In the Garden:
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
November, 2003
Regional Report

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1201

A miniature rose is a good choice for your first indoor rose.

Roses Indoors?

Roses are the symbol of love and beauty and can, contrary to popular belief, be grown indoors. Perhaps you have a decorating theme that requires standard tree roses to flank French doors, or a Laura Ashley print sofa that screams for miniature roses in matching cache pots. Whatever your taste, there are miniatures, miniature standards, and hybrid teas that make the transition to the indoor environment very well.

When you shop for indoor roses, look for an abundance of healthy, green foliage and a multitude of unopened buds so that there will be a long bloom period. If you select a bush that's not yet blooming, there should be a color tag to let you know what color to expect from the flowers.

Cater to the Specific Needs of Indoor Roses
Roses need at least 5 hours of direct sunlight each day. Place the plant next to a window or a patio door. If you can't provide direct sunlight, use artificial lighting, such as a grow light. Place the lamp 2 feet directly above your plant. The buds will bend over if the light is insufficient.

Yellow leaves indicate overwatering, a common mistake with indoor roses. Always feel the surface of the soil and water only when it's dry. Never allow roses to stand in water. Place gravel in the saucer and set the pot on top to keep the roots out of water.

Fertilize each time you water using a product specifically formulated for roses. Apply the fertilizer full strength when the roses are in bud. When the plants are in full bloom, apply the fertilizer at one-half strength according to label directions.

Roses hate being rootbound. Repot your rose plants within four weeks of bringing them home. Choose a clay pot 1 inch larger than the original container that has a drainage hole in the bottom. Keep the faded blossoms picked off to keep the plant blooming. By removing the spent blooms, you encourage more and more flowers to grow.

Dealing With Dormancy
Once the rose stops producing new buds, cut back on water and fertilizer. This will encourage the plant into a period of dormancy. It won't really be dead, it will just look that way. Remove the dormant plant from the pot and roll it in burlap. Place the plant in a cool, dark, dry area, such as a basement or a garage.

After three months of dormancy, check the plant for new growth in the form of swelling buds. Prune away all of the old foliage above the new bud growth. Repot with fresh soil in a container one size larger, then water and fertilize. You should see new growth in about a month. You can have roses blooming indoors all year long by staggering the dormancy periods of several plants.


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