A Formal Rose Container Design

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Formal container designs look organized and crisp in any setting, but my favorite place to use these is around doorway entrances. This week I chose to flank the front door to a busy office building with two matching formal rose designs that look like this, using a blue and hot pink palette.


I used a 24 inch pot in my recipe, and you may use whatever size you like best.

  • For height and drama I chose to center a ‘Knockout Rose Tree’ in the middle of the pot.
  • In the rear of the pot I placed a fern, to provide a solid background color, and light texture.
  • On the sides of the Rose Tree I planted two Blue Salvia plants, which are reliable perennials that can bloom all summer long.
  • In the front of the pot I dropped in a very large blue Lobelia erinus, which I purchased as a hanging basket.  By popping the entire basket’s contents into the pot I’ve created a mature, and full look to the pot right away.

Why These Work:

‘Knockout Roses’ are a great choice for containers because they are very hardy, and tolerant of heat and some drought. They have been bread specifically for repeat blooms all season long as long, and as you dead-head the flowers that are past their prime you will have endless buds and flowers.  With proper fertilization (or a rich compost soil) these will bloom from spring through fall.

The fern is a solid and stable choice for the partially shady location of these pots, and I chose it for it’s texture, and green backdrop color.  It will fatten up in the pot over the season, and fill in the nooks and crannies behind the Salvia, and actually support and protect the Salvia from wind.

Blue Salvia is a favorite perennial of mine.  It blooms beautifully all summer, attracts butterflies, and maintains an upright and tidy shape in the garden or in a container.  Blue Salvia love full sun, but can thrive in partial shade, and it’s also drought tolerant.

Lobelia erinus is an annual that looks beautiful especially in the spring and fall, but it can struggle in the heat of summer.  For repeat blooms all summer long, place this plant in partial shade, where it won’t undergo stress in the heat, and shut down flower production until the fall.  Once it’s in a container, it needs regular watering to keep is springy blooms intact, and light trimming will encourage prolific blossom for many months.

With care this container gardening idea will pump out perpetual color from late spring through the early fall.  Give it a try, and enjoy this type of small-scale rose gardening!

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