Planting Roses in Arizona

Planting Roses in Arizona

It is prime time for planting roses in the Phoenix area, in fact it will soon be too late. Roses are best planted during the latter half of December and January in the Phoenix area. For northern Arizona it is best to wait until March and April. Growing Roses in the desert southwest is a great addition of the traditional gardening centerpiece. While a lot of xeriscapes focus on primarily desert plants like succulents and trees that are adapted to the desert heat, roses are the crowning jewel that can set your yard apart.

Rose Selection

Selecting the roses you want to incorporate into your landscape is a straightforward process with just a few things to keep in mind. The size of the full grown

Size – Different types of rose variants grow to be different sizes. The type of roses you choose for your landscape should take into consideration how large the fully grown plant will be. Savvy gardeners plan for the full size of their plants so they do not have to over prune, or remove plants that rub against houses or fight for space and sunlight in their landscape. Some types of roses like to grow and climb. This means they should be planted in areas that include support for the climbing types of roses.

Climate – Every plant has a rating for which zone it grows best in. The Phoenix valley varies between zone 8 and zone 9. Choose roses that will do well in this environment. They should be more heat resistant than geared to resist the cold like you would need in northern Arizona.

Grades Of Roses – When you are looking at roses to plant in your landscape you want to make sure that you select nothing less than the best. Roses are graded as 1,1 ½, and 2, with number 1 being the best grade. You will be able to recognize a number one grade rose when there are three or more “canes” that are as thick as a pencil. Number 1 ½ will only have 2 canes that are pencil thick, and number 2 roses will be only a foot from where the canes come together.

How To Plant Roses

The way you buy your roses will affect how and when you should plant them. Nurseries in the Phoenix valley during the cold months should offer bare root, packaged, and container roses. If you are buying either bare root or packaged you should make sure to have them in the ground by the end of January.

Bare Root & Packaged

If the roses you buy are either packaged or sold to you with bare roots you will need to get them in the ground in late December or January. Before planting you should soak the roots in water for a few hours.


Roses that are left over from the dormant period of the year are sold in containers. These roses can be planted at any time during the year.

Rose Spacing

The various types of roses grow to different diameters. You should plan your landscape to not be overcrowded and give each rose plant its own space. For polyanthas and miniatures you should plan between a 1 and 2 feet. Rose shrubs need twice that space and should be given 2 to 4 feet. Tree roses grow to a greater diameter and should be allowed between 3 and 5 feet. Climbing roses should have even more space, between 6 and 10 feet of space. Climbing roses also grow better when eastern exposure.

Planting Your Bare Root Roses

  1. The first step in planting your roses is to soak it in water for at least 8 hours. They can do well with up to 24 hours of soaking if you are not going to be home, or want to give it the maximum saturation.
  2. Digging your hole is the next project. It should be between 18 to 30 inches wide to accommodate the root system and the root ball.
  3. Mix soil with a cup of triple superphosphate and a cup of sulfur
  4. Create a cone shape mound in the center of the hole with your mix and native soil.
  5. Spread out the roots of your roses to fit over the cone. The union between the canes and root should be about 2 inches above the soil line.
  6. Trim the canes to about 8 to 10 inches. You want to make sure the top buds are facing out from the center of the plant.
  7. To help retain the water you provide you will want to have about a 4 inch layer of mulch around the surface of the plant.
  8. Ensure that you water well every day for the first week.

Roses For Sale In The East Phoenix Valley

If you live in the Phoenix valley and want the best selection and most knowledgeable customer service A&P nursery has 4 locations to serve you. With the best stock of plants in the East Valley we can get you everything you need to get started with growing your own roses. We also have a list of great landscaping companies that we can recommend to plant the specific roses you choose. Call or visit one of our locations to ask any questions you have or to get started with planting your own roses in the Phoenix area.

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