Growing Roses Organically – In Containers, And Pots

Growing Roses Organically in Containers or Pots

Roses are among the most beautiful of all garden plants, and also good for a container garden. Use a potted Rose to create a focal point in a garden or add colour to patios. Planting Roses in containers allows you to control the growing conditions of the plant, a big benefit if your garden soil is less-than-ideal. In this article we also discuss the below topics;

  • Do Roses grow well in pots
  • Which Roses do well in pots
  • How do you grow Roses organically
  • How to make Roses grow bigger
  • Organic Rose plant care
  • What is the best time to grow Roses
  • Why is my indoor Rose plant dying
  • Best organic fertilizer for Roses
  • How often should potted Roses be watered
  • How often should you feed Roses
  • Process of growing Rose plants in pots at home
  • Caring for indoor Roses

A Step by Step Guide to Growing Roses Organically in Containers

Different Varieties of Roses

Roses are notoriously prone to disease, so picking a disease-resistant plant variety is imperative for an organic Rose garden.

The resistant varieties of Roses are;

  • Silver Ghost – repeat-flowering shrub Rose with single white colour flowers.
  • Temptress – repeat-flowering dark red climbing rose.
  • Golden Gate – repeat-flowering, mid-yellow climber.
  • Cinderella – repeat-flowering, fragrant light pink climber.
  • Lancashire – repeat-flowering, low-growing ground cover Rose with unscented red flowers.
  • Buxom Beauty – very fragrant, mauve-pink colour Rose with large flower heads.
  • Red Finesse – a mid-sized shrub with dark red colour flowers.
  • Summer Beauty – full apricot flowers.
  • Caribbean Dawn – pink colour flowers shaded in yellow and orange.

Soil Preparation for Growing Roses Organically

Rose plants prefer a rich loamy soil that drains well. Too much clay and the roots can become waterlogged, but sandy soil will drain before the plant roots can get a good drink. Start by mixing a high-quality potting mix with aged manure or compost. Rose plants love rich soil, but they also need well-draining soil. So, the potting mix and compost combination is ideal for container Rose gardening.

There is a delicate balance to be maintained when you are planting Roses (or any other plant) in pots. Then, use a potting medium that drains well enough to diminish the likelihood of root rot while being heavy enough to hold moisture.

For making a potting soil mixture for Rose plants, use one-third quality commercial potting soil, one-third garden compost, and one-third composted manure. Add a cup of perlite to enhance drainage and add 1 cup of bone meal to the soil mixture. Also, you can add fishmeal or blood meal for added nutrients. Some good amendments to use for Rose soil preparation in organic gardening are;

Alfalfa meal – It is a good source of nitrogen and is nicely balanced with phosphorus and potassium. Using alfalfa in your Rose garden is a great method to provide an extra dose of nutrition. You can choose between alfalfa meal and pellets and add them directly into the soil using either 1 cup for each large Rosebush or ½ cup for smaller bushes. Another option is alfalfa tea by soaking the meal in water and adding it to the soil.

Kelp Meal – It is a slow-release Potassium source providing over 70 chelated trace minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and growth-promoting hormones. 

Compost – It is a decomposed organic matter that increases microorganism activity and improves the overall quality of the soils.

Rose plants prefer a rich loamy soil that drains well. Then, they do not like to have their root systems in soggy wet soil, but cannot be allowed to dry out either. Soil quality can make or break your organic Rose garden. If your soil contains a lot of clay or sand, invest in topsoil and be generous with homemade compost. The pH level of your soil plays an important role in the quality of the Roses you will grow with the optimum pH falling in and around 6.5. Once you test your soil to determine the pH level, there are several things you can do to either raise or lower the pH if necessary. To acidify the soil, try adding organic mulch which is also beneficial for microbial life and improving the general quality of the soil. You can also recycle kitchen waste such as citrus peels, vegetable peels, or coffee grounds which all work wonders at lowering the pH.

Pick Your Container or Pot for Growing Roses Organcally

 Pot for Growing Roses.
Pot for Growing Roses

There are only two main rules when selecting a container for growing Roses;

Bigger is better – A bigger container is best suitable for Roses. The bigger the pot for growing plants, the less you’ll have to water.

Size – When it comes to selecting a pot for container Rose gardening, a bigger size is better. Roses have extensive root systems and a standard-size Rose must be planted in a container in the 8 to 15-gallon size range. The pot must be big enough to accommodate the root ball of the plant, plus offer room for growth. A large container also holds more soil volume and then dries out less frequently than a smaller pot, which means less watering for you.

