Roses For Containers

Containers have become a defining feature of our garden space, no longer just an afterthought for accommodating yet another impulse buy, although that is always an option. What could be more gorgeous than rose-filled containers acting as focal points, enclosing a patio, framing an entrance, or softening a paved area?

One, two, or more, containers filled with roses produces an instant rose garden and it is easy to move them around to get the look you want.

Did you know that a rose is one of the few flowering plants that can stand full sun when planted in a container? Roses thrive in containers and are the best option in difficult gardens, where there is root competition, shade, or restricted watering. Granted, roses need the right care but their requirements are quite straightforward.

What container roses need:

  • Plant the rose in a large enough pot. Small containers (10-litre water capacity) can accommodate a single miniature rose, medium containers (20-litre capacity) can accommodate a medium-sized bush rose, and large containers (40 – 50-litres) can hold two or three bush roses, or a combination of bush and miniature or groundcover roses, a climbing rose, Antico Moderno or David Austin English rose.
  • Good potting soil (not garden soil).
  • Daily watering in summer is their most important requirement. It is essential for roses to look at their best. When they dry out, they become susceptible to red spider, or growth tails off and they don’t flower as well.
  • Regular fertilising with a rose fertilizer (Vigorosa) once a month from August to April.
  • Good air movement. The worst position is directly against a wall, especially one that catches hot noon or afternoon sun.
  • Spraying twice a month with an organic insecticide (Ludwig’s Insect Spray) to control aphids, thrips and beetles.

Good tip: Choose disease resistant Eco Chic roses (with the ladybird symbol) because container roses need to be in peak condition all the time.

Good idea: By planting three different heights of roses in one large container a flowing effect is created as the flowers seem to tumble over the pot. Another option is to combine a standard rose with miniature or groundcover roses like ‘My Granny’ or ‘Granny’s Delight’ at its base.

Best rose choices for containers

Free-flowering compact roses are showiest for containers. These can be hip-high floribunda or hybrid tea roses, low growing Fairytale roses, as well as upright and cushion groundcover roses. They can be planted singly in a medium container or three in a large container.

The choice of a rose is personal. We may be drawn to a particular colour, flower shape, even the name of a rose that evokes a memory. Here are our suggested roses that are mostly compact growers, in a range of colours and that flower prolifically.

1. ‘Butterfly Kisses’ is something different. It produces large sprays of 25 to 45 single blooms, with yellow stamens and a sparkling white centre. Butterflies love it. The flowers are lightly fragrant and the leaves are glossy and extremely healthy.

2. ‘Deloitte and Touche’ is a household name in the rose world. It’s an upright groundcover rose that easily fills a container. The large semi-double blooms continuously change colour, from tones of peach, buff yellow, and apricot to bright orange and finally pink.

3. ‘Forever Busy’ is a flower-producing machine, while the bush remains neat and compact, between knee and hip height. The pickable hybrid-tea shaped blooms are carried on short, strong stems. For a deeper buff yellow, consider ‘Tawny Profusion’ that’s also a top performer and never stops producing clusters of flowers.

4. ‘St Andrew’s’ is a very special pink rose, with a sweet scent and old-fashioned nostalgia shape. It’s not shy to flower, grows easily yet keeps its neat shape.

5. ‘Duftwolke’ is also known as fragrant cloud and the name says it all, with an intense sweet and fruity fragrance. This hip-high hybrid tea rose consistently delivers beautifully-shaped, pickable blooms on a healthy, bushy plant.

6. ‘Garden and Home’ is elegant and classy, with clusters of creamy blooms that deepen in the centre to warm honey and apricot. The nostalgia-shaped blooms exude a fruity, spicy fragrance. An Eco Chic rose, it is covered in deep green, slightly frilly leaves from top to bottom.

7. ‘Garden Princess’ is the softer pink daughter of ‘Garden Queen’ (bold magenta pink) and the two are perfect container roses, both producing huge, intensely fragrant blooms that are perfectly shaped. They are compact hybrid tea roses and both are highly disease-resistant.

8. ‘Not Simply Pink’ is simply impossible to miss, because of its dense clusters of luminous deep pink fully-petalled flowers. This Eco Chic rose grows into a dense, neat bush that constantly renews its clusters of flowering stems.

9. ‘Kissing Ayoba’ is a flirtatious little rose with clusters of petite blooms in bright lipstick red with a silvery reverse. They cover the neat, hip high bush, standing out against the bronzy-red young foliage that matures to a bold green which is immune to fungal disease.

10. ‘Tempi Moderni’ is the very epitome of bravura (brilliance) and bravissimo (splendid). Not surprising that it can claim the award of the ‘Best Italian Rose’. It is always covered with fiery, vibrant blooms that are pickable and long-lasting in the vase. It is a vigorous disease-resistant rose that grows to hip height.

Go big

Large shrub roses (also called Panarosas) can be displayed as striking features in large containers. They are leafy arching shrubs that produce clusters of flowers. All are Eco Chic disease-resistant roses that don’t need spraying for black spot.

‘Artista Panarosa’ produces large double blooms that are a dazzling combination of deep carmine with contrasting yellow stripes and dots that change almost by the hour. It is a rugged, vigorous shrub 2.5m high and over 3m wide with canes that arch gracefully. As a container plant it can be used as a free-standing feature or trained up a pillar or strong trellis on a patio.

‘Gülilah’ grows into a huge arching shrub, decorated with glossy, completely healthy leaves that continuously produces nostalgia-shaped blooms of a glowing rose pink. It has a sweet very unusual rose scent. This shrub rose is self-supporting growing to a height of 2.5m.

‘Pink Elephant’ produces highly fragrant old-fashioned quartered blooms on an airy, graceful bush that is very disease-resistant. A good combination of modern-day vigour with the romantic blooms of yesteryear.

The Gardener