The Critical Things for Growing Miniature Roses Indoors

Growing miniature roses indoors is one of those things that is often "forced" upon us by well-meaning friends or relatives who come bearing mini roses as gifts.

I mean, "What do you do with this thing once they've left?"

The Obvious

The obvious answer is to chuck it out the door or give it to a neighbor.

But this isn't always practical or a desired course of action (hey! it's a rose!). :-)

So what do you need to do in order to grow this rose indoors?

Growing Miniature Roses and Watering

Growing Miniature Roses means getting your watering techniques right. Soak the plant until water runs out the bottom of the saucer. Use lukewarm water. Now wait. Every day put your finger on the soil surface and see if your finger comes away dry or damp. If damp – do nothing. Do not water if the soil is still damp, it doesn't matter how long this is between waterings. If the soil is damp, the plant doesn't require any more water.

(I note that more plants are killed from overwatering than underwatering)

If your finger comes away dry. Then water and soak the plant until water runs out the bottom of the pot. Use lukewarm water – then see above. Repeat this – water if dry to touch, walk away if finger is dampish.

I note you can feed it a balanced formula house plant liquid fertilizer if you intend to keep the plant; this will encourage it to grow and keep the blooms happy. Most of these plants are fed with long-term fertilizers in the greenhouse that will keep them happy while they are blooming in your home. After that of course, all bets are off.

Light Levels

Growing miniature roses means getting the light levels correct.

This plant has been grown in a greenhouse and likely under lights in that greenhouse to force it into bloom. The reality is that it has a high capacity for light and your home isn't going to have enough for it. (sorry). Without grow lights, all you can do is delay the inevitable reaction to not getting what it wants.

Put this plant in the sunniest south facing window you have. If not south, then go west. If not west, then go east with it. But the sunniest windowsill in the place gets the rose.

If you have grow lights, use them. Ensure the light is only several inches off the top of the plant to make sure it gets enough light. This of course is good for the plant but not so good for enjoying it as it isn't all that visible with lights sitting right on top of it. (But hey – what do you want- to enjoy the rose or keep it alive forever?)

Temperature Control

Growing miniature roses means temperatures should be cool. Believe it or not but cool is good. This will delay the flowering process and slow down plant growth. Your flowers will last longer and the plant will not grow and stretch too much. Low 60's F is ideal.

What do I do with it once it is finished blooming?

This depends on whether you have an outdoors garden or a balcony/deck with full sunlight. The plant will thrive quite nicely outdoors (see below) and potted into a larger container, it will grow and produce another crop of flowers in the full sunshine of a deck. But if you have neither outdoor gardens, full sunshine, or grow lights indoors, then growing miniature roses to bloom again is not likely going to happen.

It needs full sunshine to produce blossoms. So you grow it as a green plant (and maybe hope for a sporadic bloom), you buy grow-lights or you toss or give it away to somebody who can grow it on.

Book cover tender roses


What about growing miniature roses outside? For sure, outside is good. As soon as the last frost is over, take the rose out of the pot and put it in a full sun location. It will require a full 6-8 hours of sunlight a day to bloom. And yes, it is quite hardy (see the other articles on pruning and taking care of miniature roses) so it should live quite nicely for you.

If you put it outside too early and it gets frosted, it will not be happy. Because the leaves are tender from living indoors, you'll likely see them drop off. As long as it was a light frost and not a heavy freeze, the roots will be fine and will soon throw new shoots. But if it was a heavy freeze, then the poor thing is compost.

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