Roses – Outdoors and Indoors

Roses - Pink Roses

“We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” ~ Dale Carnegie, American playwright 1888 – 1955.


Roses - 'Apricot Twist' Miniature RoseRoses—one of my favorite flowering plants! My first experience with growing them came by me being too practical! As a young bride I loved the roses that my husband brought home to me but decided maybe he should buy bare root rose plants instead and we could save money and have our own rose garden; thus began a series of learning rose tips (and learning to not expect many more bouquets!!) There are many varieties of roses available, but don’t be fooled by other plants that have rose in the name. For example, the Desert Roses are actually a form of Succulent Plants.


Roses - Creamy Yellow, Ruffled BloomsHow to Plant Roses

In order to have beautiful, healthy plants with gorgeous flowers, first choose an open area of your garden or yard that gets approximately 6 hours of sunlight; this also helps avoid mildew or thrips (a type of insect). If roses have been planted in that location previously I recommend using fresh soil. I rototilled my chosen area thoroughly then decided where to place which roses, according to type, color arrangement, etc.


Soak a bare root rose in a pail of water before putting it in the ground; if it is a potted rose soak the plant well and allow it to sit until the ground is prepared. Since I wanted my roses to have plenty of sun and space for the roots to grow, I dug holes about 18 inches deep by 36 inches across (some sites recommend 15″ x 18″); my roses were stupendous!


Post-Planting Maintenance

Later, when the plants are in the ground and roots are taking hold, check the soil an inch below the surface to see if they need watered. If it is dry, soak them slowly to a depth of about 6 inches. Mist the plants as often as you can while they are getting rooted; continue misting daily until the new leaves are out.  Once the rose bushes have fully leafed out, apply a fertilizer and again after the first 6 weeks. Check the package for regular fertilization tips. ‘Miracle-Gro Rose Plant Food’ gave exceptional results.

Roses - Deja Blue My Bouquet Rose


Mulching helps the plants to retain moisture, discourages weeds and keeps the roots cooler during hot days. Cultivate just the top soil so you do not damage roots but allow air to enter the soil. Roses should be transplanted in the early spring while the bushes remain dormant.


Roses - Peachy Cream Rose

Raising Roses in Cold Climates

If you live in a cold climate, plant roses deeper (crown 1-2 inches below the surface), cover them well for winter—check with your local nursery on protection, fertilization, watering, spraying, misting and other tips. Choosing a variety of rose that is hardy in cold weather is a good way to reduce the risk of losing your plants during the cold season. Look for notes  in the rose bush’s description that say “Hardy cold weather”. I’m not particularly familiar with growing roses in below zero weather.

Roses - White RosesPest Control

Aphids are insects that live in colonies on the back of rose leaves and on the buds. They reproduce rapidly and can cause major damage to your plants. Liquid Castile or olive oil soap (in a spray bottle) will make an environmentally-friendly insecticidal spray that will kill aphids within an hour of spraying. When an hour has passed, gently rinse the roses with the water hose to wash off soap residue and dead bugs. This spray only kills on contact so you will have to repeat as necessary to keep the aphids down. Spray or dust for black spot and mildew as required (mildew can cause a loss of scent on the flower).

Caring for Miniature Roses Indoors

When most people think of rose bushes they think of gardens, but fortunately Roses also come in miniature versions that are beautiful on indoor plant stands and are great for patios as well. The care of miniature roses is very similar to that of full-sized roses, except that the potted miniatures may require more frequent watering, have fewer pest issues if kept indoors, and no rototilling required if grown in flower pots. Keeping those differences in mind, the plant health care tips here generally apply to both potted miniature and full-sized roses.

Roses - Rose Garden BasketUnlike Cyclamen, Roses are not poisonous plants and aside from being cautious of the thorns around children and animals, there is no danger of having them in the house. Caring for roses indoors is more challenging than most houseplants. I do not recommend them in the list of Best Indoor Plants for Beginners, and they are not as easy to grow as African Violets; however, you may find it less stressful than Orchid care, at least in my opinion. Be sure that you place your potted roses near a window where they get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. If your roses start to fail, set them outside for a few days where they have plenty of light and fresh air (weather permitting).

Pruning your Rose Bushes

Prune for plant health, vigor and direction before new growth begins in the spring; also to get rid of diseases or weakened/damaged canes. Check carefully on pruning instructions before you use those shears!

