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Rose cultivation blooms in the Valley | Cronkite News

November 5, 2019


Arizona is known for cotton and citrus but these aren’t the only abundant crops growing in the state. Last year Arizona exported 18 million rose bushes and continues to be a leader in the industry. Reporter Kanak Jha tells us more about the national flower growing in our state. When you think roses you probably think California. Desert dwellers might be surprised to learn rose growing in the state goes back to the 1950s. I took a trip out to Litchfield Park to learn more about the current industry. Blistering summer heat is headed our way but that doesn’t stop the roses in Arizona from blooming. Noelle Johnson is dedicated to finding the perfect desert rose. So the roses I have in my garden are put here to see how do they do and then the growers asked me for my feedback. So one of the most exciting things for me is getting free roses in the mail and I put them in my garden and see what happens. Growers around the world ask Johnson to test rose variations for durability in the desert heat. We might not think roses will last year but Tyler Francis says the climate is perfect. We grow over a thousand different varieties of rose bushes on this farm and you know of that we have 50 different reds so there’s a lot of different variations. And you know the best thing to do is the one that draws you in is the one that you should buy. Francis Roses is one of four commercial rose growers in the state. In December Francis will ship out about five million bushes. The roses that Arizona ships out accounts for about three fourths of the U.S. rosebush market but these aren’t the flowers that you would see in your Valentine’s day bouquet. Stem cut roses are imported from overseas and might last you two weeks, but in Arizona planting a rose bush that blooms almost year-round is easy. Roses get a bad rap for being finicky you know but they’re not they’re very very hardy plants. If you give them just a little bit of love and attention and you water them you don’t need to be a pro. Francis says the rose bush industry is worth about 500 million dollars and is a significant part of the state’s agriculture. I would really like to see the five Cs and R because we are the cornerstone of the entire rose industry here in Arizona and I think it’s something that all Arizonans should be proud of. As for Johnson she says we can show our pride by getting out our gardening gear. Grow roses! Life is short! So far this year Arizona has exported six million rose bushes. Rose growers say they’ve seen the growing process become more streamlined and expect more consolidation in the industry in the next few years. In the newsroom, Kanak Jha Cronkite News.

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