heat-tolerant container roses?

sunnysiderosesJanuary 10, 2014

I live in Redding, CA and would like to start some hybrid teas in containers on my deck. I have part shade, but a good chunk of the deck gets full day sun...and full day sun in summer here, well, it can be a little brutal. It's a very Mediterranean climate, mild and dry, but summers always get up to 115 degrees for a few weeks. I know this is the least ideal situation for hybrid teas, and I've been trying to plant other things, but my heart is still set on roses...
I figure it may be inevitable that I'll have to bring pots over to the shade side for part of the summer, but I was hoping someone might have a success story that could help me out before I choose varieties.
(I particularly love yellow, orange, and dark pink roses. I would love to get a Chrysler Imperial or a Tahitian Sunset if anyone knows that they will do well in heat.)
Thanks in advance!

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Maryl zone 7a

I can certainly empathize with your situation. Finding a large flowered rose that's suitable for containers in a hot climate is a challenge. We don't have weeks of 115 degree temperatures here, but we certainly have weeks where the temps can be well over 100-105. July and August are almost always brutal here.....As much as I love Chrysler Imperial, it's heat tolerance stops above 95. Pretty good, but not for your situation. There is another red rose suitable for a container that has stood the test of time and temperature for me. A Harkness bred HT named Lady Mitchell (mine are from Heirloom). Stays a nice compact shape and seems always to have multiple slow to open/fade blooms on it. For a decorative container rose with large blooms it's just about perfect in my book......Maryl

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:07PM
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The main issue with your heat is the size and type of container you're intending to use. There IS a great difference between the heat tolerance of the various types. Plant roots want cool, damp, dark conditions in which to live. Clay and ceramic are cooking utensils. You can actually buy cookware made out of those materials. They're very efficient as they absorb, retain and radiate heat for a long time. Plastic, foam, wood even concrete containers vary in their heat efficiency with foam, wood and concrete providing the most insulation from the direct heat of the sun's rays as well as the air and reflected surface heat. For a deck, you probably want the lightest material available to reduce the load and damage to the surface and structure. I would definitely suggest the largest containers you can handle and find, and definitely wooden or foam types as the first choice, with plastic used as a distant third.

Think of the roots as perishable, requiring an ice chest to insulate them from heat damage. The material you choose should provide that heat insulation to prevent direct cooking of the roots against the container sides, as well as the heat cooking all of the soil moisture from the root ball and eventually damaging or even killing the plant. You may be able to successfully grow a hybrid tea in a seven gallon container without that extra heat, so you might want to consider at least a ten gallon, perhaps even a fifteen gallon container for the same rose on the deck.

You are probably also going to consider a saucer under the pot to reduce the water damage and staining to the deck surface, but that is likely not a good idea for the plant. All of the dissolved "salts" in the water, plus those already in the soil and any fertilizers are going to reduce, concentrate, in the saucer and, hence, the soil like over cooking a soup or sauce too long, making them saltier and saltier until the concentration becomes toxic, even fatal for the plant. If you need to use a saucer under the pot, you'd be best served by filling it with gravel so there is some room for the drain water while the soil is kept out of it so none of the increasingly salty water is drawn back up into the roots.

I think you'll find if you stagger the pot sizes with smaller ones, containing more heat tolerant plant types, in front of the larger pots, you can also reduce the direct and radiated heat effects on the larger pots. Some people plant other plants in with the roses, which isn't my preference. A vigorously growing plant needs all the moisture it can get. Most of the time, a pot becomes too restricted in size and water holding capabilities. Adding any other roots to that soil ball increases the competition between the plants and increases the necessity for you to water more often.

As for which specific varieties of roses are more "heat tolerant", the most suitable information for you will come from those who grow them in similar arid heat to yours. A humid 100 degrees is far different from an arid 100 degrees. You can successfully grow "sun azaleas" in hot, humid sun. They will NOT grow in my arid, hot sun of similar recorded temperature even with properly amended soil, adjusted fertilizer and water levels. That humidity can make all the difference in the world whether a petal endures the heat, or simply fries. You'll find very, very few roses have petals which will endure full, triple digit sun exposure, particularly in a container which is significantly hotter than what the surrounding soil temperatures are just a few inches under ground. Also keep in mind that the air temps might be one level, but the reflected, radiated heat from the deck surface can easily increase the surrounding heat dramatically, sometimes an easy twenty degrees, or more, during the most intense part of the day. That's what enables people in cooler/colder climates to successfully grow more tender plant types in pots and against walls where the heat is greater and lasts longer.

