Miniature Roses

Arthur Anderson
Adams County Master Gardener

Despite their small size and delicate appearance, miniature roses can be a lovely addition to any garden and with a little care and attention, they can bring beautiful results.

There are more than 200 varieties of miniature roses, which are relatively new plants. Most of the todayıs versions originated with a species found in a Swiss window box in around 1920. They are popular among gardeners because of their compact size and constant bloom. Varieties range in height from four to 18 inches tall, with the average being about one foot.

Miniature roses look just like tiny versions of the larger shrub roses and need a similar environment. They should be planted in an area where they will get at least six hours of full sun per day and enjoy loose, well-drained soil. Roses do not like wet feet and will rot if they are kept wet all the time.

For best results when planting in the garden, the soil should be tested before planting. If there is time, the area can be prepared about three months before planting. If that cannot be done, organic matter, such as peat moss or compost, can be added at the time of planting. An area 10 to 12 inches wide should be dug to the same depth. The soil from the hole should be mixed with one-third peat moss or compost to give the roses a good start. You can add a banana peel to give added potassium.

This should be done for either potted roses or bare rooted stock. For planting roses in flower pots, carefully remove the bush from the growing pot. Brush away some of the potting medium so roots are exposed and set into a container lined with course material on the bottom. Fill the rest with good potting soil. Of course, good drainage is necessary. Never plant a rose deeper then it was. It should only have soil up to the crown of the plant where roots and plant stem meet.

If bare root plants are used, prepare pot in the same way making the center higher than the sides. Spread roots down over the soil and fill with potting soil to the crown of the plant so it is about half way below the top of the pot. If roots and plant show signs of dryness, soak the rose bush in water for half an hour before planting. If the pot is going to be set into another container, be sure that the bottom of the pot is filled with drainage material such as gravel.

Once planted, roses need a good drink about every five days or when soil is dry to the touch. They should be fed with liquid fertilizer about once a month.

Plants should be checked regularly for disease and insects. When watering, try not to get the leaves wet since that will make them more susceptible to problems. Beginners might want to use a plant food with a systematic fungicide/insecticide included in it. Just remember that sprays should not be used in the house and they should never be used in proportions other than those recommended by the manufacturer.

Roses are fairly hardy and should be able to survive winters in this area with a little help. A lime sulpher spray will help them stay healthy during their dormant state. Mulching the roses with straw, hay or leaves will also help.

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