Roses have to be the most well-known flower in the world, most notably used as a symbol of love and romance.
There are thought to originate in China, and it is estimated that the first-ever garden rose was cultivated over 5000 years ago.
Even a dying rose has a cultural message behind it, thought to symbolize the end of a relationship and a lack of love.
However, as poetic as it may be, I doubt that you would want to see a wilted and dying rose in your garden!
In this article, I’m going to tell you all about reviving a dying rose, and how to diagnose what is wrong with your plant.
How to revive a dying rose?
The main reasons why your rose could be dying are a lack of fertilization, an attack by diseases or pests, or failure to provide it with enough water or sunlight. Adjusting the care schedule of your rose, applying fungicides or pesticides, or adding fertilizer can help to revive your plant.
Symptoms of a dying rose
Some new rose owners may be unaware that roses enter dormancy during the winter. This is where they store their energy and go into hibernation so that they can increase their strength for the following year.
Symptoms of dormancy in roses are very similar to that of a dying rose, which can often cause a lot of confusion in plant owners.
During your rose’s dormancy period, your rose plant will lose its leaves, blossoms, and there will be no progression in its growth.
It is often the case that gardeners mistake a rose that is in dormancy for one that is dead and diseased, which can cause them to either give up on their plant or start to tend to it in ways that are not needed.
This can cause unnecessary and irreversible harm.
The main way to tell the difference between a rose that is in dormancy and a rose that is dying is by looking at the branches and stems.
Typically, dormancy will not cause any dramatic color change or damage to the stems of your plant. Even if the formerly green stems have turned a slight brown, they should still be agile and bendy to touch.
If however, the stems have become black or spotted alongside a lack of leaves and blossoms, this could be a sign that your rose is diseased or dying.
One way to check if a plant is dead or in dormancy is to use a sanitized pruning knife to lightly score away some of the outer layers of one of the stems.
If the underlayer is green and moist your plant is likely in dormancy, whereas if the under layer is brown and dry it is likely that your plant is dying or dead.
Caring for your rose
You must use the right technique when you water your rose. Roses don’t enjoy wet leaves, so you should only water them from the base and not the top.
Moist leaves can result in fungi or diseases attacking your plant.
However, overwatering your rose could lead to your plant being diseased by honey fungus or root rot.
Don’t water during sunlight hours, in fact, I would suggest watering during the early morning or in the late evening when the sunlight isn’t that strong.
This method ensures that the plant gets the hydration it needs without risking evaporation.
Your rose needs roughly 6 hours of sunlight a day and will thrive much more if placed in a sunny location than a shady one.
Some varieties such as the “Scarborough Fair” rose can tolerate partial shade, but will still need a regular amount of sunlight to be healthy.
If your rose isn’t getting enough sunlight, it will not thrive or bloom at all. You may even notice that the leaves will become desaturated or wilted.
Another important aspect of rose care is ensuring that you chose the correct soil. Roses typically enjoy a soil mix with a pH range of around 5.5-7.0.
If the acid levels of the soil are too much or too little, it can result in discoloration in the foliage and problems with your rose’s growth.
One trick that I find very useful in cases of soil that has a high level of acidity is to use add powdered agricultural limestone. This can be used to quickly neutralize the pH levels.
Pesticides and fungicides
Like all plants, roses are susceptible to diseases and pests. Both diseases and pests can cause your rose’s health to deteriorate rapidly, so it is a good idea to identify and treat the problem as soon as you can.
The most common diseases that affect roses are powdery mildew and black spot. These diseases primarily affect the leaves of roses and will cause patches of discoloration and fungi.
Similarly, an infestation of pests can also cause lifelessness in roses. Common pests that occur in roses are aphids and greenflies.
These insects suck sap from the leaves and stems, eventually stripping your plant of nutrients that it needs to survive.
There are many pesticides and fungicides on the market that have been made specifically for roses, but I would suggest using a homemade recipe before resorting to harsher chemicals.
I have found that the most effective handmade solution for pests and diseases is a mix of oil and soap.
Mix a tablespoon of vegetable or Neem oil in one cup of water, and add a teaspoon of liquid soap.
Place this soap-oil mixture into a spray bottle and apply all over the affected areas of your rose. Be sure to do this early in the morning or late at night, so that any expose to direct sunlight won’t cause the leaves to burn.
Reapply the solution every 5-7 days, and again after heavy rainfalls. You should start to see signs of recovery within as little as a few weeks.
Fertilize your rose well
Roses are very hungry plants, and therefore need to be fertilized often. It is suggested that you fertilize your rose once a month
It is important that you provide a good fertilization schedule for your rose, as they are very sensitive to a change in nutrients.
Overfertilizing your rose will cause the leaves to become brown and look burnt and shriveled up, whereas too little fertilizer will cause the leaves to become yellow and wilted.
Like a majority of plants, roses rely on NPK nutrients, and your rose will suffer if it doesn’t receive a balance of these.
Rose fertilizers can be purchased from most plant nurseries and DIY stores, and I would suggest using a granular fertilizer during your regular feeding schedule.
This is due to the slow release properties of granular fertilizers, meaning that your plant will be very unlikely to suffer from over-fertilization if applied correctly
However, I think that it is best for a rose that is suffering from a lack of fertilization to be treated with a liquid fertilizer.
Liquid fertilizers act much quicker than granular, which should result in your rose recovering almost instantly.
Top tip – Ensure that you remove any weeds from around your rose, especially if it has been planted into the ground.
Weeds can strip and steal nutrients from the soil, meaning that your rose won’t be able to benefit from them.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Reviving a Dying Rose
What is the lifespan of a rose?
On average, roses have a lifespan of 35 years. With adequate care, your rose could live even longer, with some being reported to live for hundreds of years and more.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.