Mini roses are perfect for small spaces! Whether you prefer to keep them outside on your patio or balcony, along a walkway to your home, or inside an apartment, this tiny plant option is a beautiful choice for just about any space. Read on for a miniature roses care guide that’s easy enough for beginners to follow.
Miniature Rose Varieties
Mini roses are still considered true roses, so they look—and smell—as wonderful as their full-sized cousins. They’re just bred to remain small (anywhere from 5 inches to 3 feet tall, depending on variety). Interestingly, miniature roses are also hardier than most types of tea roses, which makes them easier to grow in colder regions. Best of all, they come in a wide range of types and colors.
Popular miniature rose varieties include:
- Sequoia Gold
- Little Flirt
- Green Ice
- La White Pet
- Mister Bluebird
- Chasin’ Rainbows
- The Fairy
For a slightly larger mini variety, check out the following varieties:
- Arthur Bell
- Lilly Marlene
- Orange Triumph
How to Plant Mini Roses
Before planting mini roses, you must select the variety you want from your local nursery. You can search online to find a store near you with the cultivar you have in mind. Note: you may encounter a waitlist if you shop from February to May, as they’re popular gifts for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Planting miniature roses requires the same process as full-size roses.
Whether you plant your variety in a pot or as edging along with your garden, dig a hole in the soil that’s a foot wider than the container your rose came in, and add organic compost to it. Gently loosen the roots from the bottom of the pot, carefully remove the roses, and then place the rose bush inside the hole you prepared.
If your roses are root bound, you may need to use a knife to pry the root ball loose from the container’s sides.
After you put the bush directly in the center of the hole, fill it with soil and gently push the soil down. Water the plant thoroughly, then apply mulch over the top layer.
Ways to Plant
Miniature roses can be planted indoors or outside. They’re commonly planted in containers, which allows you to cultivate them as houseplants and just pop them outside for some sunshine during the summer. They also work well when planted along a border in an outdoor garden, along a walkway, or in a hanging basket. In addition, they’re common as a classic centerpiece in cottage gardens.
When planted in containers, they’re easy to protect from winter frost, and finding the perfect location for them is a snap. Because containers allow you to easily move the plants around, you can offer the right care no matter what season.
Avoid planting mini roses outdoors too close to trees, however, as the plants may compete for root space.
When to Plant
If you want to move your mini roses outside, slowly acclimate the plants a little at a time. Start by placing the container outside for a few hours each day and gradually increasing the amount of time over a period of 7-10 days. Dig a hole at least 12 inches wider than the container and plant the roses in early spring, after the danger of frost has passed.
Miniature roses care guides generally say that they’re hardy to USDA zones 5-9, but you may want to check the specific variety you select to confirm this.
A full-sun location is ideal, as the flowers and foliage may grow sparse without at least 6 hours of daily sunlight. If you live in a warm climate (zone 8 and above), your plants may need some afternoon shade to shelter them from the heat.
Loamy, well-draining soil with a pH of between 6 and 7 is preferred. Enrich the soil with plenty of organic compost before planting. Roses in containers can grow with any commercial-grade garden soil, however. Avoid potting soil mixtures, and don’t use old soil from your garden, as it may contain harmful pathogens.
The easiest way to grow mini roses is to purchase a plant from your trusted local garden nursery. If you want to plant from seed, they’ll take between 21-30 days to germinate.
If you do plant mini roses from seed, expect the plants to grow quickly. You may need to prune back the growth in containers, and space the seeds at least 10 inches apart for the best results. The spacing may vary, however, based on the variety you plant.
Miniature Roses Care Needs
Use the following information on miniature roses care to keep your blooms coming back year after year.
Although the exact amount of water your plants need depends on the weather and your soil, most locations require no less than an inch of water per week. Hot, dry spells require more frequent watering, and you may want to reduce watering in the winter. Water the plants deeply, soaking the soil with around 12-18 inches of wet soil below the ground surface.
