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Did You Know: Arizona Is A Top Rosebush Farming State

Arizona is known for farming cattle, cotton and citrus, but there is actually another item that grows abundantly in this Southwestern desert. It has beautified our West Valley fields for decades. Arizona’s climate is the ideal place to grow crops like alfalfa, spinach and lettuce. Did you know Arizona is one of two states that grows most of the rosebush crop in the U.S.?

"We’re the rosebush capital of the United States," said Tyler Francis, a second generation rosebush grower.

Michael Francis Roses is his family operated company which is among a handful of rose farms in the West Valley. The company has been around for 25 years. The 2,000 acre farm is located in Litchfield Park and El Mirage and sits next to Luke Air Force Base.

Francis said there is more than 1,000 varieties of rosebushes grown here. He said Arizona is the ideal place to grow them. 

"We get 360 days of sun a year. We know when it’s going be hot, we know when it’s gonna be cold, we know when it’s gonna rain," said Francis. "Everything here is irrigated, and we’re able to control how much fertilizer is going out. So, creating these nice micro climates for these plants to grow is really easy." 

Francis Roses is one of a handful of super wholesale rosebush growers in Arizona, meaning this farm sells hundreds of thousands of rosebushes to wholesale distributors who then sell to retailers, like Walmart and home improvements stores. On this day, 60,000 rosebushes are harvested, cleaned, packed and shipped to distributors to then be sold across the country.

"Everything starts here. We plant them, we bud them, we take care of them, we ship them out. We’re kind of the blood line of the rose community," said Francis. "If you have a rosebush that’s in your garden, there’s a high probability that it came from us.”

Francis said growing roses is easy, the trick is knowing what type of flower to plant. Not all varieties of roses do well in all climates, and by the way, the oldest living rosebush is 1,000 years old blooming in a German cathedral.

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Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez was a reporter at KJZZ from 2008 to 2015.