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Don't Forget to Care For Your Roses in January!

Roses are a delicate plant in the desert southwest. Proper care throughout the year is critical, especially in the winter months.

Here are a few tips we'd like to pass on to you:

  • The most important task to start in January is pruning your roses. The best type of pruners to use are bypass pruners that work similar to scissors. Anvil type pruners will crush your rose stems. Remove the top 1/2 to 2/3 of the rose bush. Remove any dead canes and small twiggy growth. Also remove any canes that are crossing through the middle of the bush or rubbing against other canes. Make your cuts about 1/4 inch above a bud eye that is facing out from the center of the bush. Strip all leaves from the canes.
  • Once you’re done pruning, clean up all the old 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.
  • Purchase and plant bare root roses by the middle of February. Be sure to purchase high quality roses at local nurseries. Avoid buying pre-packaged roses at the “big box” stores. Standard roses need holes a minimum of 18 inches wide and deep, 24 inches is preferable. Prepare your soil using 1/2 original soil and 1/2 organic material such as peat moss or compost.
  • Now is a good time to purchase and plant miniature roses also. This gives them plenty of time to get established before the summer heat. Miniature roses need holes a minimum of 12 inches wide and deep. If you are planting them in pots, plastic pots at least 12 inches in diameter are best.
  • Check your roses in pots to see if they need to be repotted. If the soil has become too compacted, the tiny hair roots can’t get the oxygen they need.
  • Shovel prune (dig up) roses you no longer like. Or if a rose did not perform well in its current location, consider moving it. Do not fertilize your roses this month.
  • Continue to water your roses, once or twice a week depending on the daytime temperatures. Be sure you are deep watering to a depth of 18—24 inches. Roses in pots typically need to be watered more often than roses in the ground.

If you’re in need of any help, our staff at Sonoran Gardens is always here to help. Just give us a call at 520-579-9411.

4261 West Jeremy Lot #2, Tucson, AZ 85741   |   Tel: 520.579.9411   |   E-mail:
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