Photo: My Abraham Darby shrub rose and my little dog, Tobey.
If you live in a hot arid climate like me, chances are that your roses are feeling the heat and aren’t looking their best right now. While gardeners in cooler climates celebrate summer with beautiful rose blooms, the opposite is true for those of us who live in the desert.
Roses actually grow quite well in hot, southwestern zones, and even though mine has a somewhat sunburned appearance – I’m not worried because this is normal.
You see, roses that are grown in the low desert regions, don’t like the intense sun and heat that summer brings. As a result, the flowers become smaller, and the petals burn in the sun and turn crispy. By July, you will likely not see any new roses appearing until October once the weather cools.
The rose blooms themselves aren’t the only parts of the roses affected by the summer heat – the leaves can come away sunburned as well.
When faced with brown crispy petals and leaves, you may want to prune away the damaged leaves, but don’t.
There are two reasons why you shouldn’t prune your roses in the summer. The first is that pruning will stimulate new growth that will be even more susceptible to sunburn damage. Second, the older branches and leaves will help to shade the growth underneath the sun.
I know that it is very hard not to prune away the browning leaves, but once September comes around, you can get out your pruning shears and prune back your rose bushes by 1/3. This will remove the sun-damaged flowers and leaves, stimulating new growth.
Before you start lamenting the less than stellar appearance of your summer roses and feel that it is easier to grow roses in other regions, you would be wrong. Oh, certainly, we have to deal with our roses not looking their best in the summer. But, compare that with gardeners in other areas who have to deal with the dreaded Japanese beetle that shows up every summer and eats their roses. Or, how about those people who live in more humid climates and are having to deal with severe cases of blackspot or powdery mildew (white spots on the leaves).
And lastly – we are fortunate to enjoy two separate blooming seasons for our roses. In fall, when many other gardeners are putting their roses to bed for the winter, ours are getting ready to bloom a second time that year.
And so, I will ignore my less than beautiful roses this summer, because I know that they will look fantastic this fall 🙂