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Advice from the rose growers: don't baby the miniatures.

Advice from the rose growers: Don't baby the miniatures

Miniature roses seem to be popping upeverywhere--at nurseries, florists, garden supply centers, and even supermarkets. Though their small leaves and blooms look delicate and ephemeral, these varieties are among the toughest of all roses. They tend to be more insect- and disease-resistant than most full-size kinds and can tolerate hard frosts if given protection.

The minis, which range from 5 to 30inches tall, make lovely low borders. For best results, limit a border to one variety since growth habits vary and a mixture can give a disheveled look. Smallest roses (5 inches tall) can be planted as close as 6 inches apart, most other varieties at a foot, and the largest (30 inches tall) at 15 inches.

Miniature roses are also excellent for windowboxes or patio containers. Remember, however, that small post dry out quickly, so you must water attentively. Too much fertilizer can easily burn these plants; apply a weak dose every two weeks during the growing season or use a controlled-release fertilizer.

Bloom period will last longer if you snipoff faded blooms. If you have just a few potted plants, cut blooms back to a five-part leaf. In larger plantings, where this may be a formidable task, simply snip off faded blooms with a bit of stem (see photograph at near right) or allow petals to drop naturally.

Some growers go to the extra effort ofpruning off selected flower buds. For varieties that produce clusters of flowers, you can get larger, longer-lasting blooms by snipping the central bud. If the plant puts out one dominant flower and a couple of smaller ones, you might want to cut side buds, as shown at far right.

Miniatures do well in full sun in all butthe hottest climates; in the desert, provide some afternoon shade.

When the plant is dormant, prune heavily,snipping back half the growth. Light pruning through the growing season keeps roses in shape.

Photo: Massed in pots,collection of miniature roses in bloom brightens pathway in Bob Derby's San Jose, California, garden. As bloom finishes, pots can be moved out of the spotlight

Photo: Snip faded flowers to prolong bloomperiod. For speedy maintenance, you can simply cut flower and a bit of stem

Photo: Removing side buds will direct plant'senergy into the lead flower. Take care not to injure central bud
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Date:Apr 1, 1987
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