Potted Roses Made Easy: Best Tips and Varieties

Updated: Feb. 22, 2024

Potted roses are an excellent option for small spaces. Follow these steps to success when planting this classic flower in containers.

With the range of colors, shapes and sizes of roses available, it’s possible to have blooms from May through the fall frost. Here are tips and tricks for planting and growing potted roses.

Pick the Right Size Pot for Your Rose

bearded gardener works in greenhouseJuly Alcantara/Getty Images
Make sure the container is the right size for your rose bush.

Laura LeBoutillier of Garden Answer, a popular YouTube channel, says rose tags state the average height and width. For miniature and petite roses, the minimum container size is 12 inches in diameter to allow for enough room for root growth. Insulation from heat and cold is another factor for the 12-inch pot recommendation. The rule of thumb for larger roses is a minimum container size of 18 inches. The larger the pot, the more space the rose has to grow a strong root system.

Tall, narrow containers are not ideal because they drain too quickly. When the height and width are equal in size, pots drain slower, keeping the roots more evenly moist. Choose pots that are made of thick plastic, foam or ceramic, with drainage holes in the bottom. Those materials are nonporous, so they keep the plant well-insulated while holding in valuable moisture. Nonporous pots also keep the roots warmer in the winter months and help prevent freezing.

Check out the top 10 fragrant roses to perfume your garden.

Use High-Quality Soil for Potted Roses

Many high-quality potting soils contain mycorrhizae to help stimulate root growth. In nature, mycorrhizae are found growing with most woody plants. They help nutrient uptake in plants and provide a more consistent growth rate and overall health for the plants.

Because roses will be in their containers for years, a high-quality soil blend is ideal for the long haul. Some mixes include water-storing crystals—and you don’t need to add anything else. If yours does not, you can add some by mixing the correct amount recommended on the water-storing crystals’ package.

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Care Tips to Grow Roses in Pots

flowers for pots, Petite Knockout ContainerStar® Roses and Plants
Petite Knock Out rose

Fill the pot for your container roses about two-thirds full with the soil mix. Skip the fillers, peanuts, rocks and stones! Remove the rose from its original container by tipping it over and gently sliding it out. Loosen the root ball a bit and check it for circling roots. If you see any, cut them with a knife or use a sharp pair of shears.

Set the rose on the soil. See if it sits 2 inches below the lip of the pot. If it does, backfill with soil around the root ball. Keep the soil light—not packed down tight—to maintain proper airflow for the roots. When you are done filling the pot, sprinkle a granular slow-release fertilizer on the soil surface, then water the plant in until the water comes out the bottom of the pot.

If you chose not to use water crystals in your soil, you might want to consider using a plant diaper to help with watering. One product on the market is the TreeDiaper. Soak the diaper in a pail of water for about 20 minutes. When the plant diaper is saturated, nestle it on the top of the soil around the stems of the rose bush—but not touching them.

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The Best Potted Roses to Grow

Julia Child 011Star Roses and Plants
Julia Child rose
  • All the Rage
    Apricot flowers with a light fragrance
  • Julia Child
    Brilliant yellow blooms with a light fragrance
  • Cinco de Mayo
    A cascade of blooms with a slight apple fragrance— loves a bigger container
  • Oso Easy Petit Pink
    A tough, salt-tolerant beauty
  • Petite Knock Out 
    The perfect small bright red rose for a small container
  • At Last
    A sunset-orange bloom with a sweet perfume fragrance
  • Champagne Dreams
    A 4-foot-tall patio tree rose with apricot blooms and fruity fragrance
  • Angel Face
    A true lavender rose with a strong, sweet citrus fragrance—grow it in a large container
  • Summer Surprise 
    A tree rose standing about 4 to 6 feet tall with 5-inch yellow flowers with orange tips

Discover fascinating facts about roses.

About the Expert

Laura LeBoutillier and her husband, Aaron, own the popular Garden Answer YouTube channel. Since she started posting gardening advice videos in 2014, Laura’s gained more than 5 million subscribers across multiple social media platforms, and almost 2 million YouTube subscribers.


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