Miniature Roses: Planting, Pruning, Fertilizing, and Using
Miniature roses seem modern when compared to the age of old garden roses. Indeed the cultivation and improvement of garden roses is thought to go back as far as 2737 B.C. whereas miniature roses remained mostly unchanged until around the 1930s. Miniature roses at that time were often referred to as "fairy roses" due to their diminutive height, leaves and flowers. While not all of our roses are miniatures, they are all unique, tough and beautiful. Many have been in the gardens here for 20 years. Below are some points to keep in mind when choosing and caring for your miniature roses.
LOCATION: Consider planting miniature roses in mixed perennial borders instead of making an all-miniature rose garden. Most of the miniature roses bloom summer through fall and, with so many colors available, they blend well with most perennials. They are also great for hedging and front-of-border placement. Cinderella is particularly nice for hedging because it is thornless.
SOIL: While miniature roses
are easier to grow than shrub roses, they do have many of the same needs.
The soil needs to contain enough air pockets to allow water to drain freely
and enough organic matter to hold the moisture so that the plants don't dry
out too quickly. If water puddles where you want to plant your roses, then
choose another spot. Mulching the bare ground around your roses with compost
or other organic matter will, over time, help create the perfect soil. As
mulch breaks down, earthworms and other beneficial bacteria take essential
elements below the surface, which not only enhances the texture of the top
soil layer, but also helps to correct pH and improve fertility.
Miniature roses can also be grown in containers with coarse potting soil. Our three-inch pot should be transferred to a pot that can hold a gallon of soil the first year. Each spring, check the root ball to make sure it has not filled up the pot. The rose may need to be moved up to to a larger container. Since these roses can range from 1 to 3 feet, it is important to give them adequate root space in the container. Container-grown roses will need continual fertilization with an all-purpose organic fertilizer throughout the growing season.
WATERING: Once planted, roses
should be thoroughly watered. Always deep-soak your roses. Roses have long
roots that benefit from deep watering, so always water enough to penetrate
below the root zone. Watering on the surface encourages shallow hair-like
roots that are weak and will not provide the rose with the moisture it needs
to be healthy. Container-grown plants should be watered well (so water
reaches all of the soil). Watering is critical the first month for the newly
planted rose. It takes about that long for it to establish a relationship
with the soil around it. Until that time, it can only collect water from its
original root cube. Roses should never be watered so much that the ground is
SUN: Full sun is required for
growing roses successfully. Roses that do not have full sun will be more
prone to disease and may become leggy as their branches reach for light.
This is often a death sentence for the rose.
PEST AND DISEASE: Insects and disease are not as big of a problem with miniature roses as they are with garden roses. We notice aphids in the garden in early spring but a few weeks later the ladybugs come through and clean them up. Growing roses among other flowering plants will provide a diverse haven and encourage beneficial insects to take up residence in your garden. Full sun, good air circulation and proper drainage will go a long way toward discouraging diseases.
Deer, rabbits and even squirrels can also be devastating to roses in the unprotected garden. We find that miniature roses planted among other shrubs have fewer hits from these critters than those we have planted in an all miniature rose garden. To protect your roses from these large pests, you may want to install an automatic scarecrow. We have used these with great success for many years.
CRAFTING: Judy Fischer, Magic Carrousel, Rise and Shine are all great for harvesting perfect little rosebuds. These can be woven into fresh arrangements and allowed to dry or can be dried individually. and allowed to dry or can be dried individually. Buds should be picked just as their color starts to show and handled gently. While we let our buds dry naturally, colors are best kept when the roses are dried in silica gel. Crystal bowls full of miniature buds make attractive table decorations or placecard holders. Dried petals and leaves add bulk and color to potpourris and sachets.
CULINARY USE: Rose petals have long been used in the preparation of foods. All roses can be used for culinary purposes as long as they are organically grown and clean. Check out "Growing Roses Organically" for more information on raising your roses without chemicals. Rose petals and fruit have an affinity for each other, thus the traditional addition of fresh rose petals to apple or fruit jelly. Petals can also be used to make an all rose petal jelly. These jellies make wonderful glazes for chicken or pork. Fresh rose petals can also be added to butters, honeys, sun teas and vinegars. Dried rose petals may be used to blend with other dried herbs for tea or cooking. Dried petals can also be used to make rose petal syrup which can be used to flavor ice cream, pudding or drinks. Try adding a bit of rose syrup to your next martini and be sure to use a fresh petal as garnish. Check out "How to Eat a Rose" by Jim Long for more delicious ways to use roses in your recipes.
All of our roses, except Petit Pink Scotch, came from the nursery of Ralph Moore, one of the most important rose breeders of the 20th century. Mr. Moore dedicated his life to the hybridization of miniature roses. We are fortunate to have known this gentle man. His nursery was not far from our own. Before we became interested in miniature roses for our company, we would visit his nursery for the pleasure of seeing all the beautiful roses. If he was there, and he almost always was, he would take us on a tour and share his knowledge and passion. Afterwards he would give us a laminated bookmark with pressed roses and a poem he had written. Needless to say, we always took roses home with us. Now that he and his nursery are but a memory, we are grateful to have his roses filling our gardens, and delighted to make them available to you.
BOOKS TO READ ON MINIATURE ROSES:
Their Care and Cultivation
The Complete Book of
All About Miniature
Secrets of the
Click on Roses to view or order our wonderful rose plants.
Roses make a wonderful addition to our Edible Flower Garden Six Pack.
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