Roses for the Southwest

Roses for the Southwest

Last Updated on February 14, 2020 by Paul Guzman

Roses for the southwest.  How do you care for them? It is a bit tricky especially in the Southwest where temperatures can get as high as 115 or more during the mid-summer seasons. But the good news is that it is not as hard as some people may believe.

In the Southwest and there are 6 solid tips for making your roses look good.

  1. Give them plenty of water – 3-4 times per week during the summer.  4 or 5 ga. of water each time.
  2. Fertilize often water thoroughly before fertilizing.  Always use Rose food fertilizer or at very least all-purpose fertilizers. Once per month March through Late October.
  3. Observe your roses on a weekly basis.  At the first sign of insects or diseases treat them ASAP.  Identify rose problems
  4. They need at least 6 hours of sun each day. A little shade in the afternoon really helps.
  5. The Southwestern soil is poor and alkaline use rich loamy organic compost when you first plant them.
  6. Roses should NOT stand in water, even during dormant winter months. Make sure your soil drains well always!

Make Your Roses Look Good

Best roses for hot climates

Where to Plant Roses?

In the Southwest they can be planted alone or with other companion perennials. You can plant them in containers and move them around.  Be sure to give them enough room to fill out. Normally around 3-4ft. between plants. Remember to plant roses where falling snow, ice, or any other debris will not damage Your Roses.

In cooler, climates they can tolerate full sun but the full blazing sun in the southwest can scorch the foliage. So, I recommend planting them in the morning sun and late afternoon shade if possible.  They will still do well in the hot sun providing extra water during the mid-summer months.

The Best time to prune growing roses is from December through early February. Only prune if there is a real need to do so. Pruning just for the sake of pruning is not a good idea. You do have to prune off dead branches or expired blooms. Deep watering is better than shallow water.

Use a good “Mulch” to retain water. Compost, bark, straw or other similar materials help to discourage weeds! Typically roses should be fertilized once in early spring, summer and early fall. If you want them to look and bloom more often fertilize at least once per month.  Don’t fertilize during colder climates or the winter season.

Roses are susceptible to aphids, thrips, powdery mildew, and other diseases. Read more about rose problems here  Rose Bush Problems.

Trimming Your Roses

Only prune and trim if there is need too. Prune old dying dark brown branches and limbs. Prune off all expired blooms. And remove if needed prune down to the third or fourth limb.

I recommend using Corona pruner for pruning almost anything – This gardening tool has a forged steel alloy blades hold a sharp cutting edge and are heat-treated for superior hardness and strength. This is what all our employees at Color Your World Nurseries use. Easy long-lasting pruners. Next time you’re in one of our stores make sure to ask for one. The Corona Clipper 3/4-Inch Forged Bypass pruner is ideal for rose pruning.

Best Roses for Hot Climates

One of the best roses for hot climates is the Knockout Shrub rose developed by

Best Roses for Hot Climates
The Knockout rose flowers.

Some things to do when planting the Knockout roses. Water every day for about 3 weeks when first planted.  Cut down to about 20-30 minutes every other day on a good drip system after that.   Water first before applying fertilizer and be sure to follow the instructions on the product label.  Use a well-balanced rose fertilizer inside the dripline in a circle a foot or two from the base.

We recommend Miracle-Gro, Rose Food, this plant Food Will Last Up To 3 Months.  For blooms try BR61 early in the season. Want to go organic? Use FoxFarms all-purpose organic and natural fertilizers.

Many of our roses come in 3 ga. peat pot containers, which are bio-degradable and can be planted in the ground with the pot.

Fertilize when rose plant leaves come out.

Do not fertilize during winter.  You will waste your fertilizer as these nutrients will only seep through the ground. However, you can apply a root stimulator or a root vitamin for new root growth. This holds true for most plants that go dormant during the winter.

Fertilize again after first bloom. In the southwest things go dormant rather late…so the latest date is around early November. As stated before do not fertilize in December, January, and February. Foliage will start to grow around mid-late March.

Test your soil before you plant roses.  The PH level should be around 7.0 the southwest has poor alkaline soil and tests will usually register above 7.1 or so.  Use good organic compost when planting this will lower the alkaline level of your soil.

Types of Roses

Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora Rose -They are large elegant blooms on long straight stems ideal for cutting.
Ground Cover Roses – Most climbing roses can be used for Groundcover.
Floribunda -A busy rose with clustered bloom habit.
English Rose -These roses have fully double blooms of old roses with repeated flowering-ideal for landscaping.
Climbing Rose -The climbing rose is named for the climbing habit, they grow best along trellises or arbors.  You should cut down all but three of the strongest, most powerful canes during the winter season.  This gives the rose plenty of energy to put into growing stronger, more vigorous vines.

Best Rose for Hot Climates
Climbing pink roses. There is a trellis in the background. Climbing roses do need support. Trellis, Arbor or a pole with wire attached will work. Image by Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay

Hedge Rose – Used for low maintenance fencing along property lines.  Below a nice hedge of Knockout roses shaded by two large Live Oak trees.

Roses for hot climates
A hedge or Knockout roses in front of Adobe-style home.

Shrub Rose – They are known for there trouble-free and easy to grow maintenance.

A yellow shrub rose
A nice looking yellow shrub rose

Miniature Roses – Bloom’s structure and habit of hybrid teas, miniature roses are grown in containers used for landscaping in smaller areas.  They will do great in the southwest.  Plant them in containers or in the ground.  Full sun or partial shade. Do not plant them in full shade.


Miniature Roses
Miniature Rose – Pink 2 ft. tall about 3 ft. wide. Image by RococoNeko from Pixabay

Tree Rose – Excellent for the patio or around large statuary and pond areas.

Patio Tree Roses
Photo Courtesy of © Weeks Roses

Due to the seasonal nature of our roses and the limited quantities of many varieties.

Not all roses are available at various times. If the rose plant you are looking for is not available, Guzman’s Greenhouse or Color Your World may be able to recommend a substitute plant appropriate for your garden or landscape conditions.

Where do our roses come from?  The majority come from Weeks Roses and they both have just about any type, color, and variety of roses available today.

Roses for the Southwest

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