Never pour water over the top of the plant, however. During humid weather, wet foliage can lead to fungal diseases. Containers may also dry out more quickly, so check the soil each day.
Temperature and Humidity
Miniature roses grow well in containers, but some gardeners become disappointed when growing them as indoor houseplants. However, the issue comes up because the plants require full sun and a medium amount of humidity, which are easy for most people to provide only in the summer.
These varieties are often hardier than most hybrid tea roses, so they can survive colder temperatures in some locations. For example, potted mini roses can survive all year round in USDA zones over 5. Zones 1-4 have colder winters that require you to move the containers inside in autumn. Indoor plants require daytime temperatures between 60- and 70-degrees F.
Humidity tends to drop in homes when you turn the heat on for the winter, so it’s important you provide a warm and humid spot for your plants. A humidifier may help, and keep the containers away from hot windows or heating vents, which may cause them to dry out more quickly.
Expect the blooms to pop up with temperatures above freezing, and prosper in cool temperatures of around 68 degrees F. If it gets too hot, the plant will stop flowering altogether.
Mulching roses protects against pests, winter frosts, and retains moisture for the plants on hot days. Northern gardeners don’t need to worry about mulching the graft, however, as most mini varieties aren’t grafted. Similarly, gardeners in warm climates don’t need to worry about rootstock suckers.
All roses are heavy feeders during blooming season, and miniature varieties continue to bloom all season long. As a result, regular, heavy feeding is essential to beautiful, healthy roses. A commercial rose food or general all-purpose fertilizer works well. Simply follow the instructions on the label, and make sure to:
- Feed mini roses as soon as the bush “leafs-out” for the first time
- Feed the plant after each time a heavy array of blooms appear
- Discontinue feeding around 6-8 weeks before the first winter frost is expected
Like traditional roses, miniature varieties also require regular pruning. Cut back the plant right before the new growth begins, which usually takes place during late winter or early spring. Take care of any dead or broken section first, and then trim around a third of the plant. Pruning and regular deadheading will help maintain the rose bush’s shape and encourage new blooms.
Common Problems to Growing Mini Roses
The same issues that larger roses face affect miniature varieties, such as fungal diseases like black spot. Powdery mildew is another common issue, both of which are caused by insufficient watering. You can reduce fungal issues by boosting air circulation and mulching your plants.
Pest wise, Japanese beetles, black aphids, thrips, chafers, and spider mites are common problems. Deer and rabbits may also pay special attention to roses. If you catch the insect damage early and treat the plants, you can prevent the pests from taking over. Rose-care products are also widely available to help reduce the risk of disease or pests.
Best Companion Plants for Miniature Roses
Companion plants share a nearby space and bring out the best qualities in both partners. As such, gardeners often use them to attract beneficial insects, repel common garden pests, and boost both plants’ overall health. The companion plants must grow in similar conditions, but they must also look aesthetically pleasing together in terms of the bloom’s color, texture, and shape.
Look for perennials and shrubs with leaf hues in shades of silver, pale green, or purple to accentuate the rose blooms. Good companions that hide rose bush legs include catmint, lavender, and lady’s mantle. Other companions such as summer snapdragon, heliotropes, lantana, million bells petunia, or verbena are ideal for summer planting. You may also use the following companion plants to discourage pests:
- Scented geraniums
- Sage (culinary and Russian)
Never plant mini roses too close to trees, ripening fruit, or vegetables. They may cause a reduction in leaves and prematurely age the flowers.
A Final Thought
Mini roses are easy to grow indoors in tiny homes, RVs, or apartments. This makes them perfect for brightening up even the smallest spaces.
There are many colors and textures to choose from, so make sure the variety you select suits the aesthetic of your home first. Then, consider the growing conditions for the variety to ensure it’ll grow well inside. Although mini roses are extremely winter hardy, they won’t come back every year (in zones 5-9) without plenty of sunlight.