How not to kill your miniature roses

I have been in love with roses ever since I can remember, nothing has enchanted me more than their elegant and sophisticated design. And while they are too big for my apartment, I have turned to the miniature hybrids to satisfy my need for fresh uncut roses all year round, only to watch them wither and die just as quickly as their cut brethren. So, what gives?

Miniature roses, despite their small stature, are true roses, engineered to stay small and compact in size. Despite this, they have often been negatively referred to as hothouse roses because of the ideal conditions that they are grown in. Now, outdoors, you will probably have no trouble with these little guys, but here you focus on the apartment gardening.

Pink rose

So come on a journey with me, where I will share with you step by step how to get healthy, thriving miniature roses indoors.


1. Light – Aways look on the bright side.

The number one reason, why we fail to keep our miniature roses happy and healthy indoors is insufficient light. I live in a tempered climate and miniature roses need full sun. The source of all my issues with them has been not enough hours of light per day.

A great way to fix this is to supplement by using a grow light, nothing too high tech, I just use a normal IKEA RANARP work lamp (I chose this in order to adjust my light where I needed it to be) and a VÄXER LED bulb for cultivation PAR30 E27. I really wanted to see how light affects these hardy little beasts so I went a step further. So for the sake of experimentation, I went a little bit extreme: firstly, I chose two beautiful miniature roses and separated them so I can create a multicolored potted bouche, then pruned them back and placed them under my light – basically I hacked and slashed. 


miniature rose

indoor miniature rose

indoor miniature rose plant

My orange roses seem to have gotten shaded by the multicolored ones, but overall, this was a success. Just make sure that they are not too close to the light since they do get scorched. Also, the corner of the room they reside in is pretty dark. This was intentional because I wanted to see how efficient the light is. As a final thought, I must say that for the price of the bulb this was a definite win for me. I tried the same thing with an even smaller rose variety and the results were just as successful.


2. Soil – When in doubt just add perlite.

Just like any other rose that you grow in a container, miniature roses like rich, well-drained soil. I use a mix of coco coir, perlite, and orchid bark.


3. Water & Fertilizer – Refreshed and rejuvenated.

Make no mistake, these guys are moisture-loving and heavy feeders. Don’t be fooled by their miniature design, they are still true roses. And when you grow things under lights, everything is accelerated. So always make sure you feed accordingly with a rose purpose fertilizer for that lush new growth and beautiful blooms, and that you never let them get bone dry for too long. I made that mistake pretty early on, and my roses ended up crispy and dry. Eeeek! Thankfully with a little bit of pruning all was well and they bounced back. So make sure they are always refreshed and rejuvenated.


4. Pruning – To trim or not to trim, that is the question.

Just like any other roses, I trim mine very much the same (minus the hard pruning I did at the beginning, that was experimental). I prune spent flowers and dead wood first by making a cut at an angle. Then I focus on the shape I want by trimming it by half. I do this to ensure that light is evenly dispersed and that no part of the plant shades another.


5. Temperature & Humidity – Cozy for comfort.

When it comes to our household environment, miniature roses, just like us, like things cozy and enjoy the same temperature we do, and as for humidity, somewhere between 40 – 60% should be fine. I have a lot of tropicals in my indoor garden and I can tell you that my roses are not that fussed. However, if your environment is too try, especially in the winter months, I would suggest investing in a good humidifier or placing them on a tray of pebbles and fill it up with water. Just make sure the pot isn’t submerged in water.


6. Troubleshooting common issues – Those dreaded houseplant pests.

Just like the regular roses, mini roses are unfortunately susceptible to the same problems. Pests are often attracted to these guys, so watch out for creepy crawlies. Also, poor air ventilation can lead to all sorts of fungal infections like black spot and powdery mildew. The trick here is to keep them clean, trimmed, and dust-free. Water in the morning so that the plant has time to absorb the nutrients and does not pool in the saucer. Ensure that your home has a comfortable level of humidity and that the air does not get stale (refrain from misting as to not cause any bacterial infection).

To recap, the trick for thriving miniature roses is to provide at least 8 hours of full sun, supplemented via grow lights. Keep them well-fed and watered and make sure that the environment is clean, well ventilated, and at the humidity is at a comfortable level and keep a vigilant eye on pests. You can take some preventive measures, in the form of natural horticultural soap, I go the non-toxic route since I do not like chemicals around me or my pets.

That’s about it for miniature rose care. I found out that once you supplement the necessary hours of light per day, in combination with good airflow, and good pest management, they are a joy to grow indoors.

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