Of course, these are all choices and decisions you'll need to make and all are up to you. But, knowing some of the considerations to keep in mind, permits you to make the ones best suited for the plants you want and your "gardening style", time and energy. Good luck! Kim

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:26PM
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Thank you so much for the advice! Very helpful :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 12:52PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

I live up the mountain from you in Weaverville and most of my roses grow in full sun all day, but I don't grow them in containers because of all of the reasons Kim mentioned above.

I'd probably go for a larger pot than a 10 gallon container because you can line the pot with bubble wrap that will add an extra layer of insulation against the heat. Keep in mind, you will have to re-pot these plants every few years.

Also, my night temps cool off during the night allowing the plants to pull up moisture from the root zone and rehydrate the top growth. That's a major advantage.

Even planted in the ground, the transpiration rate ... loss of moisture through the foliage ... will be higher than the plant can pull up moisture from the roots to the top growth and your roses will look like they are wilting and are water stressed, even when they are well watered. You have the additional problem of not allowing the soil in the container to be too wet in that it can cause root rot. Tricky.

Also, I have a shorter growing season than you do down in Redding. When I go down the mountain to do my monthly shopping, the roses are in bloom a full month before mine have started.

Two of the HTs I am growing that stand up to the heat the best are 'Tropicana' and 'Tournament of Roses'. Both have thick petal substance and dense foliage. I've found those two plant characteristics are the best indicators of heat tolerance in our climate. BUT, it's not always true. Last year I planted 'Firefighter', which has those characteristics, but the blooms are fried within a day.

For a yellow, although I am not currently growing it, you might want to try 'St. Patrick'. I plan to add that rose to my garden when I can find one budded. 'Fran├žois Rabelais' is the only red that really handles the heat in my garden and is classified as a floribunda.

The floribunda 'Fabulous' holds up to the heat and keeps on blooming. In my garden, it can grow as tall as any of the HTs.

The modern moss rose 'Kim Rupert' is another rose that handles the heat very well. No fried blooms.

I do grow several roses that only look great during the spring and fall during the cooler temps. For those, I cut the blooms just beyond the bud stage and bring them into the house during the periods of very high temps. There are just some roses I can't give up just because of the heat ... lol.

I think you can find the best quality roses in Redding at Gold Leaf Nursery. Their budded roses are the best I have seen in twenty years. They are not carrying anything in this year's inventory that I really want for my garden, but they do have some good roses.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 7:58PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

I forgot ....

Kippy-the-Hippy, in Socal, posted that OSH was carrying Weeks roses in 3 gal paper pots.


I haven't checked Redding's Orchard Supply to see what roses they have this year, but I think starting with a 3 gal plant instead of a band, gives you a better chance of getting the rose established before the heat hits.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:21PM
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Just wanted to add my two cents. I live near Sacramento--pretty darned hot! I prefer floribundas but do have some HTs in pots. I ran out of ground a long time ago and have quite a few in pots. If it is a truly special rose, I do find a ground spot by removing a non-performer.

Always plastic pots or maybe foam, I like the big square ones but the round ones work too. I use redwood bark mulch in the pots, an absolute must for me. It really helps. My roses are in full sun. You must religiously water them each day in the hot weather. So my occasional dog sitter must and is willing to water my pots along with taking my dog out twice a day!

Some weaker roses have done better in pots than in the ground for me. Have fun with your potted roses!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 10:14PM
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I live in Selma (near Fresno, CA). Gets very hot here. I have roses growing in pots on my deck. Two big pots with Bolero (white romantica) rose - standard form. Great fragrance. Blooms all summer.
I like the standard form because when I sit in my chair on the deck, the roses are above my head and the fragrance is wonderful. Also, it is easier to arrange the furniture around the standard roses. I underplant them with a hardy geranium.

I have found Fame! to be a very heat tolerant HT, Its cerise, color doesn't fade and blooms all summer (no fragrance).
Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 1:07AM
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