Surprise: Queen of blooms grows well in containers

A rose will still smell as sweet if it's grown in a pot and not a plot.

In The Garden

April 15, 2002|By Kathy Van Mullekom | By Kathy Van Mullekom,Knight Ridder / Tribune

Container gardening continues to grow in popularity, as people look for ways to garden smarter and easier.

Unfortunately, most people only think about container gardening when it comes to fixing window boxes or creating a splashy display of annuals in pots to line the front steps.

Think out of the container -- look at growing all sorts of plants in decorative containers, everything from veggies, herbs and flowering perennials to small shrubs and trees.

This year, two container-loving roses are winners of the All-America Rose Selections award.

Yes, you can grow roses in pots, if they are the right size and offer good drainage.

Putting roses in pots means your apartment patio, condo balcony or townhouse deck can bloom with the best of any gardens featured on TV or in magazines.

These two repeat-blooming AARS roses will be at garden centers later this spring. The winners are:

* 'Love & Peace,' a classic hybrid tea that produces golden yellow blooms with pink edges and a sweet fruity scent. One of its parents is the popular 'Peace' rose.

* 'Starry Night,' which displays pure white dogwood-like flowers. It's a spreading, disease-resistant landscape shrub that shines with a constellation of blooms.

"Both varieties are so versatile that they can be planted anywhere, provided they receive at least six hours of sunlight," says AARS president Phil Edmunds.

Another good variety that works well in containers is 'Sun Sprinkles' -- a miniature rose with yellow blooms and a spicy scent. It was an award winner last year.

Use these tips from the AARS to start your own container-grown garden of roses:

* Choose a container at least 18 inches in diameter and 14 inches deep. The size of the container does govern the size of the rose you can grow.

Minis and smaller shrub roses may be what you need if you want to maintain a small garden.

* Consider using decay-resistant wooden tubs and boxes, terra-cotta or glazed pottery, plastic pots and even the new decorative fiberglass pots.

Remember, different materials behave differently. Porous terra-cotta or clay pots allow water and air to pass through, but plastic does not.

Therefore, roses planted in clay pots will need more frequent watering than those in plastic pots.

Plastic pots, however, can become very hot in summer sun. To keep rose roots from getting overheated, shade the plastic pots with smaller containers filled with complementary sun-loving plants.

* Make sure your pots have excellent drainage. Create extra holes if necessary, and provide cleats or feet to keep the container from sitting in water. Root rot can occur if pots sit in water.

* Plant roses in a ready-made, soil-free mix or a growing medium made of sandy loam and organic matter, such as peat moss.

* Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy, and feed regularly with a liquid or time-release fertilizer.

* Give your roses at least six hours of direct morning or midday sun. Good air movement -- but not direct wind -- keeps foliage dry and discourages disease.

* If winter temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, be prepared to move them into a garage temporarily or some protected corner outside your home.

Wrapping pots with some insulating material also can help protect plant roots during extreme cold.

How to grow roses

If you have questions about growing roses, the American Rose Society and Home Depot are sponsoring rose-growing seminars at many Home Depot stores nationwide. It's all part of the celebration of 2002 as Year of the Rose.

The yearlong recognition of the rose celebrates its heritage as the universal symbol of love, friendship, beauty and peace. Plus, it's America's national floral emblem, says the rose society.

For more information on this year's award-winning roses, visit the AARS at http: / / www.rose.org.

To see if a rose-growing seminar will be held at the Home Depot near you, visit the American Rose Society at

http: / / www.ars.org.

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