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Vermont Garden Journal: A Different Take On Roses For Valentine's Day

Long-stemmed roses are a traditional Valentine's Day flower, but miniature roses are just as pretty, will continue blooming and can even be moved outdoors.
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Long-stemmed roses are a traditional Valentine's Day flower, but miniature roses are just as pretty, will continue blooming and can even be moved outdoors.

It's almost Valentine's Day and, of course, the flower of love is the rose. But this year, instead of giving the usual cut roses, why not a rose plant? Miniature roses come in many shapes, with some being three- to four-feet tall, but still called miniature. But I'm thinking of the micro-mini rose plants found in garden centers and floral shops. These grow around 12- to 18-inches tall with small, colorful, fragrant flowers and can be grown indoors and outside.

When purchased now while flowering, miniature roses will keep blooming in a window that gets six hours of direct sun a day for a few more weeks. Keep them away from cold drafts and maintain the humidity around 50 percent with a humidifier, pebble trays filled with water or by misting. They will eventually stop blooming unless grown under grow lights. But they are great outdoor plants, too. Most are hardy to zone five and, with protection, to even colder zones. These roses are also grown on their own root system with no grafts. This means, even if they die back to the ground, they will regrow the next year.

Plant them in containers or in a flower border in full sun on well-drained soil. Their shallow roots need consistently moist, organic soil to grow best. Amend the soil with compost and mulch. Fertilize regularly in spring and summer with an organic rose food. Fertilize more often if grown in a container. Your roses should bloom on and off all summer. Come fall, protect roses in cold areas with bark mulch. Move container roses into a protected spot with temperatures around 40 degrees. By January, you can bring your container rose into a warm, sunny room and it will flower again during winter.

Now for this week's tip: buy some paperwhite narcissus and pot them up for a splash of color and fragrance during these cold, snowy days.

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