Rose bushes as annuals?

richsdAugust 29, 2013

I've had such lousy results from my roses (especially in the summer of course), I'm wondering if it's wise to just buy them in the fall and treat them as cool season annuals? Am I nuts? When you consider the almost daily watering they require in the summer, this strategy makes more sense.

Who else has thought this?

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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Yeah, you're nuts! ;o) Just forget the roses and find another plant that isn't as much trouble or needs as much water. I actually don't think roses need much water in summer. They're just surviving till fall comes. Their blooms are dismal and their leaves are sunburned but it's all to be expected in this heat. Mine look terrible, but so do I till it cools off. Around October, the roses and I will perk up again.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 2:37AM
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They grow just fine in the Phoenix area: Jackson Perkins used to grow hundreds of acres of them out in Peoria.

You do have to ignore the advice from back East and the Midwest.

Pruning ... prune in the early fall, when the nights have cooled off, so you have great blooms all winter and into late spring. DO NOT PRUNE in the spring as is traditional elsewhere. The leaves will protect the stems from sunburn - they will look crappy, but they are shade.

Mulch thickly and water deeply when they need it. Having a drip system is great. Give them ironite and soil sulfur as needed.

If you can, give them afternoon shade. We had marvelous roses on the east side of the house, and strdssed but surviving ones on the south side.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 1:53PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

My roses are in the front yard facing east. They're planted in a circle around another bed. In that bed, I always plant sunflowers in the middle. The sunflowers provide some shade to roses on one side of the circle and when it get to the Hades part of summer, I put up a big umbrella to shade the other side. Do the roses look good? Are they blooming? Heck no, but they're not burning to a crisp either.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 7:32PM
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I grow lots of roses here in the hot hot Phx area. They don't do anything over the summer except try to survive but in October or so they start to recover and can bloom through December or so until it gets cold (if it does). They start blooming again in Feb or so and will bloom until it gets hot.

Try some old garden roses such as teas (NOT hybrid teas) and chinas, which seem to do better in the heat. You have to buy them online, however. Antique Rose Emporium and Chamblees in Texas carry them, as do several other vendors. The local nurseries rarely carry old garden roses, mostly because the growers don't make any money on them (no patent).

Plant in the fall, NOT the spring and water regularly. They should do fine.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 11:09AM
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jaspermplants, excellent suggestions. I've checked out that website before (Ant. Rose Emp.) I've never grown a true tea rose before.

One exception to my rose disappointments has been the floribunda called 'Laura Bush'. Burnt orange blooms turn to a deeper dusty shade, constantly blooming, glossy foliage- nice.
I can't say the same about the similar 'Hot Cocoa' variety.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 3:32PM
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Richsd, glad you checked out the website. Old garden roses are wonderful! The roses from Antique Rose Emporium are own root, not grafted, so they will be smaller than the ones you normally find in the local nurseries. But, they grow quickly, if you buy the right rose for this climate. Some teas I would recommend are:

Mme. Joseph Schwartz
Duchesse de Brabant
Maman Cochet
Papa Gontier

There are many more. They do get large so give them plenty of room.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 6:16PM
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Are roses Javy proof or are rabbits more of a concern?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 7:50PM
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Rich, growing roses in the valley can be a challenge but very do-able as others have pointed out. A great resource for growing beautiful roses is the Mesa Community College Rose Garden, volunteers grow and tend over 9,000 roses on the college grounds. It's a beautiful place to visit and get valuable information on growing, pruning and deadheading. They always welcome volunteers and are eager to share information. Take a look at their website:

Here is a link that might be useful: MCC Rose Garden

This post was edited by sundrop07 on Sun, Sep 1, 13 at 16:08

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 4:06PM
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hey, thanks sundrop. I've never been there- think I'll stop by sometime.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 5:25PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

I agree with the others of course, roses do great here as long as we adapt to the climate and enjoy them in autumn through spring instead of the dead of summer.