Most Rose plants grow well in containers as long as root space is sufficient and care is appropriate. Containers of at least 2 feet in depth and at least 15 to 20 inches in diameter are recommended for full-sized Rose plant varieties and the deeper the better for plant health, growth, and blooming. Roses planted in pots and containers do not grow as large as those planted in the ground; 4-to-6-feet-tall plants may be the maximum reasonable size range for Roses in all but the largest containers.

Drainage holes are a must – Good drainage is key for growing Roses. If your ceramic or terra cotta pot is hole-free, make one by drilling a hole in the bottom of the pot with a masonry bit. Plastic and fibreglass pots have plugs that can be removed before planting.

Growing Roses Organically in Containers

Growing Roses Organically in Containers.
Growing Roses Organically in Containers

Step 1) First, filling container about half-full with a mixture of good quality potting soil and well-rotted manure. Use about 10 parts soil to 1-part manure and do not use potting soil that contains fertilizer; you’ll add that later.

Step 2) Then, place the Rose in the container so the graft union (the swollen area at the base of the stems) will be below the soil, and finish filling the pot. Some gardeners mainly prefer to keep the bud union above the soil, but burying it helps anchor the plant more securely.

Step 3) Firm the soil gently with your hands and leave a couple of inches between the soil and the top of the container.

Step 4) Planting in pots offers you more control of moisture levels and exposure to sunlight.

Step 5) Roses planted in containers or pots will need more water than Roses planted in the ground. During the summer your containers will need to be watered daily. Make sure the containers have ample drainage holes in the bottom. Place a layer of gravel or medium-sized rock about 1 inch deep in the container bottom.

Step 6) Place your potted Roses in a location that gets at least 7 hours of direct sun each day. If you are growing groups of potted Roses, keep them spaced at least 2 to 3 feet apart to ensure good air circulation.

Watering Container Roses

Rose plants appreciate moist, well-drained soil, making consistent watering critical to the health of your plant. Checking the moisture level with a finger inserted into the soil mixture for plants. It is best to water the plant in the morning time so that any water that splashes on the foliage has time to dry before nightfall. Prolonged moisture on the plant leaves can spread fungal diseases.

Fertilizer for Growing Roses Organically

Rose plants are heavy feeders and container-grown Roses require special attention in regards to fertilizing. During the plant growing season, a monthly dose of liquid organic food like fish emulsion can help keep flower production high.

Roses require plenty of water but you should be wary of overwatering them. The soil should be moist at all times so if you feel the top layer drying out, it needs to be watered right away. When watering the Rose plant, ensure that the soil is well-drained or the plant may develop root rot.

Use an organic Rose-friendly fertilizer. Organic fertilizers contain kelp meal, bone meal, chicken manure, or alfalfa meal along with other ingredients. Select an organic fertilizer for Rose plants with a Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium (NPK) ratio of 5-7-2, 4-6-2, or an all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer. Nitrogen promotes foliage and Phosphorus promotes flowers. Potassium promotes overall health. Spray compost tea on the plant leaves and water the soil with it to encourage beneficial bacteria growth. Then, this helps reduce fungus and pest problems.

Homemade Fertilizers for Growing Roses Organically

  • The application of organic fertilizer helps Rose plants grow healthy roots and colourful blossoms.
  • Homemade fertilizers have natural or organic ingredients, and they break down more slowly than chemical fertilizers. Organic fertilizer containing molasses, kelp, powdered fish and apple cider vinegar supplies Roses with a balanced dose of nutrients that promotes healthy flower growth.
  • Banana peels contain potassium and are a rich source of the mineral. To use them as Rose fertilizer, gardeners can bury the banana peels about 4 to 6 inches deep at the base of the plants.
  • Eggshells are another kitchen option ideal for repurposing in the garden. They have large amounts of calcium carbonate, an ingredient found in agricultural lime. They make an excellent addition to compost, and when crumbled into tiny pieces, they can be applied directly to the soil around plants.

Pests and Diseases Control for Growing Roses Organically

Rose plants are affected by many pests including various species of aphids, mites, thrips, whiteflies, scales, caterpillars, mealybugs, and others.

Spider Mites

Some symptoms that spider mites are at work on your plants would be discolouration or bronzing of the leaves. Left untreated, foliage injury can lead to leaf loss and even the death of the plant. When the spider mite population on Roses is high, they will produce some webbing on the Rose plants. There is more than one natural way to kill spider mites on your Rose plants. One easy process is to mix one part rubbing alcohol with one part water, and then spray the leaves. The alcohol will kill the mites without harming the Rose plants and another natural solution to get rid of these tiny pests is to use liquid dish soap. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap to eradicate the spider mites in Rose plants.

