Thursday, November 28, 2013

Growing Roses in Kihei

Pink Promise
a long stem tea rose
Roses are acid loving plants and grow well in the acidic Hawaiian soil. They can also be grown in a 10 gallon or larger container. I was elated to discover that roses will grow in Kihei but the intense sun forces the buds to open prematurely.

If you live in the lower elevations, I recommend cutting the flowers in the morning when they're budding. When placed in a vase of water and out of direct sunlight they'll open gradually over a few days.

All is not lost when they do open as the petals can be made into rosewater or rose jelly. And, they can be dried and used as a culinary ingredient. Fragrant varieties with bright colored petals produce the best results.

Many unique varieties of hybrid roses are available in the spring at Kula Hardware and Nursery. They have a catalog to browse to reserve a particular variety. A nice selection of roses are available at Walmart just after New Years.

Coffee grounds are recommended for roses - I spread them on the top of the soil a few times per month. I fertilize the rose plants bi-weekly with fish emulsion but an organic all-purpose fertilizer will work just as well.

Rose Beetle Damage

So far the rose beetle has been their only predator. The beetles don't harm the roses but they eat lace like holes in the leaves. I find the best remedy for this is to keep the plants well fertilized and to spray the leaves with fish emulsion whenever I fertilize them.

How to Grow Roses from Cuttings

Roses can be planted in full sun or partial shade. In Kihei, the plants usually need daily water especially during the summer.

Recipes with Dried Rose Petals
Recipes with Fresh Rose Petals
Chicken with Rosewater
Rose Petal Jelly
Lemon Rose Raspberry Parfait
Strawberry Rose Petal Ice Cream

For any culinary recipe it's safest to use roses that have been grown without pesticide. Roses obtained from a floral shop are not suitable for culinary use.

Rose Water
 3 cups fresh fragrant rose petals
1 quart of spring water, filtered water or mineral water

Put the petals into a 2 quart pot
Pour the water over the petals and cover
Simmer until half the liquid has evaporated
Let it cool
Strain the liquid into a sterile glass bottle or jar
Store in the refrigerator


  1. One of my most fun things to grow upcountry was roses, especially the yellow ones (no name tags). I found Double Delight to be amazingly fragrant, but that was in SoCal. They were terribly untrained when I bought the house, but the regular feedings and patient pruning made them flourish. They had just enough shade later in the day from the front privacy hedge of crotons to prevent the sunburn, but watering was very critical to keep those blooms coming. I added regular doses of Epsom salts to get bursts of blooms around the holidays, too, needing to give that about 24 to 26 days to have results "on schedule". (of course your mileage may vary...) Those bushes also became natural trellises for a rampant yellow pear tomato vine, too!

    1. Roses do really well upcountry - much better than in Kihei. I'll have to look for Double Delight when roses are available next spring. I love them and will keep adding to my collection. I use epsom salts on my tomatoes and peppers - I'll try it on the roses too. How cool to have pear tomatoes vining in the roses!

  2. Aloha, Jane,
    I remembered your post a couple of years ago, about capers. The only gardening here in winter in Oregon is daydreaming while reading seed catalogs. OneGreenWorld is a world-class nursery way up in Portland (or just hop there at has their 20th Anniversary catalog out, with an offering for Spineless Caper on page 62. They do ship to Hawaii (Priority), so you just might be tempted to try it.....

    1. Mahalo for the link! All of my caper plants are spineless. So far my only option for growing them is seeds - the germination is so poor and takes so long that I would definitely be interested in a source for caper plants. I hope you're keeping nice and warm and enjoying the winter as well!

  3. Aloha Jane, warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. You have a lovely blog.

    1. Mahalo Linda for your appreciation!