I’ve been growing roses for over 30 years now and while I may not agree with the experts, my roses stay alive over the winter without problems and I get tons of blooms in both the gardens and containers.
Here’s my take on rose gardening.
And yes, I’ve grown roses in containers almost as often as I grow them in the garden. They make great container plants with a bit of care. Here are the seven things you need to do to succeed growing roses in a container.
If you’re in a USDA zone 5 or colder and regularly lose roses to winter cold, you might want to take this planting advice. I plant my roses so the bud unions are six-inches below the soil and not 2-inches as most gardeners do. I have a range of other things I do differently and we’ll explore those in the articles and notes below.
Having said that, here are several ways to keep roses alive over winter.
Roses are greedy feeders and if you want great blooms, you’re going to want to liquid feed. I use fish emulsion as a super source of nitrogen (the engine of plant growth) and tons of micronutrients (for plant health and stress fighting). It is a liquid feed so it goes straight to the roots where it can be used, and I apply it at least once a month and hopefully every two to three weeks during the heavy growing and blooming season.
I try very hard to give every rose 2 shovels of compost first thing in the spring but I’m not obsessive about it. That liquid fish emulsion will cover up all manner of gardening sins.
While spring rose care is one thing, here are some tips for mid-summer rose care
Learn to prune.
Regular pruning and removing dead flowers will spruce up the look of your rose and will do more for your landscape “look” than pruning most other plants. And a cleaned up rose is a healthy rose. The only absolutely critical thing here is to gather up all rose canes for the compost pile or garbage. Leaving any of these around on the ground is an invitation to punctured hands or knees when you next work there.
This is particularly true when it comes to mid-summer rose care. (it’s a good time to practice pruning and black spot control)
Relax about insect and disease control.
Let’s be honest. If you’re concerned about diseases such as black spot, make sure you buy the disease-resistant types of roses. They’re a bit more expensive and they still may get some diseases (resistant does not mean immune) but they are for the most part, easier to grow and enjoy.
I love my big old-fashioned Rugosa roses (shrubs with summer long shows of fragrant blooms) and some of the disease-resistant shrub roses that bloom their heads off almost all summer long.
One of the questions I am regularly asked is how to grow roses from cuttings. Is it possible or not? The answer is of course it’s possible and the linked article gives you the important techniques and questions to ask yourself.