The Q&A Archives: Care for Container Rose Bush

Question: I live in an apartment and can only grow plants in containers. I recently purchased a rose and it is still in its original pot. Can I keep it in this container permanently? Will it overwinter OK? It is on an open porch somewhat protected from the weather. How should I care for it now and during the winter?

Answer: You should probably transplant the rose from its nursery pot into a larger container. The small pot and minimal soil volume will dry out quickly and, come winter, will be too susceptible to freezing and thawing. Use a planter that is at least one size larger than the one you have now, and preferably at least 12 inches across and 12 inches deep. Use a purchased potting mix; you can add some bagged compost to the mix at planting time if you like.

Come fall, get a piece of chicken wire, form a cylinder around the rose canes, and fill the chicken wire with straw or dried leaves. This will help insulate the branches from the cold. Water the plant thoroughly once before adding this protection, then it should be fine if it is in a protected spot out of direct sun. You might check the soil occasionally to be sure it hasn't dried out.

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