Why Are the Leaves on My Roses Turning Yellow?

There are currently thousands of rose cultivars that were bred to be used as flowering plants, and almost all of them are characterized by their green foliage and bright blooms. However, when their growing needs aren’t met, roses will show you that they’re suffering by changing their looks, and their leaves will turn yellow.

If you’re wondering why the leaves on your roses are turning yellow, this might happen because of dehydration or lack of nutrients. Receiving too many nutrients and being planted in soggy soil can also turn the leaves yellow. In winter, the leaves will be prone to yellowing because of lack of sunlight, but fungal diseases can also change their color.

Once you’ve determined why the leaves are changing color, you’ll be able to come up with the right solution. Keep reading to learn more about this topic.

Withered rose isolated on white

Why Are the Leaves on My Roses Turning Yellow? 7 Possible Reasons

Seeing yellow leaves on your roses is a sign that your plant is suffering. You might have neglected your roses for a while or not taken care of them the way they need to. Here are some reasons why the leaves might be turning yellow.

Too Much Fertilizer

It’s true that roses need frequent fertilizing during the growing season. But too much of a good thing can still do some harm.

Applying too much fertilizer saturates the soil with salts that absorb the water. This means that the roots of your roses won’t be able to receive enough hydration, so the leaves will turn yellow.

Not Enough Nutrients

On the other hand, a lack of nutrients can affect the health of your roses, causing the leaves to turn yellow and the blooms to droop. Roses need enough nutrients to support their continuous blooming, and applying fertilizers will be necessary when the soil is poor.

Roses are heavy feeders that require large amounts of nitrogen in the soil. The leaves can also turn yellow if the soil is particularly poor in iron and magnesium.

Planting roses next to other plants can also cause the leaves to turn yellow. When planted next to other heavy feeders, roses will suffer from a lack of nutrients, so their leaves will turn yellow, and they won’t be able to grow new blooms.

Choosing the Wrong Soil

With thousands of cultivars of roses to choose from, there’s definitely a rose variety that works for your garden. However, all roses won’t be able to survive in certain conditions, and their leaves will turn yellow before the whole plant wilts and dies.

For example, roses should be planted in well-draining soil. These types of soil retain moisture and nutrients to help the plant grow. On the other hand, when planted in sandy or rocky soil, roses will suffer because these soil types dry too fast.

The leaves on the roses will turn yellow when you plant them in alkaline soil. Roses thrive in neutral to slightly acidic soil, as this pH level is suitable for retaining the essential nutrients and keeping the plant healthy.

Drought land

Dehydration and Drought

The inadequate setup of your rose plant can be the reason why the leaves are turning yellow. When you choose a location for your rose bush or shrub, you need to guarantee that the plant is receiving at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. However, if the base of your plant is exposed to the sun for too long, the roots will dry, and the leaves will turn yellow.

In hot climates, roses will become too dehydrated if you don’t water them more often. Also, being exposed to the strong sunlight all day long with no partial shade from the afternoon sun will affect the look of your roses and turn the leaves yellow.

Roses planted in pots are more prone to drought stress because the soil dries out faster. Therefore, more watering will be needed if you’re growing your roses in a pot to guarantee that the roots are moist.

Also Check: Why Are My Roses Drooping?

Too Much Watering

Roses need frequent watering to grow, especially in hot weather. However, the leaves will turn yellow if the soil is constantly wet.

Overly wet soil leaves no room for oxygen particles. As a result, the root system will suffer from root rot and turns the leaves yellow. This can also happen if you’re planting roses in clay soil with poor draining or if you’re using a pot with no drainage holes at the bottom.

Not Enough Sun

In winter, the leaves on your roses can turn yellow as the plant reserves its energy for the next growing season. This is perfectly normal, as it’s part of the plant’s mechanism of coping with the decreased temperatures. However, this can also happen because the plant isn’t receiving enough sunlight.

