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How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates

Growing roses can be daunting, especially in Arizona, where the desert climate can be formidable for any plant. Although the summer heat can be challenging, growing beautiful roses is still possible. Learn how to grow roses in hot summer climates with these tips. 

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates

Where to plant roses in Arizona and other hot summer climates:

Choose a location in your yard where your roses can receive sunlight from morning to mid-afternoon with at least 6 hours of sun and afternoon shade. Avoid planting close to brick walls or heavily graveled areas where heat will radiate during the summer. 

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates

When planting, allow at least 3-5 feet (0.9-1.5 meters) between roses. Air circulation is crucial for roses. Check your specific type of rose for additional spacing requirements.  


Rose planting tips for hot summer climates: 

Select varieties listed as “heat-tolerant” when deciding which roses to plant. 

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates - Firefighters rose
Firefighters rose

Firefighters rose on Fortuniana rootstock is a proven performer in hot summer climates.

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates - James Galway roses
James Galway roses

James Galway from David Austin is another rose that grows well in the low desert. I get all my roses from Heirloom Roses. Use Code GARDENAZ24 for 20% off any rose order through December 31, 2024.


Leslie’s picks for the low desert of Arizona:

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates - Lady Bank's rose
Lady Banks rose

Iceberg, Mr. Lincoln, Joseph’s Coat, Double Delight, Double Knockout, Sol Desire, Lady Banks, Miracle on the Hudson, Paradise, and Lavender Crush. 

Joseph's Coat and Iceberg Roses
Joseph’s Coat and Iceberg roses
Sol and Paradise Roses
Sol Desire and Paradise roses

When to plant roses in Arizona:

Plant bare-root roses from mid-December to January, container-grown roses from October through April, and avoid planting during the hot summer months. 

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates

How to plant bare-root roses: 

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates
  • Soak the entire root in water for at least 24 hours before planting. To stimulate growth, add a couple of drops of B-1 or Super Thrive to the bucket of water before soaking
  • Cut soaked rose canes at an angle with a sharp pair of bypass pruners to about 10″ (25 cm) long with the nodes facing outwards.
  • Dig a hole 2’ (61 cm) deep and 2’ (61 cm) wide. 
  • Combine the removed soil from the hole with a raised bed mix (combination of coconut coir/compost/perlite). 
  • Fill the bottom of the hole with 6″ (15 cm) of the mix, spread the roots apart gently, and plant deep enough to cover the roots. 
  • Fill the remaining space with the leftover soil mixture. 
  • Pat soil firmly and top with a 4” (10 cm) layer of wood chip mulch and water well. 

How to plant container-grown roses: 

  • Dig a hole 2’ (61 cm) deep and 2’ (61 cm) wide. 
  • Add a 6″ (15 cm) layer of aged manure to the bottom of the hole.
  • Combine the removed soil from the hole with a raised bed mix (combination of coconut coir/compost/perlite). 
  • Plant the rose in the center of the hole 2-3″ (5-8 cm) higher than the soil level to compensate for settling soil.
  • Backfill the hole with the soil mixture.
  • Top with a 4” (10 cm) layer of wood chip mulch and water well. 

Planting roses in a container:

Choose a container three times larger than the nursery pot, at least 15 gallons (56 liters) or largerFill the bottom of the pot with a high-quality potting mix (like the raised bed mix from Arizona Worm Farm) with some organic fertilizer high in phosphate—plant at the same level as the nursery pot. Fertilize container-grown roses once a month.

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates

Choose a location that receives afternoon shade for growing roses in containers in Arizona. They will heat up more quickly. Avoid using dark or black containers for growing roses, as they will absorb more heat. 


How and when to water roses in hot climates:

Roses are thirsty plants and require regular water, especially during the warmer months in hot summer climates.

Water newly planted roses every day for the first week.  

In the spring and fall, water roses 2- 3 times a week slowly & deeply. Make sure to penetrate the entire root zone. Water in the morning if possible. 

During the heat of summer, water roses as often as every other day.

In the winter, water roses about once a week or when the soil is dry. 

Container-grown roses will generally require a bit more water. You can use a moisture meter to determine the water needed. The meter should always read “moist”. Be sure your containers have holes at the bottom for proper drainage. 


