Although I am very fond of winter, at this time of year, I confess that my indoor garden is a great source of pleasure. There’s something undeniably delicious about waking up to the sweet scent of roses on a cold morning. Buying fresh flowers is part of my winter shopping routine, but I rarely purchase cut roses. Instead, I opt for miniature rose plants, which are usually much less expensive (less than ten dollars this week at my local florist), and when properly cared for, much longer lasting. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, they make a beautiful, living gift! In spring, after the last frost, these cold-hardy beauties can be moved outdoors, where they will thrive for many years (protect with a mulch mound at root zone, as you would other hardy roses, in winter).
A few simple tips for success growing miniature rose plants indoors . . .
1) Provide bright, direct sunlight (near a south or southwest facing window).
2) Ensure even indoor temps from 55-75°F/16-24°C.
3) Water regularly, but avoid soggy soil. Allow planting mixture to dry out a bit at the surface, between waterings. I like to grow roses in double pots or in gravel-line trays to keep the root-zone properly drained.
4) Fertilize monthly with a balanced product, rich in micronutrients.
5) Deadhead spent blossoms and cut plants back after the first flush of bloom is complete (usually 1-2 months after they begin blooming)
6) Repot or move outdoors as soon as possible. When transplanting, any good, well-drained garden soil or quality potting mix will suffice. In the garden, a 2″ top dressing of well-rotted manure/compost serves as both mulch and fertilizer. During the growing season, once-per-month application of Rose Tone or similar, organic product provides a steady wave of bloom.
7) Plants can be container-grown outdoors (be sure to re-pot and separate plants if necessary), however in cold climates, it’s best to overwinter pot-grown roses in a garage or cellar to provide a period of dormancy without freezing the root-zone.
8) If insect pests or spider mites become a problem, spray leaves (including undersides), with an organic, insecticidal soap containing neem oil. Repeat at 10 day intervals until the infestation has cleared. Spider mites are a common problem with roses. Prune away damaged/infested parts of the plant when possible. Because spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions, I like to raise humidity by misting the plants or using a warm-water room humidifier.
For more houseplant tips & ideas, visit the Indoor Eden page by clicking here!
Need help selecting a miniature rose for a special Valentine? There are hundreds and hundreds of varieties of miniature roses. Visit the American Rose Society Website, here!
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