How to Grow Roses in Phoenix


Roses have been cultivated since the early ancient Chinese, and are still found in gardens all over the world today. Roses are not the picky, reluctant plants some people think they are. Give roses lots of food, consistent water and ample sunshine and you'll be rewarded with hundreds of flowers. In Phoenix, roses have one more request, and that is for afternoon shade from the blistering summer sun.

Step 1

Locate the rose bed in an area that gets eight hours of sunshine. Afternoon shade in the summer is ideal. Plant roses any time except late May through late August, as Phoenix summers are too hot for roses to establish new roots. Plant bare root roses November through January.

Step 2

Dig a hole 2-feet deep and wide. Mix the removed soil with a half bucket of gypsum, four buckets of compost and two buckets of potting soil. Add slow release fertilizer per package directions and mix thoroughly. The gypsum counteracts the Phoenix soil's alkalinity, the compost adds organic material and the potting soil lightens the soil.

Step 3

Fill the hole with water and let it drain.

Step 4

Remove the rose from its container. If it's difficult to remove, check the bottom to see if any roots are protruding from the drainage holes. If so, cut them off. Place the container on its side and gently push down. Roll the container and push again. The rose should be much easier to remove now.

Step 5

Refill the hole to the size of the container the rose is currently growing in, plant the rose inside the hole and water it. The soil should be at the same level on the rose trunk in your garden as it was in the container.

Step 6

Water the rose once a week during the winter and every three or four days during the summer. Don't depend on summer rains. In Phoenix, storms will drop a half-inch to an inch of rain in a heavy downpour that has a tendency to run off rather than soak in. Deep water your roses in the summer once a month to get rid of accumulated salts.

Step 7

Fertilize every month by scratching a complete rose food into the soil. That's more often than package directions, but the additional watering in the summer means the rose food doesn't last as long.

Step 8

Prune the roses in December, if desired. Remove dead canes, crisscrossing branches and even up the plant. Pruning isn't required in Phoenix. If you cut the rose flowers with 18 to 24 inches of stem, you're giving the plant a light pruning every time you cut flowers. That's all it really needs.

Step 9

Remove aphids in early spring by washing them off with a stream of water from the hose. Keep an eye out for powdery mildew. The plant will look like it has white dust on it. Use a fungicide made for the purpose. Roses in Phoenix are somewhat prone to mildew because of the warm days and cooler nights during fall and spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Roses have thorns. Wear gloves when handling.

Things You'll Need

  • Rose plant
  • Shovel
  • 2-gallon bucket
  • Gypsum
  • Compost
  • Potting soil


  • "The Desert Gardener's Calendar"; George Brookbank; 1999
  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003

Who Can Help

  • Arizona Master Gardener Manual
Keywords: growing roses in Phoenix, grow roses in the Southwest, caring for roses in Phoenix

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.