How and when to fertilize roses in Arizona: 

Begin feeding roses the 2nd week of February. Roses are heavy feeders and will require fertilizer every 6-8 weeks during the spring and fall. Use organic, high-phosphorus food (4-8-4) to increase blooming. Water well before and after fertilizing. 

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates

Avoid using fertilizer from June to August. Instead, at the end of May, add a 2″ layer of compost and worm castings at the base of each rose bush to equal about a 2′ diameter surrounding the bush. Then, top off with a thick layer of mulch.


How and when to prune roses in Arizona and other hot summer climates:

Pruning promotes the highest quantity and quality of blooms for the following season. An unpruned rose bush will still produce flowers, though they will be fewer and much smaller. 

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates

Winter rose pruning:

Heavy pruning should be done during dormancy from mid-December through January. Focus on opening the bush’s center to allow sun and air flow circulation. Always cut at a 45-degree angle facing downwards. Seal the canes after cutting to prevent borers and other pests and diseases from entering. 

  • Remove all dead wood, crossing branches, touching canes, and non-producing canes.
  • Prune out about one-third to no more than half of the previous season’s growth length. 
  • Remove all suckers below the graft. 

You can also size-control some roses during this period by cutting them back down to 18-24” (45-60cm). 

Regularly deadhead and remove dried spent leaves throughout the growing season. Remove the dried flowers by cutting down to the next leaf with 5 leaflets.

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates

Late summer or fall rose pruning:

At the end of summer, once nighttime temperatures are 70°F (21°C) or below, prune roses to encourage a fall flush of blooms. Prune out dead and diseased wood and any crossing canes. Prune all over lightly by about ⅓.

To fall prune climbing roses, remove the long outward-growing canes. Shorten and selectively remove the lateral (sideways) branches. 

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates
James Galway climbing rose

Apply additional mulch after the winter and late summer prunings. Mulch helps retain moisture and continuously breaks down as organic matter while improving the soil condition. 


Extra care tips for roses during the summer in hot summer climates:

Adding shade during the scorching summer months can be beneficial and prevent stress and sunburn. 

During the summer, do not prune or deadhead roses. Pruning tells the plant it’s time to grow. During the summer, roses should enter a dormant state and not push out new growth or blooms. Pruning also exposes the freshly cut stem, and that tender area is easily scorched.

Expect that roses will not look their best during the hottest months of the year.

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates
Lady Banks rose climbing my chicken coop

The abundant sunshine and low humidity are beneficial when growing roses in hot summer climates. Don’t be afraid to add roses to your landscape.

Most importantly, remember to stop and smell your roses and share them with your friends and family to receive the whole experience of rose gardening. Enjoy! 

How to Grow Roses in Hot Summer Climates
James Galway roses

Thank you to Leslie Blanchard for contributing to this post. 

Leslie has been gardening for as long as she can remember. She has an associate degree in Urban Horticulture, is a Certified Master Gardener, and has completed the Desert Landscape Certification School at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

She’s worked at San Diego Zoo’s Botanical Garden and 5-star hotels all over the West Coast, caring for their tropical plants and flowers. She is the recipient of a Plantscape Industry Alliance Award. Leslie is the Head Grower, Garden, and Greenhouse Manager at Arizona Worm Farm. She offers garden consultations and finds great joy in helping people become successful gardeners. 


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helen

Friday 10th of May 2024

Hello Angela,

Really enjoy your blog - always lots of great info!

Do you have any concerns about growing roses on metal arbors or trellises? I'm concerned about damage to the canes from contact with the metal which can get very hot.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Angela Judd

Friday 10th of May 2024

It hasn't been an issue for mine. It's hot for sure, but I haven't noticed that the arbor material makes a difference. I don't prune them back until after summer and there is usually plenty of foliage surrounding the canes.

JoAnne

Friday 16th of February 2024

Pruning mature roses, best way.... thanks! JoAnne

Angela Judd

Thursday 11th of April 2024

Remove all dead wood, crossing branches, touching canes, and non-producing canes. Prune out about one-third to no more than half of the previous season’s growth length. Remove all suckers below the graft.