Growing Roses In Containers

We get a lot of enquiries from customers about growing roses in pots, and the answer is yes, roses can be grown in pots, but there are a few things to consider.

Most would agree that you can't grow an oak tree in a pot, the footprint of the root system of such a huge tree is more or less a reflection of the size of the plant above ground level. Growing any plant in a pot restricts the root system to the size of the pot, so reduces the size and performance of that plant, the extreme case is the bonsai.

It's easier to grow a naturally small rose variety in a suitable pot as they make naturally smaller plants. Patio or miniature roses are probably the easiest, as they will be happier for a longer time in a suitable pot than trying to grow a hybrid tea or climbing rose, they will grow and flower in bigger containers but will run out of space after a few years, this will show as less vigorous growth and flowering. It is therefore harder to get the full potential of a variety in a container than it is growing the same variety in the open ground.

Tips For Growing Roses In Containers

  • Choose a pot that's big enough with adequate drainage holes. A minimum of 12 litres for patio roses and as big as is practically possible for floribunda roses, hybrid tea roses etc.
  • Use a good quality compost. Rose, Shrub, John Innes No.3 will all be fine, but not a multi-purpose compost because it does not have the make-up suitable to grow bigger, long living roses.
  • Buy a pot that is portrait in shape as roses are deep rooting plants. If you can find square or round pots that taper from top to bottom, that's good because after a few years, as the rose begins to get pot bound, you can pull them out from the pot, remove the old soil and re-pot it in fresh compost. This will refresh and rejuvenate the rose.
  • Raise the pot off the surface, this will allow good drainage.
  • In EXTREMELY cold weather, if pots are in an exposed position, be prepared to wrap the pot with something that will insulate it; tops of rose plants are hardy but roots are vulnerable to being frozen.

Guides for watering and feeding roses in pots can be found on our other pages, pruning roses in pots is the same for roses grown in the open ground.