Landscaping Ideas: Roses in pots
Any rose can be grown successfully in a container. It all has to do with water holding capacity. Since it is difficult and unpractical to grow a large climber in a 5 litre pot where it would need to be watered and fertilized about 10 times a day it is best to select the size of the container in accordance with the expected size of the rose one wishes to grow. In principle this means that a pot containing 10 litres of water suffices for a miniature rose, a Bush Rose requires at least a water-holding capacity of 20 litres and a large climber should be grown in a large tub or drum with a capacity of at least 50 litres. On the other hand it is fun to grow three and even more roses in one large container as long as each bush will still have the soil volume of 20 litres. The pots above have been planted with one My Granny, one Granny’s Delight and one Granny Dearest.
The material out of which the container is made of is of minor importance. It may be plastic, asbestos, concrete, wood or metal. Plastic is not as robust and metal is likely to rust within a few years.
Since it is obvious that a rose growing in a container is expected to be a feature plant growing in a prominent spot it is advisable to select showy varieties which are vigorous, free flowering and develop a good plant shape. Sometimes one wishes to grow a desired rose next to a pole, entrance or standing on a low wall. In that case one selects the container according to the plant size. A tall growing rose looks better in a high container and a bushy variety in a more compact container. The same applies when selecting a rose for a specific pot. The growth pattern is usually more important than the shape of flower or colour. Here is a listing of suitable varieties for the various container shapes.
Shaleen Surtee Richards
Pearl of Bedfordview
Playboy and Playgirl
City of Belfast
Jhb Garden Club
Rise ‘n Shine
With good care Roses are able to flourish in pots and containers for 6 to 8 years. This requires a good panting medium. It is essential that the container has good drain holes at the bottom or at the sides at the lowest part. With holes at the bottom the container should stand on bricks or similar not on soil or lawn which could block the drain holes. The practice of placing pebbles, potshards, stones or similar material at the bottom is still advisable since it ensures long term drainage.
The soil or better growing medium to be used is of utmost importance. One wants to achieve and retain good drainage on the one hand and water holding capacity on the other. Ordinary potting soil is not good enough since it will settle and compact after a year or two. Our special potting mix is however suitable as it contains pine, bark, peanuts shells and klinker ash to prevent it from compacting quickly.
It is best to moisten this growing medium before filling it in the container(s). Proceed to water the growing medium in the container, let it stand to settle for a day or more. The growing medium will have settled below the rim. Further growing medium is scooped out to a level that the rootball of the rose to be planted is placed with the correct height that the top of the root ball to be just below the rim of the container. Growing medium is now shovelled around the root ball and the plant is watered liberally. If a rose is settled too deeply in the container too much water by irrigation or rain will drown the rose.
Watering is now the keyword for successful rose growing. During the first two months after planting it is still possible to water only every second or third day. After this period the roots of the rose will have penetrated the container and it is now important to water every day. And it needs to be sufficient water to just arrive at the bottom drain holes. By giving less water the lower parts will dry our, the roots in that dried region will shrivel and the rose will soon be riddled by Spider Mite and eventually die. Watering may be reduced during winter to twice a week but the rose should never be dried out totally.
With frequent watering part of the fertilizer is drained out of the container and it is therefore advisable to spread a measuring cup of Ludwig’s Vigorosa every two to three weeks per every 20 litre volume.
Pest and disease control for roses growing in containers is the same as for all other roses.
Flat growing groundcover plants may be planted next to the rose in the container. Pebbles or bark chips make good mulch.
A rose growing in a container still requires a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight. A distinct advantage with container growing is that the pots can be moved if it is found that the sun light in a specific spot is insufficient and especially so with the light changing during the seasons.
More and more flowering miniature roses growing in pots are offered in chain stores and garden centres. Mostly this are varieties that are specially hybridised and selected to be free flowering with long lasting blooms. Three to five cuttings are rooted in these pots and they are green in environmentally controlled greenhouses. In Europe some 2 million of these Miniature pot roses are sold per week. Produced by a conveyor belt system they are regarded as throw-away articles. The idea is to bring these flowering rose pots into your home for table and windowsill decorations. The buds will open up fully in such indoor environment, however once finished flowering, they could not be brought into bloom again indoors. Since the selection was for shelf live and not hardiness as a garden rose they really require good care to be coaxed to flower again. With green fingers this can be done by placing them in a garden or open veranda. They can be planted out in a garden where they might establish themselves into knee high, mini shrubs. If kept indoors they require watering maybe twice a week. Mini Pot Roses like all other roses cannot flourish in standing water and pots should NEVER stand in saucers filled with water. Rather have bricks for large pots and something smaller placed in the saucer with the pot standing on it. Priced not much higher than a bunch of cut roses these mini roses, which are marketed by Ludwig’s as PIXIE POT® ROSES are good value for money.