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Climate Change- Caring for Roses in Extreme Heat

I have always had a rose garden in every home we purchased.  I moved to Ohio in the mid-seventies and planted roses which I thoroughly enjoyed. Roses do take a bit of work, and I am not the most caregiving rose owner. But I never experienced the problems with my roses that occurred this Summer.

My Roses

When I moved to the condo, I planted a couple of roses bushes in my front and back gardens. I placed a Mr. Lincoln in the rear garden, and a Peach rose in both the front and back. The rear garden got morning sun, and the roses were in dabbled sunlight in the afternoons. The Peace Rose in the front got mostly afternoon sun.

I enjoyed the roses and mainly sprayed a couple of times a year for bugs, fought off hoards of Japanese beetles in the summer months of July and August. Black spot, a fungus caused by too much moisture was not a problem.

I began to notice the weather changes in the late nineties. NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have released a statement concerning the changes in Ohio weather since the 1990s. See it HERE

They explain that Ohio sits in an unsheltered landmass in the middle of the country with the great lakes to the north and no barriers such as mountains to contain or buffer the arctic cold or keep back the heat from the gulf. The very north of Ohio’s exposure to the lakes increases their precipitation levels. But, all of Ohio had suffered from increased rainfall and snowful over the past twenty years. That said, the mid and south of the state have dealt with arid conditions periodically, especially since the late 1990s

To sum up, Ohio, like the rest of the world now has a higher than past temperature range. Because the world is hotter than it has been, the weather extremes are continuing and are expected to continue over the next years.

The issue of climate change aside; I know my roses today are not doing as well as they have in the past. We have had multiple days of over 90 degrees with heat indices over 100 for many days in July and expected in August again. The hot days in Ohio last month were comparable to temperatures my friends in Virginia and Arizona felt this past Summer.

In Arizona, gardeners are recommending providing shelter for the rose in the high heat of the day. Roses do need 6 hours of sunlight to bloom and grow. But Arizona is supporting the use of umbrellas to protect the roses. See Here

Additionally, we have gone from too much rain in the Spring and start of Summer to the hot weather and now lack of rain. Watering the roses did not seem to afford me much of a change in my roses. I was able to control the black spot in the Spring, and the roses began to respond and bloom, but now they look dead.

Tim Carruth, the curator at San Marino gardens in California, opines that roses can withstand more than we think. He is experiencing heat but mainly drought in California, and he recommends a change in the past thinking of rose care. See HERE.

My Plan

Sadly, my roses have gone dormant.  Based on my research today, I will have to change my rose care.  After much consideration, I have formulated a plan.

First, I must decide if keeping roses in Ohio is a garden practice I want to continue. I love roses. However, hydrangea and Peonies are also great favorites of mine and look great even in this heat.

If I do decide to keep the roses, I will move the roses next Spring. I cannot keep then out in the unsheltered front full sun rose bed I made for them last year.

Next, I’ll revert the rose bed back to a grass lawn. I have always had at least two roses in my gardens; both hybrid teas: Mr. Lincoln and the Peace rose. I hope I can save Mr. Lincoln. A beautiful deep red with a fantastic rose scent. If so, I will place in in the back right-sided bed under the yellow. It will get full morning sun but then have dabbled afternoon sun sheltered by that tree. He is an old-style rose, and I had to order him by mail as I could not get him in the local nurseries.

I will place the Peace roses and whoever survives this winter in the left side bed, again toward the patio where there is some sun. Fortunately, the yellow and each Peace rose is a favorite variety. They do make shade favoring rose bushes, and I will look into trying to grow these in my gardens next year.

I also found a site that recommended surrounding the roses with other plants that will act as pest controls. From Heirloom Roses.com

For years herb and rose gardens have had a pretty partnership. Growing herbs among your roses is an easy way to deter pests from your roses as well as add some flavor to your favorite culinary dishes. Many of the herbs below help discourage pests without the use of chemicals. These herbs contain natural substances in their leaves, flowers, or roots that repel certain insects while adding charm and texture to your garden. 

Members of the Allium Family: 

Garlic, Chives, Ornamental Allium

Deters aphids and other pests by confusing them with their strong scents. 

Herbal Companions:

Mint(Mentha), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), Parsley (Petroselinum), Thyme (Thymus), Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), Sage (Salvia), Oregano (Origanum), Anise-hyssop (Agastache)

Deters pests, most notably, aphids.

Lavender (Lavandula) and Catmint (Nepeta):

Deters rabbits from eating your roses.

Yarrow (Achillea): 

Attracts ladybugs, a natural predator to aphids.

I do have  Knock 0ut roses in the front of the house, and they have done exceptionally well this Summer without any special care from me. They have been bred to take a more extreme weather picture and are also moderately pest hardy.  

The front of the house get sooo hot, cannot put your hand on the door handle on the front door with your bare hand…to hot. I have BoHo hydrangea- white- out front, and they are doing quite well.  If you remember, in a past post I told you about all my door wreaths fell apart after the glues melted. I ended up making my own using wires- smile.

Has climate change affected your gardens? Are any of you having problems with your roses? Please comment with any suggestion you have found helpful in your garden. I’d love the hear from you.

Thanks for listening…talk soon

Take good care


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