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5 February 2016

Patio Roses

My wife has informed me that she would like a patio rose to stand outside the back door, so I thought I should do some research before parting with my money. Here are a few things to bear in mind when choosing a rose for container growing.

Only a few roses are suitable for growing in containers, as roses generally have long shallow roots for anchoring the plant and searching out moisture and nutrients. Make sure that you plant your rose in a deep container if you want a good show of blooms.

Patio and miniature roses are the best types for container growing, as they can be grown in fairly small but deep pots 23-35cm (9-14in) deep. There is even a range of miniature patio climbers, reaching a height of about 2m (6½ ft). Choose half standards (roses on a trunk) reaching a height of about 1.5m (5ft) for a formal effect.

Amateur Gardening magazine's top five roses for containers are

1) ‘Lady of Shalott’ Gorgeous orange-red chalice-shaped blooms produced throughout the summer. Hardy and robust.

2) ‘Ruby Anniversary’ Puts on a dazzling show of ruby red flowers. Grows to 2ft (60cm).

3) ‘Summertime’ This is a miniature climber, so needs to be given some sort of structure to grow into, such as an obelisk, which will fit within the container. Pale yellow, scented flowers.

4) ‘Togmeister’ A cluster rose with bright yellow, scented double blooms, reaching 2.5ft (75cm).

5) ‘Katharina Zeimet’ Small pure white double flowers on plants up to 2ft (60cm).

Pot-grown roses can be planted into patio containers at any time of the year, but around the end of February is a good time, as plants are just about to start into growth. February - March is the best time to plant bare-root roses, too.

Roses love sunshine and should ideally be in the sun for at least half the day. However it is important that container-grown plants do not dry out, so if possible position the container so that it is shaded for part of the day, leaving the plant itself in full sun.

Before planting, move your container to it's final destination, as it may be too heavy when filled with compost. Keep the container raised on feet and put a layer of gravel at the bottom to ensure good winter drainage.

The best compost to use is a loam-based John Innes No 3 to which 10 to 20 percent multi-purpose compost or very well-rotted manure may be added for richness.

Roses use up food reserves quickly and will perform best if top-dressed each spring with a granular rose fertiliser. Additional feeding may be required as per the manufacturer's recommendations, but don't feed after August as soft growth may be damaged by cold winters.

Your rose will benfit from mulching with a 5cm (2in) top-dressing of well-rotted garden compost or manure to help retain moisture and enrich the compost. Finally remove the top 5cm (2in) of compost and replace with a fresh layer every two years.

As with other types of rose, patio roses will need pruning, and this should be carried out during late winter when growth is just resuming, usually in mid-February in the south, but wait until March in northern and colder areas.

Patio roses are compact bushes with tight clusters of small flowers, and these should be pruned in the same way as full-sized floribunda (cluster-flowered) roses, but on a smaller scale. However, do not cut back newly planted dwarf roses too severely.

These roses often produce a mass of twiggy growth which needs to be removed, after which the main stems should be reduced by about one-third to a healthy bud or lateral. Remove entirely any over-vigorous shoots that spoil the shape of the bush.

Deadheading should be carried out in summer after flowering.

I hope this information has been of use, and that you will soon be looking forward to some beautiful blooms on your patio.
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