Modern patio roses bloom for many months, and offer those with limited space the chance to enjoy their color and fragrance. Not all roses thrive in cramped conditions, so look out for plants labeled “patio” or “miniature,” and place your containers in a sunny position for the best blooms.
When to plant: Autumn or early spring.
At their best: Early to midsummer.
Time to complete: 30 minutes.
You will need: Large container – at least 18 in (45 cm) deep, broken clay pot pieces, gravel, soil-based potting mix, well-rotted manure, slow-release fertilizer, Mycorrhizal fungi – such as Rootgrow, patio rose, such as Rosa ‘Regensberg’, Bedding plants – such as Sutera cordata (syn. Bacopa).
Prepare the container
Plant your pot in situ, since it will be heavy and difficult to move once planted. Place a layer of broken pots or plastic pieces at the bottom of the container. Add a layer of gravel to aid drainage, and then some potting mix with well-rotted manure (one part manure to ten parts soil).
Check planting depth
Place the rose, in its pot, on the soil and check that the graft union (swelling at base of stems) will be below the soil after planting. Remove or add soil to adjust the planting level, and mix in slow-release fertilizer and mycorrhizal fungi. Then remove the rose from its container and set it in the pot.
Plant up annuals
Fill around the root ball with the soil and manure mixture. Wearing gloves, firm it in gently with your hands. Leave a gap of 2 in (5 cm) between the soil and the rim of the pot to allow space for watering. For added summer color, after the frosts in late spring, plant trailing bedding plants, such as Sutera, around the edge.
Water the plants well after planting; you may have to add a little more soil after watering if it exposes the roots. A mulch of well-rotted manure over the top of the soil will help retain moisture. Keep the container moist during the growing season, and stand it on “feet” during winter to make sure excess water drains away easily.
In spring, remove the top layer of soil and add some fresh soil mixed with a granular rose fertilizer, applying it according to the manufacturers’ instructions. You may need to top up with a liquid feed in the summer, but avoid doing so in late summer because this will encourage soft growth that is vulnerable to frost.