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Chamber roses

Can roses grow indoors?

Yes, yes they can! You can buy ‘chamber roses’ from most gardencentres, some of wich are fragrant! And nothing beats a classic sweet voluptuous rose fragrance. They offer them often in wintertime because of the lack of other flowers during the colder months of the year. When you bring them home, they will open their buds as long as te humidity in your house is high enough. Idealy about 50% but 40% will do just fine. The flowers last longer when grown in cooler conditions (15-18C). The difficult part is growing them after they have stopped blooming.

How do you grow a chamber rose?
The nursery pots are oftentimes way to small for the rose to continue living in. You have to repot them. The problem is roses don’t like that very much.

The chamber roses I bought in the past came with 3 plants in a pot. 1 plant a pot of the same size will give ample room for the first one or two years of growth. So get yourself some pots and some speciality pottingmix for roses. This is important because roses like a ph of 6.5 slightly more acidic than neutral. If your roses turn yellow without any other blemishes on the leaves, chances are that the soil balance is off. You can double check this with a ph meter or ph test strips. A soil imbalance in potted roses is often the result of using tapwater.

Watercompagnies add calcium to tapwater to prevent the pipes from corroding. So with potted roses it is worth the trouble of using rainwater. If you don’t have acces to rainwater you could opt to repot more often.
Roses are heavy feeders but they don’t handle overfeeding well. In most potting mixes for roses there is some slow release fertiliser for 3 or 6 months. After that period you can add slow-release fertilizer yourself or you can use a gentle liquid fertilizer, like an organic orchid fertilizer.
To gently repot your roses it is best to make the medium wet en remove some of the old soil by gently flushing it off with water. Be carefull to do as little damage as possible to the roots.

One they are in new pots, select a spot with a few hours of direct sunlight. Don’t put them near the draft of a window or a door (especially in wintertime) and watch the humidity levels. I have mine in an eastfacing window near the sink. Because it is used very often even in winter (mostly to water plants), the evaporation of leftover water in the sink provides a little extra humidity.

Be warned: even with extra care, chamber roses are very demanding. I grew mine for 3 years and on my last holiday it wilted and eventually succumed to a spider mithe infection (RIP roses). Comming winter I will look for a fragrant replacement. We had 3 year of good growing together and for the price (3-5 euro) it is worthwhile repurchacing them.

When will they Bloom?
You can expect them to bloom once a year. Depending on the varaiety that maybe in early to late summer. When roses bloom in winter it is due to geenhouse cirumstances that force the roses to bloom. I imagne you could try this yourself if your set on having roses in winter, by placing them under a growlight and providing extra warmth. Is this something you are interested in? Should I try it? Let me know!

Happy growing!

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