Seed parents kept in pots

I am severely restricted in available planting ground at the moment, however potted roses can be squeezed into my little garden.

Some seed parents I hope to use in the not too distant future are things like-

Clinophylla x op

(Clinophylla x Bracteata)xop


‘R. Bracteata’


climbers like ‘Westerland’.

Can such roses set big amounts of seed if they are maintained in large pots?

Should I be doing anything culturally to potted seed parents that would not be otherwise necessasy if they were in the ground, in order to get big seed numbers from them?

Hi George,

Most of my seed parents are in pots and do very well that way. I usually get 30,000 to 40,000 seeds or more from a relatively few plants.

Jim Sproul

Oh, that’s very encouraging, Jim!

You can’t kill the bracteateXClino seedling.

I’ve had one in a 5 gallon pot for 2 years. I don’t even water it.

And it flowers and sets hips.

Not many, but-- it does it.

Why do I have it in a pot?

I didn’t put it there. A tiny branch must had fallen in, rooted, and just stayed there… killing off the tomato plant that was originally there.

Don’t expect much, but I think it’s possible for a few crosses at least.

It looks ugly, and it looks like it suffers in soooo cramped. But… it stays there.

Thank you Enrique. Cute story.


If by “large pots” you mean containers at least 20" in diameter and at least as deep, then yes, you can absolutely keep any of those varieties in containers and employ them for years as breeding plants. Many of my oldest established seed setters have spent their entire lives under such conditions and do an excellent job. Of course, some of the larger ones like ‘Westerland’ and R. bracteata will be dwarfed by a restricted root ball, but I feel that stressed plants often set seed much more freely than a plant that has unlimited resources.

One thing to be aware of: once a rose fills its pot with roots, those roots will wander out of the drainage holes and (assuming there is soil underneath the pot) into the ground below. I have several of these mature potted roses that long ago rooted into the greenhouse floor and likely 90% of the root system is in the ground now. (Most of my greenhouses have gravel over bare soil for a floor) If you don’t want that to happen, then you must shift the pots a couple of times during the growing season to prevent the roots getting established outside the pot. If the pots are kept on a concrete surface, for example, that won’t be happening.

Best of luck!


Thanks for the advice Paul, it is also very encouraging.

I’ll buy pots well over 20" in diameter.

They will be placed on cement.