Roses are a popular gift on Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.
If you haven’t noticed, there are many varieties of miniature roses that can serve a dual purpose. Use them as gifts on special occasions and then add them to the landscape.
They make great additions to rock gardens or can be used as a short hedge. Better yet, grow them in containers in your landscape so they can be moved indoors for decorating on special occasions.
Most miniature roses are hardy and flourish for many years outdoors if cared for properly. Miniature roses given for Valentine’s Day should be kept indoors until the threat of frost is past. Even though these plants are quite hardy, they will not withstand frosts when actively growing.
For most parts of Kentucky, it would be safe to transplant these actively growing roses in early to mid-May. The plants will need a sunny location outdoors but they should be introduced gradually to full sun. First place the pots outdoors in a shady location and each day move it to a slightly sunnier spot. After a week to 10 days, the plants should be exposed to full sun and be ready to transplant.
Keep plants well-watered, but water the base of the plant, not the foliage. This reduces problems with disease. Also regularly fertilize with a complete fertilizer according to label directions. Remove faded blooms and trim back longer shoots to encourage bushier growth.
In late winter, prune back at least half of the stem length or even prune back individual stems to the lowest, outward facing bud. If your plants are growing in containers, sink the entire container into the ground during winter or cover the containers with mulch to insulate the root system from extreme cold.
Diseases such as black spot and powdery mildew may be a problem on miniature roses as they are on the full sized plants. Disease may be less severe if plants are placed in an area where they receive morning sun and good air circulation. Diseases also can be controlled with fungicide applications. The most serious insect pest of miniature roses are Japanese beetles, aphids and spider mites. The beetles can be picked off by hand, and mites and aphids can be controlled with sprays of insecticidal soaps and summer oils.
As you are shopping for flowers this spring, why not try some miniature roses. The cost is similar to cut flowers, and the plants can add beauty to the landscape for years.