Great link, sundrop, thanks for posting it. I've heard people mention the rose garden at the MCC many times but have never visited it. Where exactly on campus is it? I've driven by and am not sure where to go. I'd love to check it out during high rose season this year.

Fun discussion all. Great tips from our rose experts too! Happy gardening,

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 5:53PM
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The MCC rose garden is along Southern Ave, just east of Dobson Rd., in Mesa, just over the Tempe border. You can see the roses from Southern. They are doing construction on Southern right now so it's kind of a hassle.

I live right over the border in Tempe, so they are right down the street from me.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Yes, the rose garden at MCC is in the north end of the campus just east of Dobson off Southern but I think you can turn into the college off Dobson south of Southern. I got this inDeadheaders meeting in The Garden this Saturday, September 7th, at 8:30 am (tomorrow!)
Hello Deadheaders!
Saturday September 7th is a Fall Pruning Day. Bring your friends and family. The Garden is showing the effects of all the Summer heat!! We will be pruning and meeting at 8:30. Coffee or Lemonade, Bagels & Krispy Kremes will be served. Please start early to beat the heat.

When you Deadhead check Bldg 40, Bldg 43A, or the Student Union for open restrooms on Saturdays and during the week. If you are around on Sundays please contact security at 480-461-7046 to open restroom access.
Mike Cryer
Volunteer Coordinator
formation this morning:

The best time to see them all in bloom is late fall after initial pruning which begins now then March thru May. It's worth the trip for sure.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 2:32PM
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I can't really add anything to what everyone else has already said except to point out that not every rose does equally well in the same exposure with the same amount of water. Some roses are divas and others are Teflon. I expect most of my modern roses (hybrid teas, minis, grandifloras) to putz out after about 15 years. The Old Garden Roses don't reach their stride until they've had some 4-6 years in the ground. Some of them will outlive me even in this Eternal Land of Summer. Roses do not like to be watered everyday...misting the leaves of a cool evening is ok... but the roots can't take up enough water to match the transpiration of a hot, dry, windy afternoon. Stop all fertilizers during hot weather. Things like sulfur regulate nitrogen uptake. When soil temperatures rise, sulfur is no longer available to the roots so the nitrogen goes nuts and creates additional burning and scorching. Absolutely no chemical sprays over 90F, especially in reflected heat, windy days and sprays that contain oils. We aren't striving for picture perfect roses in summer but trying to keep the poor things alive 'til the weather cools down...kinda like us gardeners.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 1:55AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

sundrop, how much pruning do you do at this time of year? Mine have struggled through the summer and I'd like to have some blooms this fall.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 8:14PM
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I'm not sundrop, but fall pruning involves removing about 1/4-1/3 the overall size of the bush, except climbers and new plantings. Since summer is longer and fall is shorter, plan to delay the vast majority of your pruning until the temps are under 100F for one solid week; usually about Oct 1. If you've been deadheading all summer, you probably won't need to remove more than a few inches of twiggy growth. Remove most candelabras (multiple canes growing from same area), weak and dead growth. I prune at a slight angle away from the center of the bush about 1/4inch above a leafset. Under the leafset is a budeye where a new cane will grow out. Pruning too early further stresses an already heat and drought ravaged bush. Pruning too late can cost a fall blooming season. When pruning, always cut to a cane thick enough to support a new cane, bud and bloom growth for that particular cultivar. Some people talk about 5-leaf sets, pencil-thick canes and angles of cuts. We're all saying about the same thing. Plan to start a light fertilizing routine about Oct 1 and start with something like fish emulsion or other organic-nitrogen based product. Wait to start a heavy fertilization until summer is gone and plants are starting to put out lots of healthy new growth. Miracle Grow is something you wait to apply until mid-to-late October.

Attend any of the local rose society meetings in September or visit a public rose garden the morning of the 3rd Saturday of any month when most volunteers are working, deadheading, pruning and so-forth.

Rosy Regards! Jeannie Cochell, Master Consulting Rosarian

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 6:52PM
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