Monday, February 3, 2014

Prune Your Roses for Early Spring Blooms and Desert Heat Rose Health

Posted By on Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Enjoy Roses in Your Desert Garden
  • The Potted Desert
  • Enjoy Roses in Your Desert Garden

You will want to finish pruning your roses by early-February (preferably this week in the Palm Springs desert) so that they can rest for a couple weeks before our early spring tells them to start growing! Follow these steps for a healthy spring bloom! The same instructions apply for all Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses.

Pruning Use bypass pruners that work similar to scissors. Anvil-type pruners will crush your rose stems.

Rose Bushes before Pruning
  • The Potted Desert
  • Rose Bushes before Pruning

1. Prune the rose bush down to a height of 8-12”. Yes — this will remove ½ to 2/3 of the plant.
2. Remove any dead canes and small twiggy growth.
3. Remove any canes that are crossing through the middle of the bush or rubbing against other canes. This also opens up the center of the plant. You want your bush to have a “vase” shape to it.
4. Make your cuts about 1/4 inch above a bud eye that is facing out from the center of the bush.
5. Strip all leaves from the canes.
Roses after pruning - with new growth!
  • The Potted Desert
  • Roses after pruning - with new growth!

Clean Up
Remove all the old mulch and dead leaves and throw them in the trash, not your compost pile. Dead leaves can often have mildew spores and other diseases on them that can infest your compost pile and create problems later on.
1. Apply both a pesticide and a fungicide to your pruned roses and the ground around the plants. Fungus spores such as mildew can live through the winter in your soil.
2. Seal pruned canes larger than a pencil with carpenter’s glue (it’s waterproof) to protect against cane borers.
3. Re-potting: Check your roses in pots to see if they need to be repotted. How low is the soil in the pot? If it is lower than 3 inches below the rim, it is probable that the soil has become too compacted and the tiny hair roots can’t get the oxygen they need. Lift the entire plant out of the pot, loosen any soil around the root ball and repot in fresh potting soil.
Water and Feed
1. Do not fertilize your roses until mid-February.
2. Continue to water your ground-planted roses, once or twice a week depending on the daytime temperatures. Be sure you are deep watering to a depth of 18 to 24 inches.
3. Roses in pots typically need to be watered more often than roses in the ground, approximately providing them with a deep watering every 4 days.

Want to keep your money out of the compost heap? Sign up for the Desert Potted View and our Free Monthly Potted Garden tips - sign up at Potted Desert Newsletter.


Marylee is the founder and former owner of Tucson’s The Contained Gardener. With more than 15 years of successfully designing and growing potted gardens in the desert’s challenging and oftentimes harsh climate, Marylee has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for in-home or digital consultations and you can always email her with your questions and comments. Follow The Potted Desert on Facebook! Marylee is also available for business growth counseling.

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