Miniature roses are true roses, bred to stay small in size. Most mini roses also have smaller flowers than standard rose bushes, but they come in a variety of types and colors. Despite their small size, miniature roses are extremely hardy. In fact they are more winter hardy than most tea roses. Miniatures also tend to be profuse repeat bloomers.
Miniature roses work well in a border and are especially nice as specimen plants or edgers. Child's Play was a 1993 All-American Rose Selection and 1993 American Rose Society Award of Excellence. It blooms abundantly in white with soft pink edges and is a very carefree grower with great disease resistance.
Baby Boomer also won an Award of Excellence. These delicate pink blossoms grow on long stems suitable for cutting. They have a slight fragrance and bloom throughout the season on 24 -36" bushes.
Other types of minis include:
- Climbers - Minis with a vertical growth habit and can be trained to grow against supports. (Award winning Jeanne Lajoie doesnt appear to be a mini at all, when allowed to reach heights of 7+ feet. Snowfall is a white ever bloomer with canes that stretch out 7 - 12'.)
- Trailers - Minis with a cascading growth habit that are wonderful in baskets and over walls. (Sequoia Gold has double flower fragrant yellow blossoms that repeat all season. Green Ice 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 - Term for the smallest mini roses (6 - 12") with proportional tiny blossoms of 1/4 to 1 inch in size. (Bambino has 3/4" vibrant orange blossoms on an 8 -12" plant. Chasin' Rainbows flowers are yellow, edged in scarlet on a 10 - 15" bush.)
- Miniflora - An American Rose Society classification for newly developed mini roses that have a slightly larger plant and bloom size than miniature roses. Average plant size is 2 ½ - 4 ½ feet. (Moonlight Scentsation offers fragrant flowers in the palest lavender on a 3' plant. Harm Saville has traditional velvet red blossoms on an 18 -20" plant.)
Plant and treat miniature roses the same as you would full size roses.
- Dig a hole the same depth as the pot the rose came in and about a foot wider.
- Carefully remove the rose from the pot and gently loosen the roots. If the plant is tightly root bound, use a sharp knife to score the sides of the root ball and try again to loosen the roots.
- Add some organic matter to the soil in hole, if needed.
- Place the rose bush in the center of the hole, with the roots spread out.
- Fill in the hole and firm gently.
- Thoroughly water the newly planted bush and then apply a layer of mulch.
If your mini rose comes bare root, follow these excellent planting directions from the All American Rose Society.
NOTE: Most minis are not budded or grafted, so gardeners in colder climates dont need to worry about covering or mulching the graft and gardeners in warmer climates wont need to be concerned about suckers from the root stock.
Roses can be heavy feeders and since mini roses continue blooming all season, regular fertilizing is essential. Use any commercial rose food or general purpose fertilizer, according to label instructions.
- Feed when the bush first leafs out
- Feed after each heavy flush of bloom
- Stop feeding about 6 - 8 weeks before the first expected frost.
How much water your rose bush will require depends on your soil and weather. A general rule of thumb is to provide at least an inch of water each week. During hot, dry spells you will need to water more frequently. Be sure to water deeply, so that the soil is wet at least 12 - 18 inches below the surface.
Avoid getting the leaves wet during humid weather, to discourage fungal diseases.