Miniature roses are true roses that have been selectively bred to stay small in size. Most miniature roses have smaller flowers than standard rose bushes, but they come in the same variety of types and colors as their larger counterparts. Despite their petite size, miniature roses are extremely hardy. In fact, because they are propagated on their own roots (and not grafted onto the rootstock), they are more winter-hardy than most roses and tend to be profuse repeat bloomers.
The genetic parentage of miniature roses can be difficult to define since they've been in cultivation since the 17th century, but most originated as genetic mutations of old garden roses or China roses. Most types of miniature roses are now grown are the result of extensive breeding and are long divorced from the original species, most of which are native to Asia. However, they maintain many of the same core characteristics and also do best if planted in spring.
Miniature roses grow moderately quickly and work well in a border or as garden edging. They're also especially nice as specimen plants in containers, where they can be brought closer to eye level and truly be seen and appreciated.
|Botanical Name||Rosa spp.|
|Common Name||Miniature rose, rose|
|Plant Type||Deciduous flowering shrub|
|Mature Size||6–48 in. tall, 6–48 in. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-drained|
|Soil pH||Neutral to acidic|
|Bloom Time||Late spring, summer|
|Flower Color||Pink, red, yellow, white|
|Hardiness Zones||5–9 (USDA)|
|Native Area||None; miniature roses are a cultivated creation with no native range|
Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for Miniature Roses
Miniature Rose Care
Plant and treat your miniature rose bushes the same way you would full-size roses. To plant, dig a hole the same depth as the pot the roses came in, and about a foot wider. Carefully remove the rose plant from the pot and gently loosen its roots. If the plant's roots are tightly bound, use a sharp knife to score the sides of the root ball and try to loosen the roots.
Add some organic matter to the hole if your soil needs it, then place the rose bush in the center of the hole, with the roots spread out. Fill with soil and gently pat it down, watering thoroughly before you apply a layer of mulch. Because miniature roses' roots are also smaller than standard roses', the mulch will help protect the roots from the cold, as well as aid in moisture retention.
Like all roses, the miniature varietals thrive in full sun. Though they can tolerate a bit of shade, often times their foliage and flowers will become sparse in shady conditions. At least six to eight hours daily of sunlight should result in the best disease resistance and the most full, bloom-packed bush possible.
Roses like a rich, well-drained, loamy soil. Miniature roses are also a favorite plant for patio containers; if you choose to go this route, don't dig soil from the garden to use in your pots. Instead, buy bags of potting soil—garden soil is too heavy and can compact with the frequent waterings needed for container plants, potentially suffocating the roots. Light, nutrient-rich potting soil drains well, helping the plant avoid root rot.
How much water your rose bush will require depends on your soil and weather. A general rule of thumb is to provide roses at least one inch of water each week—this could mean daily waterings, every other day, or even just twice a week. Be sure to water deeply to promote good root development—aim your hose at the base of the plant and avoid spraying the delicate blooms directly. Due to their smaller roots, miniature roses may require more frequent watering during extreme heat, compared to their full-sized cousins.
Temperature and Humidity
Miniature roses can withstand a moderate range of temperatures but will do best around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They cannot withstand cold temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you're expecting a drop, your best bet is to bring any bushes planted in containers indoors.
Although mini roses do quite well in containers and you often see them sold as houseplants, many gardeners are disappointed by their performance indoors. Like roses, they need full sun ad medium humidity. To successfully grow them indoors, supplemental light and humidity are required.
Roses can be heavy feeders and since miniature roses continue blooming all season, regular fertilizing is essential. Use any commercial rose food or general all-purpose fertilizer, according to label instructions. To keep your plant healthy, be sure to feed it when the bush first leafs-out and after each heavy flush of bloom. Stop feeding your roses about six to eight weeks before the first expected frost to discourage new growth that could be killed back during winter.
Varieties of Miniature Roses
Like full-sized roses, miniature roses come in hundreds of varietals. Primarily, they fall into the following categories:
- Climbers: Miniature roses with a vertical rambling growth habit that can be trained to grow against supports are known as climbers. The only thing "miniature" about these roses is the size of their flowers. The award-winning 'Jeanne Lajoie' varietal doesn’t appear to be a mini at all—if grown properly, it can reach heights of more than seven feet. Similarly, the 'Snowfall' varietal is a white ever-bloomer with canes that stretch between seven and 12 feet.
- Trailers: Miniature roses with a cascading growth habit are known as trailers, and can be are wonderful in baskets and draping over walls. The 'Sequoia Gold' varietal has double flower fragrant yellow blossoms that repeat all season, while the 'Green Ice' varietal is a hardy plant with unusual blooms that start out as apricot buds, open to double white flowers, and age to a cool, light green.
- Micro-mini: This varietal is the smallest of the miniature roses, growing only six to 12 inches tall, with proportional tiny blossoms that are one-quarter to one inch in size. 'Bambino' has vibrant orange blossoms on an eight to 12-inch plant, while 'Chasin' Rainbows' has yellow flowers that are edged in scarlet.
Pruning Miniature Roses
As with other roses, you'll want to prune miniature roses just before their new growth starts in late winter or early spring. Hard pruning is not necessary. Simply prune dead or broken wood first, then trim back about one-third of the plant to maintain its shape and encourage new growth.
Watch Now: Tips and Tricks for Pruning Roses
Common Pests and Diseases
Unfortunately, miniature roses are subject to the same problems as larger roses, including black spot, a fungal disease. Powdery mildew can also be an issue. To avoid both of these inflictions, improve the air circulation around your roses by planting each bush a few feet apart and watering the plant from the base of the roots instead of overhead.
As with other roses, systemic rose-care products can also help prevent diseases and discourage pests. Always remove diseased debris and dispose of it to prevent reinfection, and keep an eye out for early signs of insect damage (Japanese beetles, thrips, mites, or chafers). Treat any sign of infection swiftly with an insecticide.