Container Rose Gardens: Guide to Growing Roses in Pots and Containers

There are many advantages to growing roses in pots. The best is that your rose is portable and can be placed on your deck or patio. That means they will be enjoyed up close where the beauty of the roses can truly be seen and appreciated. You also will be able to enjoy the scent of your roses.

Containers make it possible for the apartment dweller to have roses on their balcony. There are also practical reasons to grow roses in containers. Roses need a minimum of six hours of sunlight each day and more is better. If you live in a shady yard, the only sunny spot may be on your patio or deck. 

Some gardeners live in areas with very poor soil that will not support the needs of a rose plant. By planting in containers, you can control the soil mix to be perfect for roses.

Treat Yourself to Stunning Roses

Choosing Your Container Roses 

There are some roses that are better suited for growing in pots. Generally, climbing roses are not a good choice. If they are not trellised, they will sprawl out from the container. Also, some roses are very tall and will be top-heavy and can be tipped over with a strong wind. 

A rose that grows very wide may also be a variety to avoid. So what roses are good choices for container growing? Here are some options for you to consider, including:

  • Ground Cover Roses These roses stay shorter (under three feet) but spread outward. This results in a rose that will drape over the edge of your container. Ground cover roses are even great in a hanging planter!
  • Tree Roses Some of our favorite tree roses are often grown in containers. These roses grow on a single cane (trunk) with the graft being at the top of the trunk rather than at ground level. The graft is usually 24 or 36 inches high.
patio rose plants


  • Floribundas Floribunda roses are easy care with continual blooms. Many are the perfect size for containers.
  • Miniature Roses Miniature roses only grow 15-30 inches tall, making them ideal for growing in containers. They are small enough to be placed on a tabletop.

Really, any type of rose can be a good patio rose as long as its size is compatible with growing in a pot.  So if you have a favorite rose, check its mature size and you may find that it will be adaptable to container growing.

Planting Your Container Rose

Once you have selected the roses you want for your patio, it is time to select a container or pot. Roses have deep roots so choose a large enough container to accommodate the roots. If you live in a warmer area where the summer temperatures soar, a larger pot is advised. The soil will provide insulation against the heat and provide protection for the roots. Make sure the pot has enough drainage holes in the bottom to prevent root rot.

pink roses: floribunda

Nika Art/

Roses are heavy feeders, so a good nutrient-rich soil is critical. Fill your container with a high-quality potting soil mixed with compost or well-rotted manure. Plant your rose so that the graft union is just below the soil. Add a slow release rose fertilizer and water in.

It is best to repot with fresh amended soil every two to three years to assure the soil is not depleted of nutrients. By that time, you may also need to increase the size of the pot. You should add mulch on top of the soil to conserve water. 

As long as you are careful not to damage your roses’ roots, you can add a few plants around your rose. This is especially common if you are growing tree roses. Plant low-growing flowers or trailing plants that complement your roses.

Add Tree Roses to Your Patio Today

Winter Protection

Winter protection will be dependent on the growing zone you live in. If you live in the southern states, your roses may not need any additional protection. 

homegrown beautiful red rose in a pot

Lubomir Vladikov/

But as you get further north, you may have to take steps to protect your rose, as the container will not be enough to prevent the roots from being damaged by the cold. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a rose that is hardy in two growing zones colder than yours. 

You can protect your rose in several different ways. If you have the room, you can bury the rose — pot and all — in the ground. Cover the top with garden soil but do not let it touch the crown of the plant. This can be a labor-intensive method, but it may be more pleasing in the landscape. 

Another method is to build a structure around your rose out of chicken wire or burlap and fill it with a thick layer of leaves or other insulating material. If you have room in your unheated garage, and it stays above freezing, store your container roses there for the winter. Of course, the last solution is to bring your roses indoors for the winter and place them in a sunny window.

As you can see, there are many options for container roses that — with a little care — can truly enhance the look of your patio, deck or home.