Rose Container Ideas for Windy Balcony Gardens

by Fern on February 4, 2009

in Container Combos,Dealing with Wind,High Rise Gardening

This week I have been racking my brain and furiously researching container gardening ideas for windy balconies. Specifically, high-rise, part-sun, cold-winter balconies. Below are some specific ideas for growing roses on such balconies. I hope you like them!

Super Simple Rose Container Idea

Plant white or cream colored rose in center of a pot that is 18 inches deep and wide. Spread an even layer of Lobelia Cascade of Color seeds over the surface of the dirt. When the lobelia has grown in, they’ll cover the dirt and cascade over the sides of the pot with blooms in jewel tones of blue, purple, pink and white.

Miniature Rose Container Recipe

Start with a pot that is at least 18 inches tall and wide. Place a Bronze New Zealand Flax or other bronze colored grass in the back of the pot, all the way against the back rim. [UPDATE: In the comments, Gen suggests these dwarf varieties of flax: ‘Tom Thumb’, ‘Platt’s Black’, ‘Jack Spratt’] Plant a ‘Sequoia Gold’ miniature rose in front of the flax and to the right. It will eventually trail over the side of the pot. To the left of the rose, in front of the flax, plant a dwarf shasta daisy.

Other Easy Rose Container Ideas

Photo by Stacy Lynn Baum

  • Plant a red rose in the middle back of the pot. In front of the rose, plant baby’s breath, and in front of that, plant blue and yellow pansies.
  • In the back, right corner, plant a purple rose. In the back left corner, plant sage. In the front, center of the pot, plant a yellow calibrachoa (million bells).
  • Plant a pink or apricot colored rose in the center of the pot and sow blue love-in-a-mist in the dirt around the base of the rose.

Caring for Container Grown Roses

To prepare soil for use in a rose container, mix 2 parts good quality, fast draining potting soil with 1 part well composted steer manure, and 1 cup rose fertilizer that contains bone meal (I use a brand called EB Stone, but have also used Espoma fertilizers in the past).

Roses are heavy feeders, they need fertile conditions to produce lots of flowers. Continue to fertilize your roses regularly, according to the fertilizer package instructions. You can also sprinkle epsom salts  on the soil from time to time to give your roses the magnesium they need. They also like plenty of water. Water your rose whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.

This is a good resource on pruning roses. Don’t neglect your pruning duties! Your rose bush really needs it for optimum health and to maintain a nice shape. Know that it is almost impossible to kill your rose by pruning it, so there’s no need to procrastinate!

Repot roses every two years or so. Even if you only trim their roots and repot them in the same container, they’ll benefit from the fresh soil.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

sarada February 5, 2009 at 8:29 am

Wonderful ideas.


cindy February 5, 2009 at 8:56 am

LOVE the idea of flax and roses…


Zach February 5, 2009 at 9:05 am

Good ideas. And I like your drawings. What did you use to create them?


Genevieve February 5, 2009 at 9:38 am

I like the drawings too, and the little collages of photos! Awesome. I have to figure out how to do that.

The Flax is a great choice for part shade and wind. It will tolerate most abuses, and it goes so well with anything! I love all the varieties available. I’d take care to get a dwarf for a pot, though – ‘Tom Thumb’, ‘Platt’s Black’, ‘Jack Spratt’… The regular bronze ones can be monsters, at least in my climate (your mileage may vary).


Adriana February 5, 2009 at 9:54 am

These combos are so beautiful!


Fern February 5, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Zach — I drew them by hand with a sharpie marker and then used Photoshop to color them in and add photos of the real plants.

Gen — Good point about using a dwarf variety. Thanks for the specific recommendations! I know this is not the best thing to do, but I often buy a plant that is a little smaller then I want, enjoy it while it is growing into the ideal size, and then replant it in my parents garden when it gets too big. ;-)


Marilyn February 6, 2009 at 6:42 am

Fern, I like this post. Roses are wonderful plants. I would add that roses while they like water, they cannot have wet soggy roots. So drainage is very important. Roses like sunshine…but pots dry out quickly. So the balance between drainage and moisture can be tricky in pots. Also, for some reason, the roses that I have grown in pots were more plagued by spiders.


Fern February 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Marilyn — Good point about balancing water with sunshine. Sometimes container grown plants can be more susceptible to pests because the plants are stressed by a pot that is too small or soil that has been depleted of all its nutrients. Stressed out plants are prime targets for pests. It may also be that beneficial bugs and birds that would normally keep spider mites in check are busy in the part of your garden that is more densely planted and ignore the pots on your patio.


SFaith February 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Sweet alyssum would be a good substitute for the lobelia. It’s easy to grow from seed and has the added bonus of being fragrant.


Fern February 11, 2010 at 3:42 pm

SFaith–Except sweet alyssum and roses like different amounts of water. Roses are water hogs and sweet alyssum like things a bit drier.

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