Miniature Roses
...How to grow them successfully.

We have all seen miniature roses in their four inch pots. Colorful full blooms with cute names like Rainbows End, Green Ice, Hot Tamale and Irresistible. What we often don't appreciate is that these "babies" have come straight from the green house environment and are not yet ready for the big world. 

Many are root bound in the pot because they have been liquid fed in a controlled greenhouse environment where the temperature has been constant and the light diffused.

Miniature roses, once in full growing mode, are quite hardy because they are usually grown on their own roots and not grafted. They are quite hardy to minus 10 degrees when fully grown and require a limited pruning schedule as well as a simplified feeding routine. The results can be surprising, with large repeat quantities of miniature blooms and a long life.

Miniature Roses

Healthy Miniature Roses

Follow these suggestions for a strong, healthy miniature rose bush:

Allow a transition period.

When you buy a new miniature rose, it will have come straight from the greenhouse, so keep it in the shade for a few days and then gradually introduce it to the sun over a fourteen day period.

Transplant into a bigger pot.

Don't plant your mini straight into the ground from the four inch pot. Transplant it into a one gallon pot (black plastic nursery pot is fine!) in a mix of good soil and lightweight potting mix. (ie:50/50)

If the plant is root bound, take a sharp knife and cut off about 1/2 inch of roots. New roots will start to grow faster using this method. Some put bone meal in the bottom of the pot but I prefer not to fertilize at all at this point.

Don't do anything for three months.

Leave your mini to develop in the gallon pot for six months. No need for fertilizing yet, just deadhead and water regularly. Generally, potted minis need a lot more water than minis in the ground.

Repot to a bigger size.

After three months the roots should be filling the one gallon pot. Re-pot into a two gallon pot, again cutting 1/2 inch off the roots. (Protect them over the winter...shed, greenhouse or against a warm south facing wall!)

Plant into the ground the following spring.

You could leave these minis in their larger pot and start fertilizing, or plant them directly into the ground. This is the time they will start growing quickly and mature into two or three foot bushes.

Do not use chemical fertilizer on potted minis.

Too much nitrogen or salts will kill your minis. Liquid fertilizer is suggested, at 1/2 the recommended dosage. Slow release Osmacote is best. Supplement with organic mixes over the winter.

Don't prune until the second year.

You will only need to take out the dead and broken canes, and give the bush a shaping "hair cut". A few inches the first year.

Water, Water, Water.

Water before fertilizing. Water after fertilizing. Water twice a day on very hot days. Wash the whole plant to get rid of aphids.

Watch for powdery mildew and black spot.

...and this means spraying, but with a weaker solution than you would use on a full size bush.

Below is a short video of two minutes and thirty-seven seconds, that shows some miniatures and gives some information about them. There is a website and phone number at the end which will only be of use if you are in the same area. Good sound so turn up the speakers and...enjoy!

And my favorite miniature roses?

I love the color of Hot Tamale, the gorgeous red blooms on Heartstrings, the clusters of white on Irresistible the velvet textures of Glowing Amber and the subtle china pink of Water Lily.

Why not try some Miniature roses in your rose garden soon.

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