It’s getting hot—and it’s really getting hot if you’re a rose bush.

Although roses grow beautifully in the desert, the heat takes its toll. Don’t expect your roses to bloom in the middle of the summer, and remember to cut the amount of fertilizer in half from June through August. This allows your rose bushes to rest during the heat of the summer.

Here are a few hints to maintain lovely rose plants over the next few months:

  • Water, water, water! Be sure the water gets down to the roots. If possible, submerge the container in a bucket of water to saturate the soil. Once well-watered, return the container to its original location.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch! Using an organic mulch like straw, compost, chipped bark, ground western cedar or pine needles helps keep the soil cool and retain moisture.
  • Use the hose on the gentle spray nozzle setting to sprinkle your plants several times a day for added moisture and insect control.
  • Do not prune the leaves. The leaves help shade the canes and hold moisture. Pack rats have been known to eat the new growth on bushes; if this is the case, contact a pest-control company. Always remember to deadhead when necessary.
  • You might try shade cloth during the worst heat of the day. This keeps the sun off, the heat down and the humidity up.

In September return to your regular amount of fertilizer and continue applying these nutrients until November.

Marylee Pangman is the founder and former owner of The Contained Gardener in Tucson, Ariz. She has become known as the desert’s potted garden expert. She is available for digital consultations, and you can email her with comments and questions at Follow the Potted Desert at Get a free copy of Ten Top Tips to Desert Potted Garden Success by visiting