About Roses in the Garden
Roses are an excellent choice for Tucson's relatively dry climate. However they do like a more acid soil than occurs naturally in Tucson. The solution: grow them in containers with quality soils like 'Black Gold' and the FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil. They do well in the ground if peat moss or a high quality composted mulch like the Master Nursery Bumper Crop is added to the existing soil, along with soil sulfur.
Roses also love Tony Sarah's fertilizer, better known as 'Tony's Magic Dust'. It will soon be on the market as 'Another Round'. It's companion fertilizer will also be great for roses and will be called 'Bloom Booze'. He's also created a balanced potting soil called 'Dirt Martini'. His 'Magic Dust' or 'Earth's Original Organics' is currently available at The Magic Garden. Issues with powdery mildew and black spot occur with far less frequency than they do in other parts of the country.
Having trouble growing roses in the full sun in Tucson? Just follow the recommendations mentioned above and add water. Water daily for container roses, and about twice a week for well-established roses in the ground. Use of a coarse coconut coir mulch topper helps hold the moisture also.
Roses are heavy feeders also. Plan on feeding every four to six weeks during the growing season, from mid-February to November. That way you can have roses in bloom for Christmas. Roses can handle both the summer heat and the winter cold in Tucson. In fact, they need some winter chill! No need to cover them when it freezes. Prune them in January, just before they bud out for spring. Check our link to Pruning and Caring for Roses in January
Roses are also subject to pests. Aphids and thrips feed off the tender leaves and flowers. Borers also fly in and bore holes in the stems of the roses, especially where the stems have been cut for flowers. Fertilome makes an excellent Rose Food with a systemic insecticide to help control rose pests. Grow More makes an excellent water soluble food called Magnum Grow Rose Food. Tony's Magic Dust also contains neem cake which helps discourage pests.