a really versatile, useful rose that would fit perfectly into a small garden or patio. It has small, open blooms that are wonderful for attracting bees into your garden. The blooms are lilac and cover the plant repeatedly all season. Another attractive aspect of this rose is that it’s practically thornless, so great for avoiding accidents! As with a lot of modern varieties, the health and disease resistance of this rose are truly unbeatable. If you’re sick of dealing with blackspot, mildew and other common ailments then this is a great option. Height 2.4m by 1.8m.
As the name suggests, this rose is a real customer favourite as it truly does perform in your garden. Its flowers are like miniature hybrid tea, perfect small tea-cup blooms in satin pink which sit against polished green leaves. It can reach up to 3 metres with a 2-metre spread, making it a great option for climbing up an arch or wall. Its best quality has to be its ability to repeat, repeat, repeat, providing you with ample amounts of flowers and a wonderful burst of colour.
Another wonderful patio climber, Laura Ford is for all you lovers of yellows and reds. Its blooms are small and loosely double, and they adorn the rose all through the season. It’s something of a show-stopper, as the hints of red really stand out against the deep yellow blooms. Will reach around 2 and a half metres, and spread one and a half. Certainly, an option if you’re looking for something a little different.
8. Rambling Style Roses in Containers
Pot size recommended: 50cm x 50cm minimum
If you’re looking for that country, cottage style in your garden but don’t have the space for a twenty-foot rambler, then there are some options for more manageable roses with that classic rambling look:
Beautiful, semi-double flowers spread over the whole plant with a range of soft and pale pinks. Their bright yellow stamens bring a lovely pop of colour against the delicate pink petals. A truly wonderful rose, its leaf is dark and glossy and its growth is dense and similar to that of a full rambler. This rose will only reach 3m, so it’s great with support or up a low fence.
As the name suggests, this gorgeous rose is just like its 20 ft counterparts, but it will reach only around 3m. It has small, double flowers of pale pink that fade to white and create a superb display through the summer. Its little flowers may be small, but they pack a fragrant punch that will fill your garden with a sweet scent on balmy summer evenings. If you’re looking for that classic country cottage rose, but don’t have the space for a full rambler, then this is perfect for you.
Perennial Blush or Perennial Blue
These two wonderful roses are a real hit at our nursery, they are almost identical in appearance and growth but their blooms are different shades. Perennial Blush bears pale pink blooms which fade to white whereas Perennial Blue has similar, double blooms in a wine-purple colour. Both are beautifully fragrant, healthy and compact in growth (reaching around 3m). A great option for going up an arch, with one of each colour on either side.
9. Transplanting Roses from Containers into the Ground
A common question for those who keep roses in containers is this: can I transplant them into the ground after years in a pot? The answer is yes, but it can be a little bit tricky for the rose after spending so much time adapting to life in a container. First things first, wait until the rose has gone dormant to transplant it, this means when all the leaves have dropped off in winter and there is no sign of life. Take your rose out of the pot and you’ll see that all of its roots have become tightly bound in the shape of the pot, this is what will stop the rose from taking off into its full health. Don’t expect your rose to spring into life as soon as it’s in the ground, it will take time for the plant to adjust to its new surroundings and it may need a bit of extra care for the following season. As always, water and feed are the two most important steps in keeping your plant in good health.