How to Grow a Rose Bush in a Pot


Roses are fragrant and colorful flowers that demand attention and generous care. Rose bushes are tender plants that cannot withstand long periods of cold temperatures or wet feet. These characteristics make container growth ideal for the rose bush. The potted rose bush can thrive for many years in its confined location and can be easily transferred into the garden if the gardener so chooses.

Step 1

Plant the rose bush a potting container that has a good drainage system. Ensure that the potting container is large enough to accommodate the growing bush until the repotting in two to three years.

Step 2

Irrigate the potted rose bush regularly. Provide the rose bush with approximately one inch of water each week, as recommended by the North Dakota State University Extension. Adjust the schedule to provide the rose bush with regular watering two to three times each week. Use a watering can with finely toothed water flow to avoid disturbing the soil during irrigation. Avoid overhead watering to reduce the potential of disease. Mist the foliage and blooms daily during the hot summer months to maintain the appropriate humidity levels.

Step 3

Place the potted rose bush in a warm, sunny location that receives at least six hours of full sunlight each day. Keep the rose bush away from excessively shaded areas and locations with little air circulation.

Step 4

Feed the rose bush in the spring just after bud break and again in the midsummer. Use a slow release fertilizer, according to the NDSU, such as a 5-10-5 or 10-20-10 combination. Select a fertilizer that is designed for roses whenever possible, though a general purpose fertilizer is also effective. Distribute the feed evenly around the potting container at half strength. Water the fertilizer thoroughly into the soil.

Step 5

Prune the rose bush in the late winter while the plant is dormant, as suggested by All American Rose Selections. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears and wear leather pruning gloves to protect your hands from thorns. Begin by cutting away any dead, dying or damaged wood, stems and foliage. Cut back deadened wood, following the instructions of Rose Gardening Made Easy. Trim until the entire wood shows a greenish-white color, as opposed to a brown color.

Step 6

Use pruning shears to thin out interior branches and foliage. This will promote increased air circulation and light penetration throughout the rose bush. Cut away spent rose blooms to redirect the bush's energy. Remove the spent bloom just above the bud and just below the flower.

Step 7

Repot the rose bush once every two to three years. Complete the repotting process during the rose bush's dormancy period. Remove the bush gently from the container and remove the excessive soil from the root system. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to cut back any dead or dying roots. Trim back each damage root at the root ball. Never remove more than one third of the root system.

Step 8

Repot the rose bush in fresh, nutrient rich soil. Create a loamy soil and mix the a combination of organic compost, perlite and topsoil, as recommended by the University of Colorado Cooperative Extension. Fill 1/3 of the container with soil. Position the bush in the center of the container and fill the container with soil. Press the soil gently around the base of the rose bush to secure its position. Irrigate the newly repotted rose bush thoroughly and return it to its resting location.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning Shears
  • Gloves
  • Potting Container
  • Water


  • Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Growing Roses in Containers
  • Rose Gardening Made Easy: Deadheading Roses
  • North Dakota State University Extension: Roses
  • All America Rose Selections: Pruning Roses
  • Countryside Roses: How to Plant and Grow Roses
Keywords: potted rose care, caring for rose, rose bush care

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.