There’s something about “mini” things we can’t help but love and Miniature Roses certainly fall into that category. They make fun additions to all kinds of gardens and there a lot of benefits to planting, growing, and caring for them.
Miniature roses come in many varieties to choose from, including some unusual colors.They’re also really easy to look after: they’re not fussy and require only good pruning, plenty of water, well-draining soil, and sunlight. Their size makes them versatile for growing in window boxes, containers, or hanging baskets.
Keep reading to learn about the characteristics of miniature roses and the different varieties you can buy. We’ll discuss how and when to plant them and prune them, how to create bouquets and decorate with them, and where to buy what you need.
What Are Miniature Roses?
Miniature roses, as the name suggests, are dwarf varieties of larger-form roses. They are available in almost all of the same colors as their bigger rose counterparts, and many species have a similar flower shape, with a high center and lots of petals. They are often referred to as spray roses or simply mini roses.
What Makes Miniature Roses So Popular?
Apart from being spectacular to look at, mini roses are a popular choice for both outdoor container planting and indoor growing. They are very hardy, disease tolerant, devoid of thorns, and are avid repeat bloomers in the right conditions.
The History of Miniature Roses
There is much speculation about the exact origins of miniature roses, and we’ll never be exactly sure where they came from or how they came about. Still, many sources suggest that they descended from a dwarf-sized Chinese rose hundreds of years ago and were sold in Asian and European markets as far back as the 18th century.
Untangling the mysterious history of the mini rose would be an article in itself, so here’s a brief look at the two most commonly accepted origin stories of these dainty delights.
The ‘Lawrenceana’ Rose
The R. ‘Lawrenceana’ is named after Miss Mary Lawrence, whose 1799 publication A Collection of Roses from Nature was the first book dedicated solely to roses. These tiny rambling beauties were said to have been discovered by Robert Sweet on the island of Mauritius, who then took either plants or seeds to England at the start of the 19th century.
It is unclear whether this dwarf variety had a double or single layer of petals, although early illustrations indicate a single layer form.
There is further speculation that mini roses made their way to Europe from Mauritius long before Sweet discovered them.
The ‘Rouletti’ Rose
History books also go on record to say the mini rose was discovered in 1917 by a Major Roulet on a windowsill in Switzerland. Some say this plant had been grown by the same Swiss family for over a hundred years and may well have been part of the original Mauritian batch of fairy roses that had made its way to Europe.
Named after Roulet, the ‘Roulettii’ may have been the same species as the ‘Lawrenceana,’ rediscovered in a different space and time.
Either way, it’s commonly accepted (although impossible to prove) that mini roses were cultivated for hundreds of years in China before finding their way overseas. They’ve been selectively bred ever since to retain their small statures.
Characteristics of Miniature Roses
Miniature roses grow to a height of 1 to 3 feet and can measure up to 2 feet wide. They’re deciduous flowering shrubs that are bushy and twiggy in appearance. They do well as edging or border plants and grow exceptionally well in containers.
Their diminutive flowers look similar to hybrid tea roses, but unlike their big cousins, they grow in clusters rather than on single stems.
They can be grown both indoors and outside.
Caring For Mini Rose Bushes
Miniature roses, like most rose varieties, require direct sunlight and consistent moisture.
If you grow them indoors, place them near a window where they receive a minimum of four hours of sunlight a day, and rotate the plant weekly so all of its leaves can benefit be exposed to the sun.
Outdoors, spray roses enjoy sunny spots with well-draining soil.
The best temperatures for mini roses are daytime temperatures of around 70F (21C) and nighttime temperatures of about 60F (15C). They are cold-hardy but keep them away from strong drafts and wind or intense artificial heat.
Their soil should remain moist at all times but not drenched, as this places them at risk of root rot. For a little extra boost, they can be treated to some organic plant food.
In addition to adequate sunlight and water, inspect your miniature rose bushes every now and then for mites or diseases. Drastic changes in a plant’s appearance or growth may indicate the presence of a pest, in which case you should treat them with a suitable product such as Neem Oil or a Complete Disease Control spray.
Pruning Miniature Rose Bushes
The first rule for pruning any plant is to use high-quality pruning shears that are clean and sterilized.
Miniature rose pruning protocols are the same as for full-sized species. During the summer blooming time, they need to be deadheaded by cutting buds off at a 45-degree angle, beneath the second stem node, in the outwards position.
