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8 Reasons for Yellow Leaves on Roses

8 Reasons for Yellow Leaves on Roses

Roses are famous for their aesthetic beauty and their unavoidable charm. 

Want to wish someone on their wedding day or treat your loved one with fragranced masterpieces? 

These woody perennials are the famous first choice!

However, there goes a lot of effort into the maintenance, as well as the cultivation, of these gorgeous blooms. 

You can also call rose plants erect shrubs that are armed with poky prickles for protection against external factors. 

There are over hundreds of species of roses known today. They belong to the genus Rosa and the family Rosaceae

One thing that alarms most gardening enthusiasts is the yellow coloring of the rose leaves. You’ll find that a few greens shift the shades when you least expect it.

This article will tell you everything about that anomaly. 


Yellow leaves on roses

The leaves of roses turn yellow because of the stressful environment it’s growing in. Inadequate temperatures, imbalanced humidity, improper light conditions, fungal infections, insect manifestations, nutrient deficiency of soil, and drought conditions result in yellowing of rose leaves. 


8 Reasons why rose leaves turn yellow

Yellow rose leaves indicate trouble in your garden. But that doesn’t mean that they are deadly interventions.

Now we dig into the possible reasons to find appropriate solutions.


1. Not enough sunshine

It is advised to expose Roses to at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to see good growth. 

Usually, the rose’s lower leaves have a higher tendency to turn yellow as compared to the top leaves, which remain vibrant green. 

This is because the leaves at the top get their basket full of sun rays while the bottom ones are left in the dark.

Also, the plant redirects its resources to the healthier parts further depleting the lower leaves of nutrition. 


2. The heatwaves

Even plants are capable of getting heatstroke, just not the way humans do. Heat can suppress the growth of leaves and make them change color. 

Because of this stressful condition, plants decide to shed their leaves and the yellow coloring is only a pre-requisite. 


3. Too much watering

Rose bushes require soil that is moist up to 10 inches or 25cm deep. If you overwater it, the plant will be clueless about how to use the extra resource.  

Moreover, a clogged soil condition would mean diminished oxygen exchange. This can cause the yellowing of leaves. 


4. Too little watering

It’s quite peculiar to note that both over and underwatering can cause your rose bush’s leaves to turn yellow.

Not using the right watering technique can affect the plant adversely and that reflects in the color of the leaves.  

Bad water retention in the soil can also be a major factor for too little water.


5. Chlorosis

Chlorosis is a plant condition where the leaves turn yellow because of high soil pH levels. This can happen with the rose plants too. 

Also, if the soil doesn’t have adequate Iron for the plants to use, the undernutrition can cause the color shift of the leaves. 

Improper soil drainage and oxygen levels can also cause this problem. 


6. Frequency of fertilizers

If the frequency of the fertilizer application is high, it can result in the yellowing of rose leaves. The salts present in the fertilizers would gather up around the roots. 

This scientifically causes a concentration gradient and all the moisture is sucked out of the plant that first impacts the lower half of the leaves. 


7. The winter sleep or dormancy

Most Rose plants are deciduous and love shedding their old leaves to bag the new ones. 

The yellowing of leaves is a part of this process. They change color, wither and then fall off.


8. Pests/diseases

Roses with yellow leaves can also indicate that the rose is playing host to a pest. If you see the signs of insects, then spider mites or rose leafhoppers may be the culprits. 

Spider mites suck the juices out of rose leaves and transform the greens of the past to yellows of the present. 

Keep an eye on the lower side of your leaves and get rid of the pests or insects as soon as you find them. If you see webs, you now know who to blame. 

Another disease that can turn your rose bush’s leaves yellow is black spot. 

From the name itself, black spot disease creates dark spots, sometimes a subtle black, on the foliage. 

If left untreated, the leaves eventually turn yellow before they start dropping.


How to treat yellow leaves on rose plants


Proper watering methods

You need to understand how a well-fed rose differs from dripping wet soil. 

Proper drainage and good watering techniques can go a long way in preventing yellow leaves on roses.


Use of pesticides or fungicides

Treat the plants with products that are specially made to target pests or insects. You can also use a diluted dishwasher in a spray bottle to sprinkle on the plant parts that are pest infested. 

Spider mites and rose leafhoppers are averse to applied fungicide. If you’re planning to take the organic path, choose neem oil. 

If you know how to use neem oil on houseplants, then you can use it as a natural fertilizer.


Plant rose varieties that are disease-resistant

Like the different varieties that roses have, not all are immune to disease. Some are susceptible to mildew, black spot, and rust, while others are resistant to them.

Other varieties even find themselves in the middle of these poles.

So, it’s always a good idea to plant a disease-resistant rose variety to prevent experiencing those diseases in the first place. 


Optimum growth conditions

Always make sure that the rose plants are not in the dark shades. The right light levels for plants are important to prevent the yellowing of leaves.

Soil pH should lie between 5.8 and 6.2. If the pH is lower, you can sprinkle limestone and if it’s on the other extreme end, go with sulfur.

Make sure you have 3 feet of space between consecutive rose plants. 

This is needed for effective air movement within the depths of the soil. The root mulching in the hot months will help reduce weed growth. 


Fertilize correctly

Roses should receive the right dose of fertilizers. If you overdo or underdo them, then the yellow leaves are inevitable after a point. 

A simple yet effective method to achieve this is buying packed fertilizer for roses and following the instructions found on its label. 



One of the reasons why you need to prune roses is to get the excess load off of them. 

The nutrition will be distributed better and the plant can enjoy what it absorbs from the soil and air.

Knowing how to prune roses will help in revitalizing the plant.


Frequently Asked Questions for Yellow leaves on Roses


How does a chlorosis leaf differ from the rest of the leaves?

With Chlorosis, the entire leaf remains green even as its veins start turning yellow. 


Can I use scissors to prune roses?

While it’s not ideal, you can use scissors to prune the roses as long as they are sanitized and neat. You can opt for pruning shears too.

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