Rose request for island in the Guam area

I have a member on my gardeningorganically list group who is working with villagers on Yap in the Guam island group for a source for roses for them. She mentioned vacuum sealed roses, though it may have been a translation error.

Does anyone know a good source to tell her about for ordering roses for her village? It is tropical, so suitable roses for the Tropics will be a necessity.

Thanks in advance!

Gloria, Texas

The latest RHA newsletter will have a review of a book on Tea Roses, from australia. Those are suited to your climate better than anything else more advanced than species. Import restrictions are your main challenge, plus the cost of shipment but almost 100 different tea roses are available, either commercially, or from the tea rose group out there. You can see info about the book on, or from Ashdown roses web site. Some tea roses are also available in the U.S. Again shipping restrictions and costs would be a consideration. Perhaps the Ag Experiment Station on Guam could help with this. (It is USDA and has extension agents).

Thank you, Larry! I have forwarded this on to her. I am hoping she has access to an email addy for the Ag station. I have offered to help her with that, too, if it is necessary.

I had no idea there was an Ag station there at all.


Hi Gloria,

I don’t have any advice on roses for Yap, but just wanted to comment that Yap is a very interesting place. I had interviewed for a job there several years ago. It did not look very friendly to roses - very tropical with lots of rain and soil fertility seemed pretty poor. It was a very interesting island, however. I think Yap is where the B.C. comic strip got the idea of using large flat rocks for money. That is what they historically did there!

Best wishes for your friend.

Jim Sproul

The New Zealand site said that the French roses were recommended for the Tropics like that. Any comments on that idea?

We’ve been posting a lot of soil information of late on my gardening group. Organic groups get all into compost over winter months, as you can imagine.

My hunch is that, if she uses, sheet composting, or a “lasagne style” method…essentially the same thing…that it will work very quickly for her there to improve the soil. The soil critters will probably go gaga for all the new food in town.

Lack of carbon is often the culprit, too, but with all the decomposition I am assuming takes place there it shouldn’t really be lacking.

You mentioned frequent rains…so it is not a desert island then?


It rained a lot during the few days that I was there, but I remember hearing that it did have a dry season also (though I am not sure what that meant).

For what it’s worth, I did see roses growing in tropical Ecuador. They were not thriving, but they were surviving okay, so I would expect that some would also survive in Yap.

Jim Sproul

I am thinking by analogy to Bermuda which is pretty tropical and definetely grows roses. Also one of the historic roses purportedly came by way of the island Reunion. And parts of India are certainly tropical and monsoon-washed. So some of the tender, ever-blooming Chinas and teas are your best bet.

A quick google search shows that Rosa indica was growing well and blooming continuously in 1905 in Guam. (Book by Safford on Useful plants of guam)

Jim, would you compare Yap’s climate then to any part of say, Australia? I know they have roses there, too.

Maybe the ‘dry’ season is when it doesn’t rain every day.

Great to have actually found someone who has been to Yap!


Thanks, Larry! I am again forwarding this to Denitha. She told me to tell you all she truly appreciates your help.


Here in Australia the Teas and Chinas are the best though there is also ones like laevigata and the banksia roses that also do well. Down here in Tasmania I can grow pretty much whatever I like (though it was 43 degrees Celcius today, a few degrees hotter than yesterday and tomorrow is forecast to be even hotter with no let-up till next Friday) and all my roses, except ‘Rosa Indica Major’, my little seedling ‘Kindred Ice’ and ‘Duchess de Brabant’ are suffering. We are all feeling decidedly wilted here at the moment. A lot of the floribunda, miniature, HT and DA roses suffer heat stress here and dump all their leaves, which a lot of people write off as black spot… They come on again to make an autumn flush and look half decent again. My bourbons and ramblers are doing well atm.

Great information, Simon! I will pass this on to Denitha!

Duchess de Brabant is a really tough rose I think. The ones I have never show any stress in the hot Texas summers. We often have drought conditions here, too, and she just keeps on going.


I think the issue for roses in the tropics, is the lack of a winter season, with changing day length. Perhaps some glasshouse roses could do well under such steady warm temps. Otherwise it takes something like a Tea that needs no dormancy, or a mini bred for round the year bloom like the glasshouse kinds.

Disease is of couse a big problem potentially, but is manageable. The need for winter (short days)is not. Many years ago when I worked with heritage roses, there was some discussion about how different kinds performed in Venezuela, Guyana, Florida etc. Lots of kinds just run out after a while.

You’d be surprised how many roses do just fine with almost no Winter. The only things that have failed here are Gallicas and even they survived, they just never flowered.

Austin’s ‘Constance Spry’ got huge but never gave me a blossom.

This rose site from Bangladesh,see page link below, gives some good photos and info on growing roses both in pots and in a tropical locale. Also gives the name of some good roses for heat tolerance. Love the “cow dung” as a main component of potting medium, but look at the photos and the roses speak for themselves. Composted manure is a great addition to sterile soil-I garden on developer scalped (30’ into subsoil) so called soil, and use lots of rabbit, chicken, and ‘cow dung’. It’s not been an overnight correction, and I have doubled the compost, etc., since reading this site, with lots more results. Yahoo | Mail, Weather, Search, Politics, News, Finance, Sports & Videos Click on the photos for some of the resulting potted roses in a tropical site.



The annual rainfall for Yap is 137" so I think that would indicate a lot of moisture compared with:

Florida = 48" - 60"

Australia = 16" - 128"

Hawaii = 300"

California = 24"

Please realize that in some areas the annual rainfall is more or less than the average rainfall for the entire area.

The reason I put up the link to Bangladesh is they receive between 100-150 inches of rainfall per yr. Very similar to Guam. And yet he grows nice roses. And definately not quite like in many other more temperate places, but each zone has it’s unique plus/minuses.

This has become such an interesting discussion that I have invited Denitha to join the forum so that she may ask questions, etc, herself. I don’t know, if she will, but I think she may find it easier than my continually forwarding your excellent comments to her.

Thanks for the Bangladesh site, Jackie. They are very nice roses!


Why roses, if I may ask? You probably won’t get a lot of info from folks growing roses in truly tropical regions. Rose species are mostly temperate. Having said that, chinas and teas have the best reputations in the humid gulf coast, but I might also suggest banksia and perhaps clinophylla and bracteata derivatives may be your best bet.

They certainly won’t look their best in the tropics, and I expect that should diseases be introduced to the island, pressure will be extreme and nonstop as the roses wouldn’t have a real dormant period.

In some regions of the gulf coast, roses are given a rest in the hottest months, and rosarians cease fertilizing them so that tender new growth doesn’t get too stressed.

I would expect (hope) that the island has some pretty strict restrictions on importing alien plant species. At least roses don’t pose much risk of overtaking the island.

I don’t know why she wanted roses. I guess she loves them as we do. She did tell me she was working with the officials on the rules for importing them. It came up when I passed on the information on the USDA station on Guam that Larry mentioned to me.