Journal of a rose gardener...to pot or not to pot 21/07/16
We are often asked by customers whether they can place the rose which they have chosen in a pot in the garden. If the rose is a patio (for example. Diamond, Elizabeth, Queen Mother) , compact floribunda (Ballerina, Darcy Bussell, Flower Carpet) or compact climber, (Cinderella, Good as Gold, Star Performer) it will be happy in a pot, but hybrid tea roses, larger climbers and ramblers will struggle.
We advise that the pot should be at least 45 cm wide and deep, and able to hold approximately 25 litres of compost. John Innes No 3 (£5.99) is often recommended, but within the nursery we use a multi-purpose compost with a moisture control and feed mix (£5.99 or 2 for £10) which we have also found to be excellent.
Water new roses well before planting, soaking the rootball, after planting, and regularly from spring to autumn. In the hot weather we are currently experiencing we would recommend checking pots daily, as water evaporates quickly from the compost, particularly when there is also a strong wind. Be careful not to over water though.
You must also feed a containerised rose as it is unable to seek out nutrients for itself. A rose specific feed is always best and here we use Uncle Toms Rose Tonic (£15.99) and Plant Magic (£9.99). We find that foliar feeding is better for potted roses as the plant can take it up directly through the leaves. Pot drench feeding is useful every so often but most of the feed will wash through the pot when watering. So try to stick mainly to foliar feeding. Do this early morning or late evening to avoid leaf scorch.
Most roses require at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day, so bear this in mind when placing your pot.