Are Tombstone Roses in the Tucson Landscape Right for You?

When is a rose not a rose?  When it’s actually a vine.  Tombstone Roses or Lady Bank’s Roses (Rosa banksiae) is a sprawling  vine or a wild loose shrub.  It grows great in out Tucson desert weather.

If you’ve ever been down to Tombstone, you may have seen the world’s largest rose bush.  This is a Tombstone rose and it covers over 9,000 square feet!  Imagine that.

Watch our short video about this great desert vine.

You can also find out  more information about the Tombstone Rose at Desert Tropicals.

Visit our website at Sonoran Oasis Landscaping to find out about all the services we provide!


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Comments

  1. To whom it may concern,

    We have had a Tombstone Rose for many years. Last year we had to chop down a cottonwood tree that was compromising a high rock wall as well as choking out many plants around it. Our Tombstone rose, despite the tree roots, always did well. After the tree was taken down, they covered the base of the remaining low stump with poison to prevent it from sending up new shoots. I found a big clay pot to put on the stump, planted some flowers and watered these flowers, causing some water at times to run off the stump. Ever since the cutting down of this tree, our Tombstone rose showed signs of dying, and my husband and I were heartsick thinking maybe the poison from the stump reached the nearby Tombstone Rose and was killing it…….or the rose roots were so intertwined with the tree roots that it harmed the rose.
    Now that it is spring our rose seems to be coming back sending off many shoots and even blossoming.
    Our problem is many of the new shoots and all the leaves are not a healthy green like they used to be. The leaves look like they are covered with a kind of mildew or plant fungus, making the leaves look a blue-grayish green. Some of the new growth withers and dies. My husband treated the rose with rose systemic (granules that he lightly dug into the soil around the rose, and then watered them well to activate). This was about 3 days ago and I have not noticed any change in the leaves……maybe I need to wait longer to see the results. This rose systemic is a fertilizer and a pest killer…..this product did not mention anything about any fungus or mildew problem on its label, so i wonder whether it will even work.
    I’m also wondering about too much water…..we have refrained giving the rose water because the ground around the rose still feels fairly wet and we don’t want to over water. Also, we have wood bark covering the whole area where the rose is…….could this be a problem where the bark is keeping the rose too wet and not allowing it to dry out??
    My main question is how do we treat a condition like this?? We are so hoping our rose will return to its former beauty with healthy looking leaves.
    I’m eagerly looking forward to hearing your response.
    Thank you so very much for your time. I should tell you that we live in Old Bisbee, AZ at a 5300 altitude.

    Mary Alice

    • Sonoran Oasis says:

      There are probably a few things going on. Any chemical that was used on the tree stump to keep it from regrowing could leach into the soil or drain onto other plant roots. Depending on what was used, and the proximity to the Tombstone rose, it could have damaged it. Also, the extremely cold weather we had this winter could have also contributed to it having a more difficult time coming back this spring. Tombstone roses are generally extremely hardy and don’t have many issues. Adding a fertilizer as you did, could help but it will take awhile for you to see results. Here is a link to some information about Tombstone roses http://www.backyardgardener.com/plantname/pd_3bee.html.

      You may want to also call the University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension Center in Sierra Vista. Oftentimes, you can take a sample of your plant to the Extension Center and they can give you their opinion of what the problem may be. They can be reached at Cochise County – Sierra Vista
      Office Information
      1140 N. Colombo Ave
      Sierra Vista, AZ 85635-2390
      PHONE: 520-458-8278 x2141

      Especially with older plants, they become accustomed to their particular surroundings and have difficulty adjusting to any change in their environment. So, between this and the other factors, it is probably struggling more than it would be if it were only dealing with one change or issue.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes.

    • I really like it whenever people come together
      and share views. Great blog, continue the good work!

  2. Aine Avvampato says:

    Hello!

    I bought a Tombstone Rose cutting in May 2013. She has been successfully planted on a western facing wall. This rose is the only thing I’ve managed to help grow and thrive except for my son (haha). I’m concerned about our freezes this year. Should I cover her or…?
    Thank you for providing a place to gather information and ask questions!

    Aine

  3. Thank you so much for your timely response! My mom thinks I’ve planted her too low; she’s in a slight dip because I didn’t account for the settng soil. Her opinion is that the monsoons might “drown” the rose & I should dig her up, add more soil & re-plant. Do you agree? If so, what’s the best time to do so?

  4. Debbie Stoll says:

    Hello, can the Tombstone Rose be grown in the Phoenix area?

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