How to Plant Roses in Containers

Miniature climbing rose in a container. image by H.B. Dean


Living in an apartment or a home with a small garden does not prevent you from growing roses. According to Rose Magazine, "with the exception of large climbers, most roses can be grown successfully in containers." The first step is properly planting the rose.

Step 1

Select a container for the rose. According to Rose Magazine, "bush roses and small shrub roses should be placed in containers no less than 15 inches in diameter." Plastic containers are light and inexpensive. Terra cotta wicks the moisture away; the roses will need extra water. Ceramic and terra cotta containers might crack in the winter. Whiskey barrels are large enough, but can be heavy. The container needs to have adequate drainage holes; drill several, if required.

Step 2

Mix equal amounts of potting soil, mulch and peat moss; the amount will depend upon the size of the container. Fill the container about half full with the mixture.

Step 3

Remove the rose from its nursery container and place it on top of the soil mixture. Adjust the soil depth so that the rose's bud union--where the roots meet the canes--will be 1 ½ to 2 inches below the top of the container. Add soil around the roots, filling to right below the bud union. Tamp the soil down gently to eliminate air pockets.

Step 4

Wait to water the rose until you have moved the container to a sunny location; the water makes the container heavier and awkward to move. Soak the soil thoroughly, watching to see that water comes out of the drainage holes. Avoid getting water on the rose to prevent moisture-related diseases.

Step 5

Water the soil daily for two to three weeks, or until red leaves appear--a sign of new growth. Then water deeply about once a week.

Tips and Warnings

  • To prevent harm to the new rose, don't add fertilizer or use pesticides or fungicides--organic or chemical--until the rose shows signs of growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Mulch
  • Peat moss
  • Trowel
  • Gardening gloves


  • Ortho's All About Roses: Dr. Tommy Cairns; 1999
  • Rose Magazine: Growing Roses in Containers
Keywords: roses in pots, container growing roses, indoor roses

About this Author

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written for such publications as "PB&J," Disney’s "Family Fun," "ParentLife," "Living With Teenagers" and Thomas Nelson’s NY Times bestselling "Resolve." An avid gardener for 25 years, her experience includes organic food gardening, ornamental plants, shrubs and trees, with a special love for roses.

Photo by: H.B. Dean