Miniature rose – Dainty perfection

Tiny yet generous with their blooms, miniature roses are ideal for today’s smaller gardens. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, and nurseries are constantly offering new varieties.

ANNUAL CALENDAR

SPRING

March:

Planting time. Lightly cut back long shoots on established plants. March-May: Buy flowering miniature roses in pots from nurseries. Plant immediately.

SUMMER

June-August:

Feed, water if conditions are dry (miniature rose roots do not penetrate very deep into the soil) and check for pests and diseases. Spray if necessary.

AUTUMN

October-November:

Plant bare-root specimens in open ground, 30-35cm apart.

WINTER

December-February:

If conditions are very severe, give extra protection by covering the soil around plants with a mulch (layer) of organic matter or straw.

POPULAR VARIETIES ,

Name, Colour, Height (cm) 30, Description ‘Angela Rippon’, coral pink, double, compact, bushy ‘Anna Ford’, orange-red, 45, semi-double, dense, bushy ‘Baby Masquerade’, yellow and red, deeper with age, 45, upright and bushy ‘Coralin’, coral pink, 38, upright and bushy ‘Gentle Touch’, pale pink, 30, double, compact ‘Honeybunch’, honey yellow, salmon flush, 45, scented, vigorous and bushy ‘Hula Girl’, bright salmon-orange, 30, double, bushy ‘Magic Carrousel’, white petals with pink edge, 30, upright ‘Mood Music’, orange-pink, 30, bushy, upright ‘Orange Sunblaze’, orange-red, 38, double, cupped ‘Peek-a-Boo’, copper-orange, paler with age, 45, double, upright ‘Penelope Keith’, golden-yellow, 45, double, upright and bushy ‘Perestroika’, yellow, 30, classic-shape flowers, bushy ‘Red Ace’, dark red, 30, double, compact and bushy ‘Robin Redbreast’, dark red, creamy yellow centre, 45, single, bushy and spreading ‘Sheri Anne’, orange-red, 30, double, bushy and spreading ‘Snowdrop’, white, 30, double, upright ‘Stacey Sue’, soft pink, 30, double, bushy, upright ‘Stars ‘n’ Stripes’, striped red and white, 30, double, bushy, upright ‘Sweet Dream’, peachy apricot, 45, double, wide and bushy ‘Yorkshire Sunblaze’, white, 30, semi-double, compact, bushy

M iniature roses are available in a range of colours from white to pastel pink and peach, bright yellow and orange to red. There is even a green variety.

Most experts believe that miniature roses are descended from Rosa chinensis. The first known variety was recorded in 1840. It had pink flowers and was named ‘Pompon de Paris’. Today’s miniatures stem from a rose named ‘Rouletii’, which dates from 1918.

Which rose?

Since 1930, breeders have carried out an intensive programme to produce miniature roses. As well as the true miniatures (height up to 45cm) there is a group of slightly larger roses known as patio roses or compact floribundas. They grow up to 60 cm tall.

Among the patio roses one strain, the dwarf polyanthas, is descended from polyantha roses and includes such varieties as ‘Katharina Zeimet’.

A Dutch breeder produced the ‘Compacta’ series of roses, named after the seven dwarfs in Walt Disney’s ‘Snow White’: they include ‘Happy’ and ‘Bashful’. They are descended from a cross between the hybrid musk ‘Robin Hood’ and a polyantha rose.

Ideal situation

Their abundance of blooms and low height make miniature roses suitable for a wide range of uses. Plant them along the edge of a border, either incorporating them into a formal rose planting scheme or mixing them with other plants.

They are excellent as container plants, displayed in pots or window-boxes, and they also look good planted in a rockery.

GROWING IN POTS

Choose a pot deep enough to give adequate root run (miniatures need 25-30cm, patio roses 40cm) and wide enough for roots to spread out.

Place crocks in the bottom to give good drainage and plant in a soil-based planting mix.

Water regularly, especially in dry weather, and feed every 2 weeks in the growing season.

Miniature rose

SITUATION

A warm spot in beds and borders, on patios or balconies, planted in groups or combined with low, clump-forming plants. Plant where you can appreciate the small size, for instance, in a raised bed.

SOIL

Medium-heavy, fertile soil that retains moisture and food. Improve with organic material (manure or compost) if soil is poor. Plant container roses in a good soil-based planting mixture.

CARE

Plant miniature roses in autumn or spring. In spring, cut them back to about half their height. Feed regularly, and inspect for pests and diseases.

PLANT HEALTH

Use a combined insecticide and fungicide to control greenfly and infections such as blackspot and powdery mildew. Spray with pirimi- carb to control greenfly.

BUYING

Buy miniature roses in pots as they resent root disturbance.

Look out for roses grown on their own roots, which tend to be smaller than ones grafted on to a rootstock.

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