Growing Roses in Southern California

Best Roses to Grow in Southern California

This page is about growing roses in Southern California and also about the best roses to grow in this region.

As long as roses are adequately watered, roses in Southern California thrive in the dry air that minimizes fungal problems.

Southern California, blessed with a dry climate that prevents many rose diseases, is a wonderful area to grow roses.

I should know. I live in Los Angeles and have been growing roses here since 1963, so I have lots of experience and knowledge about the rose varieties that grow the best here.

As a member of the Los Angeles Rose Society and the American Rose Society I have access to information about what roses perform well here.

My husband Tony in our Los Angeles garden. The arbor he is standing under is covered with the Blush Noisette rose. A very fragrant climber that thrives here.

4 Climate Zones
Growing Roses in Southern California

To be successful growing roses in SoCal, which the locals call it, you need to find out what climate zone you garden in here.

Southern California has four distinct climate regions.

The coastal areas with its mild year around climate.

The high desert which is known for its extreme temperature swings.

The inland areas with moderate temperatures and where winter frost is rare, but summer temperatures can rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

And the mountain areas, with snowy, cold winters and warm summers.

However, gardeners in all these areas can grow terrific roses, if they pick the right rose varieties.

Tips About Rose Varieties To Grow

In my garden I specialize in old garden roses, shrub roses and noisettes.

But I also love miniature roses, floribundas, and of course hybrid tea roses.

One of my favorite old antique roses is Rose de Rescht. It blooms throughout the long growing season here in Southern California from April through November, and even into December.

Since there are so many roses that work well here, it's best to choose one based on what you are looking for.

For example don't buy a large rose for a small space, because it wouldn't look good.

We gardeners want lots of blooms on our roses, so make sure the rose is known for its prolific flower production.

The Iceberg rose. a prolific floribunda rose, is growing in most gardens here in Los Angeles, because it's always covered with blooms.

Although, I have never had any problem with rust here, some rose gardeners in both coastal and inland areas have occasional problems with rust on the roses, a fungus that grows under the leaves.

Therefore, I recommend you do a weekly check on the undersides of your rose foilage so you can catch it early before it does damage to your roses.

But Moonstone rose and many other roses, listed below, resist rust damage.

The best roses to grow in the mountains of SoCal are the more cold hardy roses, because of the cold winters there.

Watering Roses
Growing Roses in Southern California

Because of the lack of rainfall during long periods here, you need to pay attention to watering your roses.

Rememeber the song 'It Never Rains in Southern California' by Albert Hammond? He introduced it in 1974.

Well there is a lot of truth to those lyrics, even though we will have some sporadic downpours during the winter months, we can never count on mother nature to water our plants.

So give your roses a good soaking twice a week, and significantly more often in the heat of the summer.

This is especially important in the desert areas of Southern California during the summer.

Feeding Schedule
Growing Roses in Southern California

To make sure my roses are blooming to their fullest, I fertilize my roses once a month from February through the end of May. And then again from August through November.

Only use a fertilizer that is made for roses, because it will have the right elements for the maximum flower production.

Roses will often bloom year-round in Southern California, except for in the mountain regions.

Top Roses For Southern California

Bees Knees*, Berries 'n'Cream*, Black Magic*, Cal Poly*, Fabulous, Flower Girl, Fourth of July*, Gemini*, Gold Medal, Iceberg, Irresistable, Long Tall Sally, Marilyn Monroe*, Moonstone*, Penelope*, Playgirl, Lady Bank's, Rose de Rescht, Sally Holmes, Sheila's Perfume, Singin' in the Rain, St. Patrick*, Veterans Honor*, Watercolors,

* Does well in extreme heat.

Pruning Roses in Southern California
Growing Roses In Southern California

Early January is rose pruning time here in the southland.

To help the rose go dormant, you should remove all foilage from the plant, after the pruning. This will force the rose bush to go dormant.

Roses need to be dormant and take a rest to conserve energy, before growing new flowering canes for the upcoming growing season.

Wait to fertilize until new growth starts appearing, usually around February, depending on the rose type.

Rose Buying Time In Southern California

Bare root roses are available in the region in November, December and January, and can be planted directly into plastic pots.

The roots warm up quickly this way, and the roses get off to fast start in pots.

They do need a little more attention to watering than do roses in the ground, so don't neglect them.

You can start planting them in your garden toward the end of February.

If you are fortunte enough to be growing roses in Southern California, please feel free to use my Contact form (on top) and share your rose growing experiences with us.


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