Ground cover rose 'Suffolk' growing in a container

Growing roses in pots

Some roses will thrive in pots – follows our tips on getting the best results

There’s a huge variety of roses to grow, from huge rambling roses to smaller shrub and patio types. Many perform well in pots and containers, and can therefore be grown in the smallest of gardens.


It’s best not to grow rambling roses in pots. These are much more vigorous than other types of roses and would need a very large container to provide sufficient root space needed to sustain their growth. Whichever rose you settle on, most will respond well to deadheading. Discover how to deadhead roses.

More roses content:

Follow our guide to growing roses in pots.

Which roses to grow

Climbing rose 'Iceberg'
Climbing rose ‘Iceberg’

From sprawling climbers to shrub, hybrid and ground cover types, there’s a rose or two for your garden. To make sure your rose is healthy and flowers well, it’s essential to choose the right type and size of pot.

Roses for small pots

The obvious roses for container growing are patio or miniature types, which have been specifically bred for growing in pots and have shallower roots and compact growth. Choose a minimum pot size of 30cm x 30cm.

Varieties to try:

  • ‘Raspberry Royale’
  • ‘Stars ‘n’ Stripes’
  • ‘Anna Ford’
  • ‘Sweet Dream’

Roses for mid-size pots

Ground cover rose 'Suffolk'
Ground cover rose ‘Suffolk’

Ground cover roses and shorter climbing roses, which have been bred for growing on a patio, are bigger than the miniature types, but still compact enough to be happy in a container. Aim for a minimum pot size of 45cm x 45cm.

Varieties to try:

Roses for large pots

Rose 'Lady of Shalott'
Rose ‘Lady of Shalott’

If you want to grow bush, shrub or climbing roses in a pot, you’ll need a large container as these are vigorous plants. This is a much bigger investment in terms of pot and compost, but it’s vital if you want your rose to thrive for years to come. We recommend a minimum pot size of 60cm x 60cm.

Varieties to try:

Keeping pot-grown roses healthy

Ground cover rose 'Suffolk' growing in a container
Ground cover rose ‘Suffolk’ growing in a container
  • Use loam-based composts for plants in long-term containers. This will ensure the pot won’t dry out too quickly, plus loam holds nutrients well
  • Keep on top of watering, especially in summer. Compost should be moist but not saturated
  • Raise pots up onto bricks or pot feet so excess water can drain away easily
  • Mix a dose of granular rose feed into the compost at planting. Each spring sprinkle more into the surface of the compost
  • Feed every couple of weeks through through the summer with a balanced liquid feed to keep the leaves healthy and promote flowering
  • Keep an eye out for aphids, as roses in pots are more vulnerable to pest attack. Squish them off with your fingers. Alternatively, there are sprays available
  • Top-dress your rose every other year in spring by removing the top 5cm of compost and replacing it with a fresh layer
  • Re-pot larger shrub, bush and climbing roses every two to three years into a pot bigger than previously used, and filled with fresh compost