Raising Miniature Roses to New Heights
For More Enjoyment and Easy Care
As a person who grows a lot of miniature roses, I learned long ago that trying to tend the little ones at ground level was a major pain in the back. And knees. And other parts of my aching body after a full day of working in the garden. With over 150 miniature roses, just imagine stooping over, or on bended knees, trying to deadhead, prune, water, and fertilize these lovely little creatures on a weekly basis.
Who says miniature roses have to be grown way down low in the ground? It's very difficult to enjoy the minis when they are down on the ground and when we humans stand an average of 5 to 6 feet tall. So, to smell the tiny blooms (yes, some are even fragrant) or to just appreciate their beauty, we must bend down, stoop over, or even sit on the ground.
We solved the problem by growing our miniature roses in 7-gallon pots where the mini roses still have plenty of space to spread their feet, and yet the containers could be raised up to working height. For me (I'm only 5'4") that means a comfortable working height is about 30 inches, so we have created ways to raise the pots to various heights depending on the location in my garden.
Some areas in your garden will require individual risers for those container grown miniature roses. Think about your swimming pool decking, for example. This is where the individual raised pedestals come in handy. Since you can't plant the minis in the concrete, you can create additional spaces on which to place minis in containers, and raise them high. Other areas to use pedestals are alongside benches in your garden, or at the entrance to your front door. Roses such as Sweet Chariot are beautifully displayed in containers atop a pedestal. For the pedestals we have simply used larger square cinder blocks. They measure 12" x 12" x 8" and are decorative on all four sides. You could also stack two of these cinder blocks to bring them higher. Instead of using cinder blocks as pedestals, you might visit a statuary store to see what you can find. Sometimes they will have very attractive pedestals at a good price.
The Grandstand for Miniature Roses
We created our grandstand up against an unattractive chain link fence. This served two purposes: hiding the fence with a beautiful display of mini roses, and bringing the miniature roses up to working height. The Grandstand is very easy to make. All you need is a few cinder blocks and some planks of wood. The cinder blocks I used are 8" x 8" x 16" and the wood is 2" x 10". My Grandstand is 24 feet long and holds thirty-eight 7-gallon containers. The lower stand in front is positioned only one block high, while the higher stand in the rear is placed at three blocks high. The shorter growing minis are put on the upper deck, while the taller minis go on the lower deck.
The Side Riser
I have a narrow space along the side of my house that is located close to a 6-foot cinder block fence, and my neighbor's house is situated just a few feet on the other side of the fence. Tract homes on small lots in Southern California are certainly packed in tightly. This situation blocks the sun for most of the day on the sides of the house. Not good growing conditions for roses. However, by raising the mini containers up to 30 inches high, they are able to get sun for several more hours per day. With more sun the miniature roses grow and bloom better, and I am able to comfortably work with my roses without stooping over.
There are still a few miniature roses that I continue to grow in the ground. The tall minis like Irresistible, Pucker Up and Jean Kenneally can grow to over 36 inches high, so there really is no need to raise them up higher. These bigger miniature rose plants are much happier being planted in the ground, and they like to spread their feet. I grow several plants of Irresistible in a planter under my bedroom window.
Hanging Baskets for Miniature Roses
Some of the smaller miniature roses can grow in hanging baskets on your patio. There are a number of micro-minis that would grow well in hanging baskets, such as Cinderella, Baby Betsy McCall, and Si. Make sure they are not placed too high where they would be difficult to enjoy. Also, make sure they are near the edge of the patio where they can get some sun part of the day.
Keep Them Watered
Roses grown in containers will require some hand watering. You could also hook up a drip system, but I recommend not depending on it for their only source of water. I like to use a water wand to wash down the mini rose plants that are grown in containers. This helps to prevent spider mites.
Use a Good Potting Soil
For potted miniature roses I prefer a 50/50% mixture of Supersoil and Gromulch. Make sure the potting soil you purchase is not too "light" because it will dry out too fast. Some brands contain too much perlite which dries out quickly.
© Copyright Kitty Belendez. All rights reserved.
This article is an ARS Award of Merit Winner, originally published in "Rose Ecstasy," bulletin of Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, Kitty Belendez, Editor.
Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez
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