If you see that the leaves of your roses are turning yellow in the summer, there might be a new structure that is obstructing the sunlight. In some cases, you might see that the leaves at the top of the plant look green and healthy, while the leaves at the bottom are turning yellow and falling off.

group of large rose sawfly (arge pagana) caterpillar eating rose leaves

Pests and Diseases

Several pests and diseases can attack your roses, turning their leaves yellow. Black spot is one of the most common fungal diseases that affect roses, causing the leaves to show black spots surrounded by yellow areas.

Spider mites can also suck the juices of the leaves, turning them yellow because they’re unhealthy. Rose leafhoppers can also turn the leaves yellow.

How Can I Protect the Leaves on My Roses from Turning Yellow?

Since there are many reasons why the leaves on your roses are turning yellow, you might have to try several solutions until you get the problem fixed.

Fertilize Only When Needed

Before applying fertilizer to the soil, you need to analyze it to see if it’s poor or fertile. If needed, use a rose-formulated fertilizer and only apply it once a month during the growing season.

You should also pay attention to excessive fertilizer from your lawn food runoff, as some types are water soluble and will reach your roses after rainfall.

Use sterile shears to cut any yellow leaves and stop fertilizing to see if your plant is recovering. Make sure that you’re using the right balance and concentration to avoid stressing your roses with too many nutrients.

Pink roses

Plant in Acidic Soil

When the soil is too alkaline, there will be an iron deficiency which causes the leaves of the roses to turn yellow. This is why it’s recommended to use a soil gauge to determine the pH level before applying any fertilizers or amendments.

If the pH level is higher than 7, then you might have to transplant your roses in a pot or a raised bed, where you can use more acidic soil. You can also try to add more sulfur, iron sulfate, or sphagnum peat moss to decrease the soil pH level.

Prevent Drought Stress

In most climates, deep watering of roses once or twice a week will be enough to keep the plant hydrated. However, if you notice that the leaves are turning yellow, you might need to water your roses more often.

Adding 1 inch of compost will help retain moisture in the soil. Mulch will also help, especially if the roots are receiving too much sun and the soil is constantly dry. If you’re growing roses in a hot climate, using a soaker hose might help keep your roses well hydrated.

Prevent Oversaturation of Water

When the roots are deprived of oxygen due to too much water, the leaves of your roses can turn yellow. You can solve this problem by watering the roses only when the soil is beginning to dry. The watering needs might differ according to the climate and the soil condition.

If the water isn’t moist up to a depth of 8 to 12 inches, then you need to water your roses more often. Adding compost and organic matter will help retain moisture in the soil, so you don’t have to overwater your plant.

When the soil is boggy, your roses will suffer from root rot. In this case, you should cut off the infected roots using a pair of sterile shears and transplant your roses to a new location. If you’re growing your roses in a pot, make sure that there are enough draining holes to allow the excess water to flow.

small green seedling in the ground

Provide Enough Sunlight

While you can’t control the amount of sunshine in your garden in winter, you can do a few things to make sure that your rose plant is getting as much sun as needed in all weather conditions. First, either transplant your roses to a new location where they can get more light or cut off any big branch that is keeping your roses in the shade. This will encourage new growth and keep the leaves green.

If the leaves at the bottom are turning yellow while the leaves at the top are green, then you need to cut off the yellow ones. This will help preserve the plant’s energy and encourage new growth.

Treat Pests and Diseases

The leaves on your roses can turn yellow because of several diseases and pests. For example, if your roses are suffering from black spot disease, cut off all the infected leaves and use a rose fungicide to treat the fungal infection. These leaves should be discarded and not used in compost.

If pests are attacking your roses and turning the leaves yellow, you should apply insecticidal soap to repel them. You can also prepare the insecticidal soap at home by mixing water with dish soap.

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Wrap Up: Why are the Leaves on My Roses Turning Yellow?

The leaves on your roses can turn from green to yellow if the plant isn’t receiving enough nutrients, water, or sunlight. Yellow leaves can also be caused by too much fertilizing or pests and diseases.

Paying attention to the watering and fertilizing schedule will keep the leaves green and healthy. You should also ensure that the plant receives enough sunlight and that all the pests and diseases are promptly handled.