Guest Author - Michelle Ullman
If you love roses, but live in an apartment or condominium with no yard, you may have wondered if you can grow roses indoors. The answer to that question is a definite maybe. While it is possible to grow roses indoors, it is very challenging, and you will not have success unless you can meet three critical requirements.
3. Insect control
To start with, you will need to stick with miniature roses. You can find a wide range of minis in nurseries, garden centers, even at the supermarket and discount store.
Look over your rose carefully, and put back any with:
Shriveled, brown leaves
Any sign of insects
Moldy, sour smelling soil
Gray mildew on the leaves
Roses require a great deal of light to thrive and bloom. Most homes do not have sufficient sunshine for rose growth, and the result will be a leggy, sickly plant with no flowers.
If you have a window with a southern exposure that receives at least six hours of sun per day, thats the spot for your rose. A bright western exposure may also provide enough light for your rose.
If you do not have a window with several hours of direct sunshine each day, you will need to provide supplemental light. You can purchase light bulbs specifically designed for growing plants. Look for grow lights at your local nursery or home improvement center. LED grow lights stay cool and use less energy.
Keep your grow light on during the entire day, and switch it off before you go to bed at night. The light should be near the plant, preferably hanging over the pot or in a gooseneck desk lamp aimed at the rose.
The dry air in most homes is far too low in humidity for roses, leading to burnt edges on leaves, curled, crispy leaves or yellowing, dropping foliage.
Set your pot of roses on top of a tray of pebbles or marbles. Keep a layer of water in the tray, but not high enough to make contact with the pot. A half teaspoon of household bleach in the water will help prevent growth of algae.
You can also run a humidifier in the room with your roses if you too would appreciate a higher moisture level in the air.
Insects and Mildew
Indoor roses are very prone to attack by spider mites. Pale, yellowing leaves with faint webbing on the underside will alert you to the presence of these pests. Spider mites are insects, not actual spiders, and are very small. They look like tiny red dots, and are usually found on the bottom of the leaves.
To help prevent and control spider mite infestation, give your rose a bath at least once per week. Use a paper towel or plastic wrap around the soil to keep it in place, then hold the plant over the sink and spray thoroughly with cold water, paying particular attention to the bottom of the leaves. You can add 1/2 teaspoon of mild dish detergent to a quart of water in a spray bottle to create a more effective deterrent to pests.
If your rose shows signs of powdery mildew in the form of gray, powdery smudges on the leaves and buds, add a ½ teaspoon of baking soda to the dish detergent and water, and spray weekly.
Other care for your miniature rose includes:
Fertilize with a liquid plant food at half-strength throughout the spring and summer.
Keep soil moist, but not waterlogged.
Force your rose into dormancy late in the fall by moving it to a cool, dark location such as a basement.
Bring the rose out again in late winter/early spring, and prune lightly to shape the plant and remove any dead or broken canes.
If you can provide enough light and humidity for your rose to bloom, and conquer the dreaded spider mites, you have a good chance of keeping your miniature rose alive and blooming indoors.