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How to grow roses for a patio


1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

How to grow roses for a patio

You don’t need a garden to enjoy roses. But for the best results, choose one of the varieties that have been developed especially for growing in pots.


Patio roses are a cross between a miniature rose and a floribunda. They are bushy and compact, will bloom steadily all summer as long as you keep deadheading them, and many are as fragrant as they are beautiful.

patio roses

Plant them in 50:50 John Innes compost and multi-purpose compost. Scrape off the top inch of compost every six months and top-dress with more John Innes, adding a slow-release fertiliser. Do this in spring and autumn to see them through the winter.

Prune in mid March or early April to encourage the new growth that will bear flowers. If you are buying a plant from a garden centre, check whether it has been pruned, otherwise nip off all the tops. 

Like their larger cousins, patio roses are susceptible to mildew and black spot and may need spraying.

table top roses

Try planting a flower in a table-top container, such as the jug pictured, so you can enjoy its scent over tea in the garden. But patio roses are grown in fields and then transferred to containers for sale, so they have quite a large rootball. If you want to use such a small container, start with a very young rose that will have a smaller rootball. The narrow silver buckets below will be almost filled by the rose's rootball, but the depth allows plenty of room for them to spread downwards.

roses in jugs

The trailing campanula Campanula poscharskyana is the best variety for containers because it will keep going all summer and well into autumn. Other popular campanulas, such as Blue or White Clip, do not last as long. Another beautiful patio rose is Queen Mother, which flowers from May onwards with soft pink blooms similar to a dog rose.

Alternatives to patio roses include miniature roses, which have a denser form and a smaller root system. They grow to only around 15cm (6in), which makes them suitable for window boxes or as indoor plants. Ground-cover roses, such as the Flower Carpet and County Series, are compact enough to use in tubs. They carry their flowers in clusters and are repeat flowering.


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