Container size for own-root roses

bluegirl_gwAugust 17, 2013

I used to keep all my roses in pots because I was anticipating a move.

How large a container do you keep various types of roses in? Some beautiful photos of healthy roses posted show them in fairly small looking pots--maybe 5-7 gallon.

And do you like commercial potting soil? I'm starting lean towards that. I have to make my own media anyway so it's sounding like an easier solution.

I used to grow a lot of ogrs in 15-20 gallon nursery containers. I had rich black clay amended with leaf mold & rotted manure.

A lot of my new plants are own root HTs & floribundas. I'm thinking that they might do just fine in 5-7 gallon pots for a good while as long as I have them in quality moisture retentive soil & keep them watered well. I picked up a bunch of sacks of Miracle Grow garden soil & HapiGro landscapers mix (mostly pine fines) on sale. Boy, that would be easy to just dump that stuff in a pot & stick the plants in compared to chiseling out holes in the caliche right now.

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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I would think Miracle Grow garden soil would be to heavy for containers. MG potting soil or mix would probably be better.

I'll let someone else answer the question container size....

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 10:06AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Don't use garden soil. Make sure it says POTTING soil. As for pots, bigger is better once they are an established plant. I wouldn't plant a new band in a huge pot though. You have to raise them up a pot size at a time until they're good sized and then put them in a permanent pot. You can grow them in smaller pots but you'll have to root prune and repot much more often.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Maryl zone 7a

I've been planting all types of plants in containers since the late 80's. Our soil is just such heavy clay that to ensure adequate drainage it just works out the best for many of my ornamentals. My oldest container rose has been in a container since at least 1991...... First thing to consider is drainage on your potting mix.. Roses like a fairly moist soil, but not soggy. Do NOT use garden soil. Use a free draining potting mix. I don't use MG potting mix for something permanent like roses, but if you must here are some tips. Make sure you add additional perlite to the mix yourself. There's not enough in it to make a whits worth of difference in drainage. And don't count on those Osmocote time release capsules to supply the nutrients needed. Most of the garden centers have left the potting mix out in the weather and the rain has already gotten into the package and has leached out all of the nutrients from the capsules (which is one reason they always look expanded when you open the bag).....Next start off with smaller containers as opposed to bigger containers. Too much soil fools people into overwatering. My oldest rose (which is a shorter rose) is in a 20" container. I've used a 24" container before on an older larger rose, working my way up the ladder to that size gradually (14 inch, to 16 inch, to 20 inch etc.). It is a bear to move a 24 inch (25 gallon) around. 20 inches is more workable if you can confine your wish list to smaller growing varieties.......There's quite alot to think about when using containers and of course there are pluses and minuses to all methods of growing roses - be it in ground or in containers....Good luck to you......Maryl

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:17PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

DH mixes various potting soils, incl. Miracle grow.

We pot up to 1-G., then to 5- or 7-G. Then, I pray they go into the ground.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 9:18PM
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Many thanks for the suggestions. I have a little Vintage rose forest that are in 1 gallons now. Think I'll bump them to 2 gals. in a couple of months. But I'm gonna try some of the own-root HTs that have a smaller projected mature size in containers when they build up a good root ball.

I dug up an old Flocon de Neige today that has just sulked in the ground. It's an old Pickering plant so maybe it's on multiflora & doesn't like the alkaline soil & water. It has developed some own-roots because it was planted deep. Think I'll try it in a good big pot full of MG potting.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 11:23PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Maryl and Jeri (DH), what type of potting soils do you use?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 5:27PM
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I now use #3 nursery pots to start mine. However, I have a Folklore in a tall glazed pot (will move in spring), WWII Memorial in a larger, rounder glazed pot, and they're both pretty big now. I also started a James Galway band in April in a half-barrel and it seemed to do nothing for the first few's now almost 4 feet tall with six big red shoots sticking straight up from the just realy took off and sprouted.
So...I don't think it matters too much so long as they like the soil they're in and aren't too abused by extreme weather/temps. With the 3gal nursery pots I take care to keep the plastic from getting beat on by the sun so the roots don't get cooked.
FWIW I used E.B. Stone "Edna's Best" potting soil, same brand "Planting Compost," a little bone and blood meal, and perlite. All my "littles" seem to really like it and it's not too expensive.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Maryl zone 7a

I have access to a pivate label potting mix from my local nursery. But when push comes to shove I have made my own. Compost+bark fines+ builders sand (NOT play box sand)+perlite.....I do use Miracle Grow potting mix (not with the moisture crystals) mixed with my nursery blend for annuals that aren't too picky about drainage (not on Cactus, succulents, daylilies etc.)..... I'm not against some Miracle Grow in a blend, but people should be cautious about drainage and quality when they use it. Over the years I've noticed the quality of the MG varies depending on their source of materials when they were bagging it. For instance, I opened a left over, unopened, new bag of the stuff this spring and it was covered with gray mold. I put it into my compost ben not in my container. Shows you how the drainage can be to unamended MG potting mix....Each to their own of course......Maryl

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 1:07AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Thanks Ladies.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:15PM
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minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

Also, if you have some larger pots (14" on up) they weigh a TON when moving, and you can't stack them on anything or each other - unless you have shelves in the truck/vehicle where you can wrap them so they won't fall over or down (I had lilies in bud that were very fragile) - so, you need lots of flat surface that isn't going to be damaged by water drainage. A friend of mine used a double layer stock trailer on her move from Tennessee out to California. (Truthfully, she used 2 - 1 for the stock, and 1 for all her house and garden plants).

AND, you need a decent cart to tote them around from yard to truck/vehicle to yard. I happened on a great cart at Costco a few summers ago, rated for 1200 pounds, so as long as I could fit the pots in the cart, the cart was good to go. Funny, DD quit pulling it anywhere after 2 trips, so I did the rest of the hauling. It's easy to carry one or two large pots from yard to truck. After that, your fingers are on fire and not very functional.

My pots jammed all over the truck floor were fine - they were too tightly packed to slide around or fall over. The things hanging on the rope I strung across the width of the truck were fine (I tied them into the multiple strands of rope going across), but the things hanging on the side of the truck itself didn't fare too well when the truck went over some bumps/dips/speed bumps in the road, even though I had slowed to a crawl for the actual speed bumps. Road bumps were taken at freeway speed, as I was ON the freeway and had no warning. My biggest epi came unpotted and lost some very long leaves. A spider plant bounced clear out of its pot and looked completely bedraggled for months after. There was a lot of other minimal damage to things that grew out fast enough that I didn't mind the damage.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:36PM
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