Gardeners choose container gardening for a variety of reasons. Some lack space and others enjoy the diverse container garden they can create with a collection of different pots in various sizes, shapes and colors. Rose gardeners are learning that they, too, can join the container garden throng by growing roses in containers. Plant a rose in a pot and, with proper care, your rose plant should thrive as well as it would in the soil.
Select a container for your rose plant. A shrub rose variety will require a 15-gallon container. A medium size rose will require a 10-gallon container. A miniature rose will require a five-gallon container.
Combine one part soil-less planting medium with one part perlite to mix your planting medium. The perlite will increase the drainage of the medium, which is paramount to growing roses in a container.
Fill the container approximately 3/4 full with the planting medium. Remove the rose plant from its temporary container and place it into the container. Situate the rose so the bud union (the point where the rose stem joins the root system) is 1 to 2 inches below the soil line. This will protect the rose plant from damage from freezing over the winter. Fill in additional planting medium around the rose and tamp it down firmly with your hands.
Water the rose generously immediately after you finish planting it. Add 1 to 2 inches of shredded mulch over the top of the planting medium to keep the rose roots hydrated and to protect them from heat. Place the rose container in a location with full sunlight and protection from harsh winds.
Provide regular water for the rose plant in the pot. When the planting medium dries, provide water until it runs out the drainage holes. Watering frequency may be every day during the growing season and even twice per day during hot and dry weather. Do not place a drainage saucer beneath the container because this could contribute to root decay.
Fertilize the rose in the container once per week. Mix the fertilizer with water using 1/4 of the recommended fertilizer amount. Pour the fertilizer carefully over the soil without allowing the fertilizer to splash on the rose foliage.
Move the rose into a garage or shed at the end of the growing season. Place a protective cover over the top of the container and wrap the entire container in a layer of bubble wrap and burlap to insulate it from cold temperatures. Tie a length of twine around the burlap to secure it. Water the planting medium only enough to keep it from drying out completely (lift the protective cover to water and then replace it). Move the rose back outside after winter ends.
Prune the rose in the spring before the growing season begins. Remove dead canes by cutting them back to the base of the plant. Remove weak canes (smaller than 1/4 inch in diameter) by cutting them off where they connect with the next larger cane. Cut off any suckers you find growing up from the base of the rose.