Rose Bud Borers

There are two types of borers. Rose curculios are 1/4 inch in size. Rose leaf beetles are smaller about 1/8 inch and are shiny blue or green. They both damage Roses plants the same way by boring into the flower buds and preventing the buds from blooming. The least invasive process to get rid of this disease is to pick them by hand, as well as by removing infected buds. To reduce their numbers and prevent them from spreading, spray insecticidal soap mixed with pyrethrin.

Rose Chafers

Where it is present, the Rose chafer can cause a lot of damage, devouring the plant leaves and flowers of Roses. Rose chafer damage can be recognized by the large irregularly shaped holes all over the flowers. Like the borers, the least-toxic solution is to handpick Rose chafers off your Rose plants, but you can try using a botanical insecticide to knock down their numbers. Just remember to add horticultural oil to the insecticide. That way it will stick to the plant leaves and not get washed away by rain or watering. The organic insecticides pyrethrum (made from chrysanthemum flowers) and rotenone are good choices for this disease.

Leafcutter Bees

Leafcutter bees cut precise round or oval holes from the sides of leaves, which are used to form nest cells. To reduce this damage, prune out the injured tips several inches below the damaged place and seal the cut with a grating compound or some sort of sealing putty.

Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles (1/2 inch) disease is metallic green with copper-coloured wing covers. Adults are destructive and chew small holes in both the leaves and flowers of Rose bushes. Often feeding in groups, the Japanese Beetles will start on the upper part of a plant and work downward. If detected, apply milky spore to lawns to attack grubs (larvae) and spray organic insecticides as needed. Also, in the early morning or evening, when Japanese Beetles are less active, shake them from plants onto tarps and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.

Problems with Growing Roses Organically in Containers

Leaf Drop in Rose Plants

Rose leaf drop can be caused by several reasons, for example, lack of water, disease or insects feeding on roots, excess water if the plant is growing in a container, slow-draining soil, or inadequate light. The remedy for this problem is to water the plant more deeply, open the drainage hole in the container to improve drainage, or treat for insect pests.

There are several diseases that cause Rose leaf drop including black spot, apple scab, and cherry leaf spot, all fungus diseases. Fungal disease can be treated by raking up the fallen plant leaves to prevent further spread and using micronized sulfur as a weekly spray treatment.

Reasons for Yellow Leaves in Rose Plants

There are several reasons why Roses may develop yellow colour leaves. One reason is spider mite, a sucking insect pest; check the undersides of the leaves for minute webbing or dust size specks. Another serious reason Roses might develop yellow leaves is a viral disease infection; if you suspect viral infections, remove and destroy the plants. Yellow leaves also caused by scale insects which look like small bumps on the bark, but they will suck the life from many types of plants, not just Roses. Or, the plant may simply need to be fertilized.

Reasons for Roses Plant Leaves Turning Brown

When you see brown leaves on your Rose plant, you are usually the problem. Forgetting to water, over-fertilizing a container plant, damage from herbicides, or planting where the standard Rose is exposed to too much heat or cold can all result in leaves that are brown colour at the edges or fully brown. Rose plant leaves turn yellow because the pH level of the soil is too high, or there’s not enough iron in the soil. It can be caused by a lack of oxygen when the Rose plants are overwatered or the soil doesn’t drain easily. You may see the leaf veins turn yellow while the leaves are still green.

Why You Should Prune Rose Plants

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Pruning of Roses.
Pruning of Roses.
  • The ideal time to prune Rose plant is when they are dormant, starting in January until just before the last frost in your area.
  • The purpose of the Rose plant pruning is to improve the health of the plant and control the shape.
  • Pruning promotes plant growth – Every cut result in healthy plant growth that will eventually bear flowers.
  • Annual plant pruning helps deter disease – When you prune to remove older stems in the center of the bush, you make it easier for sunlight and air to reach between branches. Increased airflow and sunlight dries wet leaves more quickly, which helps prevent disease outbreaks.
  • Pruning keeps a plant healthy – Whether canes are diseased, or dying, a simple snip eliminates the problem and encourages remaining stems to grow stronger.
How You Should Prune Roses

Make cuts on stems 1/4 inches above a bud and at roughly a 45-degree angle sloping away from the bud. Plant growth will begin from the bud just below where you cut. Then, place your cut so that new stems will grow in the direction you want.

  • Remove canes that are dead or dying
  • Remove canes that rub against another cane (remove one of them)
  • Remove canes damaged by insects, diseases, or storms
  • Remove Canes thinner than a pencil

The trick with Roses is to pick the flowers early in the morning.

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