If there is anything more precious than a rose bush, that is surely a miniature rose bush. It is a well-known fact that everything is cuter when it is miniaturized, so it is no wonder that miniature roses are so popular.
Despite popular belief, these tiny roses are not a separate species. They are normal roses that have been selectively bred to grow small. They are not harder to care for than normal roses. In fact, they are more resilient than true roses because they are propagated from rooted cuttings.
Miniature roses come in all the colours and varieties as normal roses. Thanks to their size, mini roses are suited for window boxes, containers, and small garden spaces. Being low maintenance plants, they make wonderful companions for gardeners of all skill levels. Moreover, their small size allows them to be easily integrated into any garden design and even to be kept on a bookshelf, on a windowsill, or on a desk.
About Miniature Roses
- The miniature rose is a deciduous shrub that belongs to the Rosaceae family.
- The appearance of miniature roses can be traced back to the 17th century. While the exact way in which these roses came to be bred remains unknown, one thing is for sure. Miniature roses appeared as a mutation of normal garden roses. Some specialists claim that mini roses were a mutation of the native Chinese rose, Rosa chinensis Minima, also known as the Fairy rose.
- These roses were very popular in the early 1700s and the early 1800s but were later forgotten for almost a hundred years. They were rediscovered in 1919 by a Swiss man named Roulet after which the miniature flowers were named.
- The first Roulet rose was rediscovered and bred in 1936 and this variety never fell out of style again. Nowadays, there is a wide variety of colours and flower shapes.
- Most miniature roses are not intensely fragranced. As a general rule, the more fragrant a rose is, the more susceptible it will be to diseases or pests. So, don’t disregard the less-fragranced roses as they are a lot more resilient. Nonetheless, if you are looking for some heavenly fragrances, look for the ‘Scentsational’ and ‘Sweet Chariot’ cultivars.
Miniature Roses Features: An Overview
- A miniature rose bush will reach a top height of 40 cm with a similar spread. The micro-mini rose bushes can be as small as 15 cm in height.
- The flowers appear in late spring, and last until late summer, even mid-autumn in areas with mild climates. The flowers are about 4 cm wide or less. They come in shades of pink, red, white, and yellow. Despite their delicate nature, these flowers are incredibly eye-catching. The most popular varieties are the floribunda, which features a cluster of roses on each branch.
- The leaves are the same as those of normal rose bushes. They are feather-shaped with sharply toothed oval leaflets. They grow alternatively on the stems. Just like normal roses, the miniature ones can have thorns or not, depending on each cultivar.
- Just like normal roses, the miniature ones come in different varietals such as climbers, trailers, and micro roses. The climbers can grow to the normal size of climber rose bushes, but their blooms are smaller. If you like the micro roses, consider the Chasin’ Rainbows varietal. Its yellow blooms with scarlet edges are quite mesmerizing.
Growing Miniature Roses
In general, miniature roses are not picky when it comes to their growing conditions. These versatile plants prefer neutral to acidic soil with good drainage. However, to grow a tiny cascade of flowers, mini rose bushes, like all other types of roses, requires full sun exposure. So, miniature roses should get at least 6 hours of sunshine each day. Less sun exposure will not only result in fewer flowers, but it will also weaken the plant, making it more susceptible to diseases. Miniature roses are best suited for USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9.
Miniature roses can thrive both in the garden and in containers. If you choose to grow them in containers, you will need special potting soil because garden soil can be too heavy for container plants. This is valid for all plants. Garden soil is heavier and compacts easily after several watering sessions. A compact soil will suffocate a container plant.
As far as the temperature goes, miniature roses thrive in moderate temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius during the day. If temperatures drop below 0 degrees, you should move container plants indoors. At low temperatures, you should also provide adequate protection if you grow your miniature roses outdoors. If they are not exposed to harsh winds, you can just cover them with some burlap. In harsher temperatures, you can create a shape around the plants with wire, and fill that space with leaf mulch.
Regular fertilization is essential for rich blooms that will last all season. Both rose fertilizer and all-purpose fertilizer will work just fine. The best time to feed the plants is when the first leaves appear and after each blooming session. You should stop feeding the roses about 2 months before the first expected frost. You don’t want to have new growth before wintertime because it won’t survive. Pruning is not mandatory, but it will encourage vigorous growth and a rich display of blooms. The best time to prune is during late winter.
Planting Miniature Roses
If you want to plant a container plant in your garden, you will first need to find a sunny spot. Next, you will need to dig a hole. The hole should be as deep as the plant’s container and slightly wider. To make the transition easier for the rose bush, it is best if you plant it on an overcast day. A sunny day might be too stressful for the plant, which will use the available water to cool itself instead of adjusting to its new home.
To give the rose bush more chances to thrive, add some organic matter to your soil. If the roots are dense and tangled, use a sharp knife to scratch the side of the root ball and loosen them. Once the roots are spread out, place the rose bush in the centre of the hole. Lastly, fill the hole around the bush and firm down the soil. Finish it off with a good layer of mulch.
Watering Miniature Roses
Keep in mind that the smaller a plant is, the smaller its roots will be. Small roots are less capable of extracting water from the soil, so they depend on you to provide them with the necessary water. The soil should be moist at all times, but well-drained, not soggy.
The amount of water a rose bush needs depends greatly on the weather and the type of soil. As a rule of thumb, you should give the bush at least one inch of water each week. Depending on how fast the water is absorbed, water until you believe that the water has reached at least a 30 cm depth. Try to water at the base of the bushes, in order not to leave the leaves wet. Wet leaves can encourage the development of a wide range of diseases. Nonetheless, watering the leaves can be beneficial from time to time. You should do this only in the morning to give the soil enough time to dry before dawn.
Propagating Miniature Roses
The best way to propagate miniature roses is through cuttings. You will need a healthy stem from a mature plant, one with a faded bloom. The stem should have at least 3 leaves. Remove the dead flower by cutting it as close to it as possible. Next, cut the stem above a leaf or a node. Remove any wilted leaves and dip the stem in honey or in a rooting hormone.
Use a small container of at least 10 cm in diameter. Fill the container with potting mix. Stick the cutting in the soil about 3 cm deep. Make sure to water the cutting regularly until it grows some healthy roots. The soil should always be moist but not soggy. The roots should develop within 2 to six weeks. If your cutting grows new leaves, it is surely rooted. You can check after some time by gently tugging the cutting and feel if there is any resistance. Place the potted cutting in a sunny location to encourage its growth.
Miniature roses make for a great gift and they are a great addition to any garden. They can be grown in most parts of the world, and don’t need exhaustive gardening skills. Due to their small size, they can fit in any space and integrate any garden design. They look particularly well in containers such as window boxes, hanging baskets, or patio containers.
In containers, a single bush can make a great visual impact, despite its small size. In larger gardens, they look amazing in mass plantings. Some varietals can even work as ground covers. Due to their weather hardiness and disease resistance, miniature roses are very easy to care for and they will beautify your home or garden for many years. Roses are timeless symbols of love and miniature roses allow us to integrate this romantic symbolism, even in the smallest of spaces.
Want to surprise your loved ones with a special gift? A miniature rose is a perfect option!