Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Miniature Roses

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Hey All – looking for something a little different for your special Valentine this year?  Rita Lynn, a View co-editor, wrote this great article on miniature roses in honor of our upcoming holiday.

Miniature roses can be found in most flower shops and make the perfect present – beautiful flowers in February and then can be planted outside in May!

If you do not receive our monthly e-newsletter, the View, you can sign up at http://www.cedarvalleyarboretum.org/newsletter.asp.

See you in the gardens,


At this time of year, we look for something to brighten our days and put a little life into our homes.  Fortunately, local stores have displays of delightful miniature roses (Rosa chinenses ‘Minima’) right when we need them.  Many cultivars of these plants are available, and they come in just about every flower color except blue.  Plant sizes range from 3 to 18 inches, and their flowers, by definition, are 1 ½ inches or less in size.  They look delicate, but with a little care, they can be amazingly hardy and provide months, if not years, of pleasure.

Like all roses, the miniatures require 6 hours or more of direct sunlight a day to thrive.  They prefer temperatures of around 70° during the day and 60° at night, and they do best in a loose, porous, acidic soil.  They need consistent soil moisture and appreciate applications of a complete fertilizer about once or twice a month when flowering.  Good ventilation helps reduce the likelihood of their developing fungal disease.  Finally, they prefer humidity of 50 to 55%.  For most homes, this means using a humidifier or other means of adding moisture to the air, such as fine, regular misting.

Miniature roses are susceptible to the same insect pests and fungus diseases as other roses.  Both spider mites and aphids can be controlled with a strong spray of water or a soap and water solution.  If soap is used, the residue should be washed off the next day to allow the leaf pores to function.  To control fungus, plants can be dipped in a systemic fungicide solution every seven to ten days.  Such treatment may also help keep insects in check.  If you use these chemicals, however, don’t forget to read and follow instructions to prevent contamination of yourself and the environment.

Given this good care, your miniature rose can give you months of enjoyment indoors and even continue to flourish outdoors when spring arrives.  When moving them outdoors, they will first need to be acclimated to outdoor conditions.  Then they can be put into containers or planted directly in the ground. When you transplant them, they should be set slightly deeper than they were in the pot, since they grow on their own roots and don’t have bud unions.  If they are to grow in containers, the pots should be at least 6 inches deep.  (This, I have been told, is one of the reasons that the plants we buy at the store in small pots fail to survive, since the small pots do not allow enough depth for the plant’s root system to develop adequately.)  Surprisingly, when planted in the ground, they are hardier than hybrid tea roses and rank with shrub roses for winter hardiness.  In fact, they readily survive zone 4 winters when lightly mulched.  Mulch should be removed in late spring to promote a new season’s growth.

As to pruning, faded flowers need to be removed back to the first five-leaflet leaf, and faded leaves or dead branches should also be snipped off.  Cutting back weak or spindly canes allows more light and air into the inner parts of the plant.  If your minis are planted outdoors, trim them to about 4-6” in October.  Or, at the end of dormancy in late March or early April, cut the stems back to the lowest outward-facing growth eyes.

Given the same care that you would expect to give full-sized roses, miniature roses can reward you with masses of tiny blossoms throughout the growing season.  On special occasions, drop a miniature rose plant into a decorative container and use it as a table decoration.  You might also look for appropriately tiny containers – medicine bottles, espresso and sake cups, even thimbles – to create sweet cut-flower arrangements for individual place settings, or for small spaces such as on the bathroom vanity or by your computer.

Knowing that miniature rose plants are not as delicate as they look makes them enticing additions to our collections, especially at this time of year.  Maybe you’ll pick up a few for special people – including yourself – for Valentine’s Day!


“Miniature Roses,” www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/RG321.pdf

“Miniature Roses: Versatile Plants – Indoors or Out!,” www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Flowers/Roses/minirose.htm

“Growing Miniature Roses Indoors,” www.ars.org/?page_id=3075

“Calgary Rose Society – Miniature Rose Care,” www.calgaryrosesociety.ca/MiniInstructions.htm

“Creating Arrangements Using Miniature Roses,” www.ars.org, then access article by entering title in “Search ars.org” box

Additional Interest:

“Fragrant Miniatures,” also at www.ars.org, then access article by entering title in “Search ars.org” box


Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

February 7, 2012 at 6:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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