Indoor Mini Rose Care
Miniature roses can bring beauty to any outdoor space, but did you know that you can successfully grow them indoors as well? Recently one of our contributors asked us to make a care guide for these lovely plants, so of course we set to work on it!
Before I delve into the care, I need to include this anecdote — in the ‘70s when my parents were living in their first apartment together my dad used to grow mini roses indoors since they didn’t have outdoor growing space. Due to having grow lights on the landlord, who if I remember correctly was a former police officer, started to become a bit… curious about what was being grown. Needless to say they found him knocking at their door one day, so my dad brought him in to show off his collection of gorgeous minis. I can’t help but laugh when I imagine the look on the landlord’s face.
Miniature roses need as much sunlight as you can provide them indoors, and possibly more. In fact, if you have them in a south facing window they should be okay, but any other exposure and they will need a grow light otherwise they won’t bloom for you and will become etiolated. Give them at least 6 hours of bright sunlight and if you are using a grow light, remember to turn it off at night as roses need periods of darkness.
Roses of all types and sizes are thirsty plants that require quite a bit of water to keep them happy, so check the soil of your mini every day or two. If you stick your finger about an inch into the soil and it is dry, then you should definitely water your rose. Thoroughly water until you see water coming out of the drainage holes, but don’t let them sit in that run off otherwise it may cause root rot. Roses like damp soil, neither soggy nor dry.
Roses grow best in and really need higher humidity than what is found in the average home, so it is best to give them a pebble tray or place a humidifier near them. If you aren’t sure what a pebble tray is, you put pebbles, or rocks, into a tray that is larger than the plant’s pot, pour in water but don’t let it cover the pebbles/rocks, and then place the pot on top. Refill once the water fully evaporates. This higher humidity will also help prevent against spider mites, which love roses.
Mini roses are heat tolerant to a degree, but will thrive in typical household temperatures. The perfect daytime temperature for them is 70-75°F, or 21-24°C, with nighttime temperatures between 60-65°F, or 15-19°C. If the temperature gets below 50°F, or 10°C, for an extended period of time they will stop blooming.
Use a good quality rose fertilizer during the growing season, which is spring/summer. Refrain from giving them fertilizer during the colder months when they aren’t actively blooming or growing. Also, be sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer as too much can cause the roots to burn.
Deadheading means to cut off the spent, or dead, blooms, as this will encourage the plant to produce more blooms. Minis don’t follow the same deadheading rules as full sized roses, so you can cut the flower off at a 45° angle anywhere on the stem, even directly below the flower head. Always remember to do this using sharp clean shears or a knife and never your fingers, as that will damage the stem.
Pruning is to be done, if needed, late in the fall, late in the winter, or very early in the spring. Remove all of the dead or broken stems with clean, sharp shears, and shape the plant however you want to. Remember when pruning to cut the stem at a 45° angle, make the cut above a leaf with five leaflets (or a 1/4 in, or 1 cm, above a leaf axil), and never prune the stems shorter than 3 in, or 7.6 cm. Pruning yearly will help keep the plant a nice shape, and will encourage new growth come the growing season.
Although there are types of miniature roses that have been created to do better inside, roses will thrive outside.
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