If you like flowers in the house, early morning is the best time to cut roses—slice the flower stem at an angle using a sharp knife.


Rose Bouquets and the Symbolism of Colors

A rose from the florist shop usually has been engineered and bred for longevity and affordability at the cost of the fragrance, so if you want fragrant blooms you are better off growing your own roses. Many types of flowers are beautiful with roses, for example, the picture below shows the dramatic beauty of roses with Calla Lilies while a picture above shows a mixture of miniature and full-size pink roses. A current trend is to have multicolored or unusually colored rose flowers, but if you are buying rose seeds or bare root rose bushes be certain that the picture is not of a dyed rose or photoshopped for appeal. While searching for nice photos for this website I came across purple roses that were dyed and multicolored roses that were truly bred that way. Be sure to read labels and descriptions carefully before purchasing. With the wide varieties of colors and breeds of flowers that have been developed over centuries, people have attributed meanings to specific flowers. If you want to send flowers but aren’t sure whether your choice symbolizes the meaning you hope to convey, check with a florist.

  • red rose means passionate love
  • pink rose signifies appreciation
  • peach or yellow roses indicate friendship and happiness
  • Calla Lily is regal
  • hydrangea is for perseverance
  • pink tulips signify caring
  • peonies are for healing
  • both orchids and hibiscus (2 reputedly tropical plants) mean delicate beauty


If flowers aren’t your thing, check out our pages on Spider Plants and Palm Plants for care tips.

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Palm Plants – Exotic Beauties

The Benefits of Palm Plants 

Much like African VioletsPalm Plants are among the best-known and most widely planted of tropical plant families. Many resources disagree whether Palm Plants are trees or just plants, yet many of these plants have the word tree as part of their name. Think that’s confusing? I do too!

There are in excess of two thousand varieties of Palm Plants living in climates from deserts to rain forests across the globe. Some of them are flowering plants while others are simply appreciated for their foliage.  Palm Plants have helped humans to survive throughout history. Numerous common foods and products used in our daily lives are made from palms. They are also often used in gardens and parks in areas where the temperature will allow – these plants do not tolerate heavy frosts.

Palm Plants - Areca Palm

Figure 1: Areca Palm

Many varieties of Palm Plants also make great houseplants. Before choosing a palm plant, always check your plant hardiness zone map and make sure that the environment you plan to grow it in is appropriate for the plant.

Palm Plants also have a reputation for cleaning the air. Some of the best clean air plants for your home or office include the:

    • Areca Palm–best known for ridding the air of all tested toxins
    • Bamboo Palm—adds needed moisture to the air when dry and removes benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air
    • Rhapis Palm—is very resistant to attack by insects and the palm plant improves air quality


Palm Plants for Home, Office, or Patio

Palm plants make great exotic house plants, but like all plants, palms need the correct balance of moisture, light, fertilizer, and warmth to stay healthy. There are a wide variety of indoor plant stands that can nicely offset your palm plant. You can also buy little wheeled stands that allow you to easily move your larger potted plants without worry of tipping them. Different palms have various specifications for survival. Some notable dwarf palm trees suitable as exotic house plants or décor for patio or deck include:

Palm Plants - Windmill Palm Tree

Figure 3: Windmill Palm Tree

The Windmill Palm

The Windmill Palm Tree can be planted in large containers and placed on a patio or on a pool deck since the plant creates hardly any debris to dirty your pool.

Windmill Palms grow well in full to partial sun, can adapt to various soil types with good drainage, and will flourish with small effort from you. It is highly pollution resistant so can even be planted in a road divider since vehicle fumes or similar types of pollution will not bother it. The Windmill Palm Tree is easy to grow; it also adds a tropical appeal to any setting.

Palm Plants - Kentia (Sentry) Palm

Figure 4: Kentia (Sentry) Palm

The Sentry Palm

The Sentry Palm is a good example of a Palm houseplant suitable for a large office building or atrium. It grows to a height of 180 – 300 inches (15 – 25 feet) with a spread of 72-120 inches (6 – 10 feet).

The plant will grow in various types of soil–acidic, clay, loamy, neutral, sandy or low alkaline as long as it has good drainage.  It will take full shade to full sun and since it is drought tolerant, is a good plant for a container.

