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Grow Roses in Containers on Your Balcony

Grow Roses in Containers on Your Balcony

Bare rooted roses are sold without pots or soil in their dormant stage in Winter. They will look like a bunch of leafless sticks and will suffer less transport shock and are generally cheaper than their potted counterparts in Spring. You'll start finding bare-rooted roses in the garden centres from late May to the end of August'ish.

Potted Roses will be available in Spring and should not be re-potted when about ready to come out of dormancy in late winter or early spring (after the last hard frost if you are in that zone).


    You don’t have to have a yard, ideal soil, or perfect drainage to raise roses. All you need is a sunny location and enough room for a container. Transform a deck, terrace, patio, or balcony into a fragrant retreat with pots glowing with color.

    Roses are particularly susceptible to differences in micro climates which means simply that a rose may do better in one place in your yard than in another. Roses do not like competition from other plants.

    This is because they are heavy feeders and other plants, including neighboring roses, often deprive them of nutrients and room for their roots to grow when in a garden situation.

    Planting roses in containers provides you the opportunity for you to evaluate it in a particularly exposure and then to easily move it.

    The best roses for growing in containers are the patio and miniature types. there are four types of roses that are especially suitable for containers:

    • Ground cover: These stay low and look lovely when they spill over the edges of a container. Depending on the size of your pot and the variety of ground-cover rose, it may also be possible to use it as a border around a larger plant.
    • Miniature: These types of roses have been cultivated to stay on the small side, so they are naturally well suited to growing in containers.
    • Patio: If you want a rose that is larger than a miniature rose but not as big as a standard rose, try a patio rose. This is a type of floribunda, bred to a smaller scale.
    • Polyantha: This type bears clusters of small roses on a shorter plant. Check the tag to make sure you are not purchasing a climbing type of polyantha.

    Container grown roses live happily for years when given what they need. Just follow these steps:

    1. Be mindful of your Grow Zone before selecting your rose.
    2. Be aware of the conditions in your small space and choose a variety that will enjoy those conditions and thrive. You can refer to the internet and my Blog Know Your Balcony Garden Growing Zone for more information.


    In a small space, selecting the right size for your rose is imperative. A rose sets its root system well before putting on much top growth; it is in fact the root system that supports the top growth. There are 2 basic rules that will make your rose happy -

    1. Adequate but not excessive room for root development. Opt for a container that is suitable for your rose type. Because roses are deep rooted, tall pots are always better than short, squat ones. The bigger the pot, the less you’ll have to water if you are not using our Olla Waterpots, more on watering later.
    2. Drainage holes are a must. Good drainage is key. We reccomend the Root Pouch grow bag range which provides excellent drainage and are light weight so that you can move the rose to optimum spaces in your small space.
    3. The best roses for growing in containers are the patio and miniature types. which can be grown in fairly small but deep pots 35 - 38cm deep so from our range of Root Pouch grow bags this would be our #22, #45 or #56 size bags (refer our size guide for measurements) . You could also try growing less vigorous, more compact ground cover roses which would attractively cascade over the pot.
    4. The roots of a rose need oxygen to breathe or they will literally drown. This is why good drainage is so important to root development and it is easy to get good drainage in a container.
    Top tip: Except for miniature roses, most roses grown in pots need to be repotted every two or three years, since they are heavy feeders that quickly exhaust potting soils and can become root bound. Planting them in Root Pouch grow bags means root circling will not happen!

      Bare Root Rose preparation


      1. Remove bare root rose from bag and clean all sawdust or paper from the roots.
      2. Place it in a bucket filled most of the way with water, we need enough water to cover all the root system well and up onto the trunk of the rose. By soaking your bare root roses, your chances of success with these rose bushes goes up as a new rose gardener. Soak for 24 hours, This refreshes them, important to not let the roots dry out at any stage of planting.
      3. Use a premium potting mix that drains well enough to diminish the likelihood of root rot while being heavy enough to hold moisture. A planting medium that drains too fast will dry out before the roots can take up moisture, and soil that is too heavy in organic material can become soggy, fostering rot. If you are set up for it, you could make your own mix using our Make Potting Mix at Home Recipe Card.
      4. Fill the pot about two-thirds full of prepared soil mix. If planting a bare root rose, mound the soil up in the center, then place the rose over the mound and spread the roots out over it. If planting a potted rose, just create a slight indentation, then remove the rose from its nursery container and place it into the pot. Fill in around the rose using the remaining potting soil, pressing it down firmly around the lower canes. The soil surface should be level with the bud union—the point where the rose is grafted to the rootstock. Fill the container right to the top with soil; it will settle with time.
      5. A lovely touch is to underplant with non-competing companion plants such as Lobelia, Allysum, Sedum


      1. When using a Waterpot Bird Olla, place the olla to the side of the centre (rose will sit in the centre) without touching the side of the bag and pack the soil around the olla to the shoulders.
      2. Water in your rose well and keep surface watering going for 2 weeks whilst keeping your olla filled and checked regularly to see if topping up is necessary. Eventually the olla will take over the watering.
      3. If using other methods of irrigation as much as possible, try to keep water off the leaves. Wet leaves can lead to powdery mildew and other fungal infections and plant diseases. The risk of this is lessened when using an olla. Potted roses require watering daily. Provide enough water that it starts to run out the bottom of the pot. Ensure pots are well drained. Never sit your potted roses in a saucer but instead allow the water to drain away.
      4. Mulch with bark or my favourite Sugar Cane mulch.

      Top tip: Except for miniature roses, most roses grown in pots need to be repotted every two or three years, since they are heavy feeders that quickly exhaust potting soils and can become root bound. Planting them in Root Pouch grow bags means root circling will not happen!


      Place your potted roses in a location that gets at least 6 hours of direct sun each day. On balconies, patios and decks, this may mean moving the pots around over the course of the day to keep them in the sun.

      Place your potted rose on a wheeled platform for extra convenience and increased display opportunities. This also makes winter protection easier: Simply wheel the container under eaves or even indoors if there are extreme conditions.


      When you place a rose within a finite amount of soil in a pot, it can quickly use up all of the nutrients available. Roses are heavy feeders but when grown in pots they require more frequent feeding than when planted in the garden.

      Apply a balanced fertiliser designed for roses every other week to make sure that your plants have access to all of the food they need for proper growth and vigorous blooming. Any balanced fertiliser works fine for roses; those marketed as "rose fertilizers" or "systemic rose care" may have additional ingredients aimed at preventing fungal diseases or pests. In spring, some growers spread a tablespoon of epsom salts around the base of the plant, which provides magnesium for healthy foliage.

      A Bed of Roses

      Root Pouch Garden beds and Mini plots make the perfect Beds of Roses!

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