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Planting Roses in Arizona

By Katie Jensen ; Updated September 21, 2017
Grow roses in Arizona

Roses grow well in Arizona. They put on a showy flower display from mid-April to the end of May and again in the fall. Since most of Arizona doesn't have cold winters, roses don't go into dormancy. Roses blooming during the winter holidays aren't unusual. Select a variety of rose that does well in the heat for best results.

Choose a location that gets a minimum of six hours of sunlight. Afternoon shade in the summer is ideal. Temperatures in Arizona consistently reach over 100 degrees during June, July and August. The roses will do better with some protection from the blistering heat.

Dig a hole 2 feet deep and wide. Add a bucket of gypsum to the removed soil. Arizona soil is alkaline. Roses prefer soil that is on the acid side. The gypsum helps counteract the alkalinity of the soil. Add two buckets of compost and rose fertilizer per package directions. Mix well.

Break up any calcium carbonate deposits also called "caliche." Caliche is common in Arizona soils. It looks like compacted light grey material that is very hard. It can be found from within a few inches to several feet under ground. Break it up with a pick axe and remove.

Fill the hole with water and let it drain.

Replace the soil in the hole until the hole is the size of the container of the rose. Water again to settle the soil. You may have to add a bit more soil to the hole.

Remove the rose from the nursery container, checking the bottom of the pot for roots coming through the drainage holes. Cut the roots if necessary. If it is difficult, to remove the rose, place the container on its side and roll on the ground, pressing on the sides of the container. If you still can not get the rose out, do not pull on the trunk. Cut the container down the sides.

Lightly score the sides and bottom of the root ball with a knife to loosen the roots.

Place the rose in the hole. The soil level of the rose should be slightly--no more than 1 inch--below the soil level of the hole. Fill in the hole. Form a well around the rose by mounding up the soil 4 to 6 inches and 12 inches away from the trunk of the rose.

Use the same soil preparation technique to plant bare-root roses. Fill in the hole so it's not any deeper than the length of the roots. Mound the dirt in an inverted cone shape in the center of the hole. Spread the roots over the cone shape. Fill in the hole completely following the remainder of the steps.

Mulch the base of the plant. All-American Rose Selections (AARS) advises mulching each rose plant with a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Gypsum
  • Compost
  • Pick axe
  • 1-gallon bucket
  • Rose fertilizer
  • Knife


  • Plant roses 3 feet apart.
  • AARS recommends that Southwestern gardeners should water roses regularly to a depth of 2 feet, using a soil probe to ensure water reaches that depth.


  • Wear gloves roses have thorns.

About the Author


Katie Jensen's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in business and personal finance. Her passion includes cooking, eating and writing about food.