Water well after planting, and never let the soil dry out until the plant is established and starts to show signs of new growth. After that, water when the surface of the soil starts to dry out. Heavier watering will naturally be needed if the soil is very sandy or if the temperatures are high. If possible apply water to the ground and not to the foliage and flowers to reduce disease incidence.
If you are going to be growing your miniature roses in containers, give them a soilless mix of peat moss with vermiculite and/or perilite. Never use garden soil in containers as it is too heavy for good root growth in limited spaces. Because of this limited space, containers will also need to be watered more often than the same roses in the ground. All roses like a soil with a neutral to slightly acid pH. If you're not sure of the pH of your soil, have it tested or test it yourself with a soil testing kit. Use lime to raise the pH, or sulfur to lower it.
For more information see file About Watering Equipment.
Fertilizing is important, for all types of roses are heavy feeders. There are several choices regarding fertilizer. You can incorporate a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote into the soil or potting mix at the beginning of the year, and not need to feed again for the season. If you don't use this method, a balanced fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 should be incorporated into the soil once a month from early spring until mid-summer. An alternative to this is to feed regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer. With the use of a proportioner, you can fertilize every time you water. For container-grown plants, plan to use a water-soluble fertilizer once a week, mixing it at one-quarter the recommended dilution rate.
For more information see file About Fertilizers.
Keep the area well weeded. Mulch will reduce weeds while conserving moisture in the soil and keeping it evenly cool. Black plastic mulch is also quite effective; cut small holes in the mulch so water and fertilizer can reach the roots. There are also a number of pre emergent herbicides that can be applied to the soil during spring and summer that will prevent weed seeds from sprouting and will not damage the roses.
For more information see file on Using Mulch.
Each year in early spring, prune miniature roses that were in the garden the year before. Cut them down to one-third of their ultimate height, and thin out the canes, leaving six to eight of the newest and strongest ones. Try to prune to an outward facing bud to keep the plants symmetrical and well shaped. To prune, cut at a 45° angle just above outward facing buds. Open the plant's center by reducing the number of twigs. Covering pruning wounds with a sealer is not important because the wounds are small. But thick stems may require sealing.
If you want to keep a miniature rose compact, prune it back severely every year. Otherwise prune lightly as you would a floribunda bush rose.
During the blooming, remove all blooms as they start to fade to keep the plant growing well and blooming heavily. Clip them off just above an outward facing leaf. If plants start to grow too tall, you can be generous in the amount of cane you remove. Just leave at least two leaves on each cane when deadheading.
Sometimes strong shoots appear and rapidly grow past all the other shoots. Remove these shoots for balanced growth.
Good Pruning Shears For Working With Miniature Roses
Fiskars 9921 Softouch Micro-Tip Pruning Snip
- Fiskars pruning snip is ideal for the precision trimming and shaping of flowers and small plants
- Pruning snip has a 1-1/2-inch rust-resistant stainless steel blade
- The 5-inch softouch ergonomic handle fits well in small to medium sized hands
- Use for flower and herb gardening, bonsai, houseplant maintenance, and floral arranging
- Limited-lifetime warranty
Amazon.com ReviewThe Softouch microtip pruning snip from Fiskars is designed to snip away delicate tips of flowers and foliage while giving you a comfortable grip and fit. This floral snip is about 5 inches long, has a Softouch ergonomic handle with a comfortable black grip around plastic construction, and fits well in small- to medium-size hands. The 1-1/2-inch blade is made of rust-resistant stainless steel. It is quite sharp and uses Fiskars's microtip blade design for precision in trimming and shaping flowers and small plants. The tool can be locked in the closed position with a small plastic latch when not in use. Use this snip for flower and herb gardening, bonsai, houseplant maintenance, and floral arranging. The packaging includes some useful tips for proper floral pruning techniques.
For more information see files on Pruning Shrubs and Choosing Pruning Tools
When winter comes, minis will benefit from a protective mulch of shredded oak leaves or leftover Christmas tree boughs. Although minis are quite hardy, the mulch will prevent the roots from being loosened and heaved from the soil during winter thaws.
Roses grown outdoors in containers can either be brought inside to grow for the winter, most successfully done if you have an artificial light garden, or allowed to go dormant and stored over winter in a dark and cool, but not freezing area. Be sure the medium is watered before winter storage, and draw a plastic bag over the canes to prevent them from drying out. When spring weather has settled, prune and water them and move them outdoors to grow.
For more information see file on Winter Protection For Plants and Plant Protection Supplies.