In the late winter and early spring, prune them thoroughly to allow for new growth. Leaving the center of the plant slightly taller than the sides causes it to grow out in a shapely manner.
How To Grow Mini Roses
Miniature roses can grow indoors, outdoors in containers, or outdoors in the ground. Each method requires slightly different growing conditions.
Growing Miniature Roses Indoors
Spray roses are often packaged as indoor plants and given as gifts for special occasions. However, they don’t thrive indoors unless they are carefully looked after. They need regular and consistent watering and pruning.
Place indoor miniature roses in a spot where they’ll receive at least four hours of sunlight per day. If they don’t receive adequate light and are struggling to grow or bloom, consider moving them outside.
After a year, indoor mini roses should be repotted and separated if there has been lots of new growth.
Growing Miniature Roses Outdoors In Containers
When growing miniature roses outdoors in containers, the first step is choosing your plants carefully. Buy them from a reputable source and make sure they will grow in your hardiness zone. Nature Hills Nursery is a great source for a variety of miniature roses.
Next, select the right pot. Make sure they’re neither too large, nor too small. Each pot should have a depth of 10 to 12 inches with several holes at the bottom for drainage. A layer of gravel placed in the pot before the soil is added provides consistent and even drainage.
Once you have selected a container, prepare it for your mini rose by using good, well-draining soil.
After planting, put your roses in a spot that receives 4-8 hours of sunlight a day. Water and prune them consistently.
Growing Mini Roses In the Garden
Growing miniature roses outside in garden beds is simple. First, dig a hole as deep as the container in which the plant arrives, but twice as wide. Select an area with plenty of sun that has well-draining soil. Care for them as you would any larger rose variety.
Mini roses grow in garden beds and may grow into larger rose bushes than if they were in containers, but not drastically so. And not to worry — the proportion of a miniature rose’s leaves and blooms will remain the same regardless of how they’re grown!
When To Plant Mini Roses
Plant miniature roses in the spring or early summer — the best times are May through June.
Transplanting Miniature Rose Bushes
Miniature roses do best if transplanting takes place while they’re still dormant, in the early spring. Start by slowly acclimating your roses to the outdoors by first placing them in shady locations, and then gradually exposing them to more and more sun. Do this for a few days to prevent a sudden change in climate and conditions from stressing them.
After this, settle them in a spot on the patio, balcony, or in a garden bed that has plenty of sun, and they should be good to go for the new blooming season.
Different Varieties of Miniature Roses
Miniature roses are available in a vast range of colors and varieties, just like larger roses. Here are a few popular types of miniature roses to consider for your garden or home.
With several flowers on each stem, Floribunda roses are both beautiful and bountiful. They’re hardy, disease tolerant, relatively low-maintenance, and bloom continuously throughout the season.
These beauties have the same elegant look as hybrid tea roses but grow multiple blooms on each stem that repeat throughout the season, like Floribundas. They’re tall, tough plants guaranteed to add a sense of romance to the garden.
What could be prettier than gorgeous little roses climbing up trellises, fences, and other structures? Climbing minis are hugely popular and available in a range of colors. They climb exceptionally well with a bit of support and training.
Miniature Shrub Varieties
Shrub varieties are wonderful filling plants for hedges, groundcover, and other landscaping designs. These already-hardy plants are becoming tougher and more disease-resistant, making them easier to maintain.
Creating Bouquets and Decorating With Miniature Roses
Miniature roses are lovely additions to bouquets and can either be styled alone as ‘mini bouquets’ or alongside other flowers as fillers.
To create a small bouquet or arrangement, cut a few stems to the desired length, use an elastic band to keep them together, and wrap the stems in tissue paper for an easy, classic, yet elegant gift. You can’t go wrong with mini roses arranged in a vase with some filler flowers.
Add mini roses to a bouquet or arrangement of larger flowers for visual interest.
Where To Buy Miniature Roses
Miniature roses can be found at nurseries and garden centers, including online at Nature Hills Nursery.
Where to buy bouquets featuring miniature roses
Miniature roses are both beautiful, versatile, hardy, and come in many shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from. Their small size means you can grown them even if you have no garden at all. With the right care and attention, they’ll delight you with their tiny blooms for years to come.
Do you grow Mini Roses in your home or garden? We’d love to hear about your experiences with them in the comments section — especially any tips or tricks you’d like to share! To read about other roses, click here for our other rose blog posts.