Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Miniature Roses at the Grocery Store

How many of us saw these last week ... displays of perfect little potted miniature roses in tempting displays at the grocery store?

They only cost about five dollars, and we are weakened by the lack of sunshine from short winter days, so we succomb and buy one.  It's cold outside, and the roses outside are sleeping, so the idea of having roses growing and blooming on the windowsill may be more than we can resist.

Here's a fact that is not so secret ... roses, even miniature roses, are meant to be outdoor plants.  Trying to keep them inside as houseplants is a plan that is doomed to fail.

How can this be, you ask?  These little plants are so fat and happy looking.

Here is the secret to their girth ... three little rooted cuttings are in this pot.  Some vendors put four or more cuttings in their pots.

These little guys are greenhouse grown, in ideal conditions to produce concentrated growth.  Multiple cuttings per pot makes a really nice looking display in the store, but it's not geared for the long-term survival of the roses themselves.

Working in a dishpan in my kitchen sink, here's what I did with my pot of miniature roses.

I tipped the plant out of the pot, and I carefully ripped the rootball apart ... mindful to keep as much root mass as possible with each plant.

I removed some of the lower-most leaves, because they're in the way for repotting and they are probably going to die off anyway now that the plant is out of the commercial greenhouse environment, and I replant each little rose in its own pot.

As when repotting any plant, use good potting soil, water thoroughly, and allow the pots to drain.

Here they are, ready to go outside to the greenhouse with the rest of my baby roses.  (oops, they didn't drain enough and they're making a puddle.)

I keep them in the dishpan till I take them to the greenhouse.

If you don't have a greenhouse, you may be able to successfully keep your miniature roses alive inside until spring ... but only until the weather is warm enough so they won't freeze.  Dry winter indoor air creates a perfect environment for spidermites, which can build to epidemic proportions very quickly and will can actually kill your rose.  Use a humidity tray (a saucer of gravel filled with water) to help with this.  It also can help to give your roses a thorough shower with your sink sprayer once a week while they are indoors.

Don't take this as any sort of advice or encouragement about how to grow roses indoors long term.  The idea here is to do what we can to keep these little greenhouse-grown babies alive while they're inside being protected from the cold weather that they are unaccustomed to.  By next year, these babies will be grown-up garden roses and the cold shouldn't be any big deal for them.

As an experiment, two of these roses are going to my greenhouse and one is going to stay on my west-facing kitchen windowsill.  We'll follow their progress and see how well they do with these recommendations.  Any survivors will be planted in the garden come springtime.


  1. Great article and tips! Its like three plants for one...woot!

  2. I had some large pink bushes at another home I lived in 20 years ago. They are very pretty but seemed to be a lot of work if you want to keep it looking pretty....lots of little blossoms to keep cleaned up.

  3. Very good advice. I received one of those potted miniatures as a gift. I too was surprised to see that there were three plants in the pot. I followed your advice and of the three, one has survived in my garden.

  4. i have never had luck with those little beauties.. maybe keeping them indoors is why. Informative post! And I didn't know they were a set of three or more!

  5. Three for the price of one! At least it's a bargain!

  6. I saw them but didn't buy...I got Tulips instead. I still want to add some Roses to my garden this spring. hugs, Linda

  7. The only time I get these mini's is when I can plant them directly outside. Then they are very hardy and do survive my Colorado winters. Inside, they don't!♥♫

  8. That does seem like a great deal if you can get three or four plants of out it! Maybe I'll go look at the 50% off rack!

  9. I could kill it with a quickness, with my dark house and black thumbs!

  10. We have a friend down here in the Rose Society that will buy these and plant them outside in a concrete pot and she names them the name of the Supermarket or Big Box Store. Of course its Florida but it is quite a presentation. You can see glorious colors of roses all named with major retailers names! Hope you had a good V-day!♥

  11. I've got a couple of these purchased over the years. I can usually get them to survive till Spring and they've been surprisingly hardy in my (now) Zone 6A climate. They can be useful additions to a rose garden and help to fill the place of minatures, which are harder for me to find now that NorEast is history.

  12. Yes, our grocery store had them in every color imaginable! I don't have a green thumb so I passed but came home with a dozen cut roses! LOL

  13. Thank you so much for the advice! I've received minis as gifts before and it was very sad to have them die. I don't have a greenhouse but I think if I ever get another as a gift, your advice may just help me keep them alive until I can put them in the garden.

  14. Thank you so much for these great tips, Connie! You were right. When I walked through the grocery store Monday, it was filled with hyacinths, tulips, orchids, roses....Ahhhhh!!!! Such springtime beauty!!!

    xoxo laurie

  15. Excellent advice. A lady who works with me received on as a gift and has it growing on her desk in the office. Your tips will help her tremendously!

  16. Really great post. I have had these a few times, and always felt a complete failure when I killed them. Now I know it wasn't all my fault!

  17. Thanks again for wonderful advice!

    Even though J and I agreed on no gifts for VDay he ordered flowers from the quaint little shop in town, in business for years. An adorable little cottage out of a fairy tale.
    We have used Beck's as our florist since moving here. Such a sweet guy is the owner :) His cat is always on the front desk to greet customers!
    On Monday night, as we watched the news, we saw there was a fire at Beck's!!
    A total loss..And on Valentine's Eve. His cat died in the fire :(

    J stopped by yesterday as he passing through town and saw Mr Beck's car there along with other patrons stopping to say how sorry they are.
    Mr Beck tried to give J a cash refund, out of money in his wallet for J's Valentine's order! Of course, J told no! Not now, not ever!
    He is so mourning the loss of his sweet companion, my heart just breaks for him.

    I hope your day is lovely, Connie.
    xo, misha

  18. Connie...Great Grocery Store Rose Class 101. I was a florist for Safeway in a previous life and always tried to train my customers. I love the three separated much more than bunched together. We have a new/old house with no flower beds and morning sun. Think I will make a trip to store tonight and see what's left.

  19. Thanks for the valuable advice, but I will still treat them like a Poinsettia - enjoy them for some temporary indoor color then toss them on the compost pile. Then grow some real roses outside.

    (I hope I have not offended)

  20. Wonderful article. My boyfriend got me one of those plants, and it already came utterly invested with spidermites (thanks boy..sigh)...trying to win a battle with them, and then maybe I'll seperate them.

  21. Wonderful Article!!! Thank you! I think I might be ready to try one myself! :)

  22. Exactly the information and more I was looking for. Just received mini roses as a gift and wasn't sure of their care. The are now going out in my garden, yay!
    Would be great to know how far apart to plant the individuals you got from the one purchase though? 2ft? 3ft?

    1. The 'miniature' designation refers to the flowers ... the plants themselves vary in size. If it were me, I would plant them 3 feet apart and see what happens as they mature. If the variety name is on the tag, google that and see what you can find about plant size.


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