Who doesn’t love a rose bouquet? Take it a step further and simply plant yourself a potted rose plant indoors! But here’s the thing, how do you take care of them?
As a general rule, provide indoor roses with 6 hours of full sun daily. This is the secret to keeping a rose houseplant thriving indoors. Other basic care such as daily watering, weekly pest checks, monthly fertilizing, and yearly pruning are good practices to ensure the plant’s health flourishes.
Grab your trowel, and let’s dig a little deeper into indoor roses and the best way to care for them in your home.
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Table of contents
What Type of Roses Can I Grow Indoors?
Roses can grow as small as 8 inches to as large as 50 feet. Obviously, you don’t want to be developing a 50 feet rose monster in your living room. It’d be pretty dope, but let’s try not to entertain the idea of a rose plant hulking out inside and overtaking your home.
So here are the most suitable rose varieties perfect for growing indoors:
- Miniature roses (also known as patio roses)
- Meidiland roses
- Polyantha roses
- China roses
The most popular indoor variety out of this bunch is the miniature roses. Because true to its name, its compact growth suits a home’s small space, just like a houseplant. The rest of the listed variety shares the same growth habit; however, they are better planted in a container than in a pot.
This is due mainly to their height. For example, Meidiland roses’ mature size can be anywhere from 1 ½ to 5 feet tall. So if you want a tried and true rose houseplant that won’t eventually tower over you, stick to the miniature roses.
What do Roses Need to Thrive Indoors and Outdoors?
- 6 (or more) Hours of Full Sun
Roses are sun-loving plants, so providing them with plenty of light is a must. Most of the time, indoor roses don’t develop well because they don’t receive enough sunlight compared to their outdoor counterparts. There are two ways to compensate for this:
- Provide supplemental lighting using artificial lights. A good rule of thumb is the lower the intensity of the grow light, the longer it should stay switched on for the roses’ needs.
- Place your potted rose plant outdoors under the sun daily. This is arguably a better method; however, you should always check for pests before bringing the plant back inside. You don’t want to accidentally set off an infestation on your other houseplants.
- Well-draining soil that retains moisture
Most potting soil or mixes have a good soil texture for it to hold water. It should be crumbly, loose, and contains aerating materials such as perlite to aid in drainage. Like most plants, roses can be subjected to rotting roots if there’s excess water in the soil.
In indoor settings, this isn’t much of a problem. Your rose plant will be fine as long as you plant it in a pot with drain holes and good quality potting soil. Some people have opted to use a cactus soil mix for their roses because they provide the best drainage with plenty of aerated materials inside. Although, it’s better to use regular potting soil and add in perlite or vermiculite – after all, roses are not drought tolerant like cactus. They can’t afford a dry soil environment to survive on.
Outdoors, however, depending on the garden soil, it could be a hit or miss. It’s more work because the ground usually needs to be prepped and amended to provide a good soil environment for the roses. Again, it entirely depends on the rose variety chosen. But it’s generally preferable to have loamy soil enriched with compost for the roses to grow in.
- Biweekly to monthly fertilizing with fertilizers high in Phosphorus
Fertilizers are typically recommended for boosting a plant’s growth. Roses, in particular, need a lot because they are heavy feeders. This means they need a constant supply of nutrients to aid through their entire growth period. A pretty great rose fertilizer I’d recommend is Dr. Earth Bud & Bloom Fertilizer which you can find on Amazon.
Indoor roses usually require fertilizing more frequently than outdoor roses. However, this can be a bit of a hit or miss. Purely because the fertilizer won’t have anywhere to go apart from staying in the pot. This may lead to salt build-up in the soil, causing the roots to ‘burn’.
Here’s an easy way to go about fertilizing your roses:
- Only fertilize at the end of their blooming period.
- Used half the fertilizer portion each time, take it slow or you could burn the roots.
- Stop fertilizing two months before the predicted first Fall freeze in your area. This is so that you don’t encourage new growth that will get damaged in the colder seasons.
- If you’re growing roses from scratch, fertilize them when the first set of leaves grows.
Outdoors roses are commonly fertilized with this same technique. However, if the garden soil is fertile enough, it’s usually not needed.
- Daily watering to prevent soil from drying out
Watering is definitely more frequent for indoor potted roses. This also applies to smaller rose varieties because they often have shallow roots – meaning they usually derive their water source from the top half of the soil. Despite that, it’s always a good idea to do the knuckle-test method in the soil before watering.
Outdoor roses are usually watered every other day or even longer. Since they are mulched, this makes it possible for the soil to retain moisture for longer. However, it’s worth noting that this also entirely depends on the type of garden soil. For example, clay soil will hold on to water longer, so infrequent watering is better. But sandy soil drains water very quickly, so frequent watering is needed. Whichever the case, always check the soil moisture before watering.
- Yearly pruning after spring to get rid of dead/damaged/old growth
Pruning roses highly depends on the type of rose you have. However, they always start the same way:
- First, get rid of any dead stems/canes/branches, spent blooms, and dead leaves.
- Then remove any damaged and old stems/canes/branches/foliage.
- Lastly, cut certain sections of the roses back to encourage new growth into a preferred form.
With a sharp cutting tool, roses should be pruned at a slanted angle, about 45 degrees. The is to ensure water doesn’t sit on the newly cut section of the plant, which can cause rot. Apart from that, make sure that the inner areas of the plant are thinned down to prevent overcrowding.
How to Maintain Indoor Roses to Keep Them Flourishing?
In other words, how do you keep indoor roses alive? As a whole, give roses supplemental lighting to compensate for the lack of full sun. If possible, bring them outdoors to receive their required 6 hours of full sun.
Everything I mentioned in the previous section is pretty much all you need to keep your indoor roses happy. However, if you noticed your roses struggling despite giving it the best care, there are two things you need to check for: pests and diseases.
The most common pests to infest indoor roses are red spider mites. They’re a bit hard to spot because they are tiny. But if you see any wispy webs on your roses, then chances are it has pests.
For diseases, black spot or powdery mildew tends to plague most roses. Though some have been cultivated to be disease-resistant. Indoor roses will only suffer from these diseases if they are subjected to improper care.
You can read more about houseplant pests and diseases and how to get rid of them in this article.
If your roses are still not doing well despite that, it may be time to plant them outdoors. Sometimes, the surrounding environment in a home is just not enough to keep the roses happy. It could be due to fluctuating temperatures, lack of humidity, or other factors. But at least, you still get to keep them around, and they’ll do way better growing outside.
All the best with taking care of your beautiful indoor roses. May they flourish and bloom evermore in your home. Happy planting!