Palm Plants - Pindo Palm

Figure 5: Pindo Date Palm

The Pindo Palm

The Pindo Palm is a Southern Palm that can stand the coldest Southern winters–even below zero. The plant leaves have a blue-grey sheen and the fronds curl inward, giving the palm a distinctive appearance.

This palm can grow in large flower pots and used on/near the deck or patio although it can be messy when the fruit appears–just don’t call me to move it if it succeeds in growing 30 feet tall with a 20 foot leaf span and a 2-foot base! Always water the Pindo Palm at the base of the trunk; water on the fronds can cause disease to spread.

The Bamboo Palm

Palm Plants - Bamboo Palm

Figure 6: Bamboo Palm

When I first read about Bamboo Palm Plants I thought that they meant “Lucky Bamboo” or Dracaena plants that you see in grocery and drug stores with “Bamboo Plants for Sale” signs on them. Apparently the Bamboo Palm is a variety of Palm Plant that is also known as the Reed Palm and is unrelated to “true” bamboo.

This plant prefers shade and is ideal as a house plant because its normal maximum growth is 7 feet high; however, if it is exposed to brighter light and warmer temperatures it will produce small flowers and berries. Since this plant is used to being in the shade of taller trees, it prefers indirect light, but can tolerate direct sunlight if acclimated slowly. Use soil with good drainage, but keep it moist. 

Facts Regarding Palm Plants

Palm Plants - Dwarf Palm Tree

Figure 7: Dwarf Palm TreePalm Plants will start from seeds or division of roots

  • seeds need to be harvested when they are fully ripe then immediately sown with a high ratio of sand to soil
  • seeds may begin germinating at 3 months, and for some plants continue up to 2 years
  • new, tiny plants may be lifted when there is a pair of leaves; put them in small pots
  • seem to prefer to be root-bound; they thrive even in pots that are too small for the plant
  • when new plants are almost cracking their pot, it’s time to replant in a larger container
  • may be fertilized about every 2 weeks with liquid manure that includes oil cakes and ammonium-sulphate
  • need water regularly every other day
  • over-pruning your palm plant/tree can rob it of valuable nutrients
  • acclimatize them sufficiently prior to keeping them as indoor plants
  • Palm plants can be a nice addition to rockery plants in a rock garden
  • Palm Plants can be cultivated into Bonsai Trees (see Figure 8)


Palm Plants - Ponytail Palm Bonsai Tree

Figure 8: Ponytail Palm Bonsai Tree

Plants that Complement Palm Plants

Other potted plants that would complement the Palm Plants on the deck, patio or in the yard include: Hibiscus, Hydrangea, Bonsai Tree, Bougainvillea, various Yucca and Succulent plants, Viburnum, Cyclamen, Roses and Ferns. Even hanging basket plants, like Spider Plants, can beautifully offset Palm Plants in the right settings.

Your local nursery can order any of these plants for you, or you can find many of them at; if they are exotic plants such as Palm Plants make sure you understand the growth and care requirements. Caring for Palm Plants can be as interesting as Orchid care, so if you have any plant health care questions visit our pages here or speak with your local florist.


Threats to Palm Plants

Although fully grown palms are usually fairly free of damaging insect pests, there are still ‘bugs’ and other problems that can destroy the plants. Problems can include:

Palm Plants - Sago Palm

Figure 9: Highly Poisonous Sago Palm

  • insects and mites
  • palm aphids
  • scales
  • banana moth
  • coconut mites
  • spider mites
  • rotten sugarcane borer
  • royal palm bug
  • palm leaf skeletonizer
  • palmetto weevils
  • grasshoppers
  • caterpillars
  • bud-/root-/trunk-rot and wilt

Other problems are possible:

  • trunk splits or cracks
  • leaf spot diseases
  • trunk constrictions
  • pencil pointing
  • lightning strike (usually fatal to the palm)
  • if your palm grows tall enough to be near high-voltage power lines the electromagnetic fields could injure the palms—turning the leaves yellow in spite of regular fertilization and no sign of pests.

WARNING: Sago Palms, as pictured in Figure 9, are extremely poisonous plants and a danger to dogs, cats, and humans; be cautious if you are considering them. They are not actually Palm plants but belong to the Cycadaceae family. Every part of the plant is toxic and can kill the person or animal who ingests any part of it. According to the video embedded below, the smell and taste of the Sago Palm is appealing to pets and if they encounter one they are likely to eat it–especially the seeds (the most poisonous part).


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