How to Grow Patio Roses in Containers

Plant in containers so you can stop and smell the roses on your patio, deck or balcony.

Tree Roses

Tree Roses

Patio roses are compact plants that thrive in containers or small garden spaces.

Photo by: Jackson & Perkins

Jackson & Perkins

Patio roses are compact plants that thrive in containers or small garden spaces.

Rose lovers, don’t despair if your garden space is limited. As long as you have plenty of sun and a container, you can grow beautiful roses on a patio, deck or even an apartment balcony.

Avoid big shrub roses that are likely to outgrow the pot, as well as climbers and old roses. Climbers need support, and old roses tend to sprawl.

Look for compact patio roses instead. Small floribundas typically grow 18-24” tall, and miniatures top out at 10-24". Micro-mini roses grow 6-12” tall. Even a small hybrid tea rose will work in a half-whiskey barrel or other large container.

Pink Patio Rose in Container

Pink Patio Rose in Container

This fully-doubled Sweet Sunblaze rose grows 15-18" high, so it's ideal for patio containers. It's hardy in USDA Zones 5-10.

Photo by: Star Roses and Plants

Star Roses and Plants

This fully-doubled Sweet Sunblaze rose grows 15-18" high, so it's ideal for patio containers. It's hardy in USDA Zones 5-10.

Choose a Container

Tall containers are a good choice for patio roses since rose roots grow deep. If your container doesn’t have drainage holes, make a few in the bottom. Place a small piece of window screen or mesh, or a few pieces of broken pottery, over the holes, so the soil doesn’t wash out when you water.

Find the Right Location

Roses love full sun and good air circulation. Once you've found the perfect spot, move your container into place before you fill it. After it’s planted, it may be too heavy to move. Optional: put the container on top of a few bricks, plant feet, or a rolling platform to help water drain away more easily. This will also help the surface underneath your container dry out faster.

Black Cherry Tree Rose

Black Cherry Tree Rose

'Black Cherry' is a floribunda rose that thrives in containers. Keep it near your patio or deck to enjoy its damask fragrance.

Photo by: Jackson & Perkins

Jackson & Perkins

'Black Cherry' is a floribunda rose that thrives in containers. Keep it near your patio or deck to enjoy its damask fragrance.

Plant the Rose

Start by filling your container about half-full with a mixture of good quality potting soil and well-rotted manure. Use about ten parts soil to one-part manure. Do not use potting soil that contains fertilizer; you’ll add that later.

Place the rose in the container so the graft union (the swollen area at the base of the stems) will be below the soil, and finish filling the pot. Some gardeners prefer to keep the bud union above the soil, but burying it helps anchor the plant more securely.

Firm the soil gently with your hands. Leave a couple of inches between the soil and the top of the container, so you'll have room to water.

‘Brilliant Veranda’ Rose

‘Brilliant Veranda’ Rose

Bred especially for containers, 'Brilliant Veranda' is a floribunda that grows to about 3' high.

Photo by: Jackson and Perkins

Jackson and Perkins

Bred especially for containers, 'Brilliant Veranda' is a floribunda that grows to about 3' high.

Apply Fertilizer

Now it’s time to feed your rose. Gently work a slow-release, granular rose fertilizer into the soil, following the directions on your product. Be careful not to damage any roots, and water thoroughly. Some gardeners prefer a liquid rose fertilizer for young plants to avoid burning their new roots. Water the rose regularly during the growing season, and re-apply fertilizer as your product indicates. Stop feeding 4-6 weeks before the first expected frost in your area, so you don't encourage tender growth that will die in the cold.

After a year or two, the rose will use up most of the nutrients in the container, so you'll need to replace the potting mix and manure. This is also a good time to move your plant into a larger pot.

Add Mulch

Add a layer of well-rotted manure on top of the soil to help conserve moisture. You can also plant a few small or trailing plants around the base of the rose for extra color. Be careful not to damage any roots, and choose plants that like the same basic growing conditions.

'Princess Alexandra of Kent' (Ausmerchant) David Austin Rose

'Princess Alexandra of Kent' (Ausmerchant) David Austin Rose

'Princess Alexandra of Kent' is an English rose bred by David Austin. It's suitable for growing a large pot.

'Princess Alexandra of Kent' is an English rose bred by David Austin. It's suitable for growing a large pot.

Caring for Your Patio Rose

If your container-grown rose is going to stay outside all year, and you live where the winters are cold, choose a variety rated at least two USDA Hardiness Zones colder than the one you're in. Use a weather-resistant container that won't crack in freezing weather.

When the temperatures drop, put some extra mulch on top of the soil to help insulate the rose. Keep it slightly away from the trunk and branches. For extra winter protection, place some mulch around the container itself.

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