Rose bushes leaves turning yellow problems can arise for several reasons, including lack of sunlight, improper watering, exposure to heat, insect attack, deficiency of nutrients, and poor soil conditions.

Yellowing Leaves on Rose Bushes

Luckily, you can fix this issue if you know the exact cause. Worry no more. You will learn about all the causes and their solutions in detail here. So, stay ‘till the end.

Why Are Your Rose Bushes’ Leaves Turning Yellow?

The leaves of a rose bush usually turn yellow when they are exposed to high-intensity light or when there is watering stress. In addition to them, other reasons that can cause the yellowing of leaves are poor soil condition, nutrient deficiency, insect infestation, and diseases. 

– Improper Light

Roses need at least a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day. If they get less, the leaves will lose their green color. Sometimes, the bush’s lower leaves have yellow patches, not the upper ones. It generally happens when the upper leaves block the light and cast a shade on the lower ones. 

Furthermore, because of dense foliage, lower leaves have poor aeration. Thus, such leaves become yellow with time and eventually fall off. It would help if you didn’t let the bush get too wide or bulky.

– Exposure to Heat

Rose bush leaves also turn yellow if they face high-temperature stress. It is because excessive heat can soak moisture from leaves, which first leads to curling and then to discoloration. When plants are exposed to heat for a longer period, stems get weaker too.

Just like in the case of improper lighting, lower leaves bear significant damage here as well. Since air passage is not good in the lower part of the bush, “overheating” occurs. First, you will see rose bush leaves turning light green, and then they will have yellow spots.

Heat stress can get worse if there is low humidity in the air. When it happens, dehydration occurs, which reduces photosynthetic productivity. So there will be a need for more food and energy in plants. As a result, leaves will be greatly affected, and the yellow patches will become visible.

– Water Stress is The Issue

It’s no secret that water is the key to life and helps plants grow and develop. When plants face drought-like conditions, various physiological and biochemical functions such as photosynthesis, chlorophyll synthesis, nutrient metabolism, ion uptake and translocation, respiration, and carbohydrate metabolism are severely affected. If the condition persists, the whole bush will face damage – and it will eventually die. 

That is why you will have to be extra careful about watering. Sometimes, plants can face water stress even if you regularly add water. This happens because of the low-grade soil.

Plants will face drought-like situations if the soils have poor water retention capability. Out of different types of soils, sandy ones have bad retention properties. So, please don’t use them to grow plants sensitive to watering stress.

In addition, if you are growing roses in smaller pots, then there are higher chances of water stress. It is because there is limited space to add water to these pots. Furthermore, the soil volume is less, too, so only a little water can be soaked. That is why even if you water plants grown in such pots every week, they can still be underwatered.

– Overwatering

Just like underwatering is bad, adding too much water is not good for plants. When water stays around the roots long, oxygen deficiency occurs as the air becomes unavailable. When there is oxygen deficiency, yellowing starts around the leaf veins. It then spreads to all parts, causing the leaves to fall off.

Waterlogged conditions arise for three reasons: when you add too much water, when the temperature is very low, or when the soil has poor drainage. Make sure you have these factors in mind when you water plants, or else get ready to see rose leaves turning yellow in winter, as there is no heat to evaporate the extra water in this season. If you keep adding water without planning, waterlogging can also happen in summer.

– Lack of Nutrients

Just like we need food to survive, plants need nutrients from the soil to thrive. These nutrients are not renewable and can get depleted with time. Therefore, you must add fertilizers to enrich the soil and prevent nutrient deficiencies

Wondering what nutrients do to plants? Well, nitrogen is a component of chlorophyll that helps in photosynthesis for food production as it helps absorb energy from the sun. So, nitrogen deficiency impacts photosynthesis, which leads leaves to turn yellow.

Iron also plays an essential role in helping move oxygen throughout the plant. It is also critical in completing the necessary enzyme functions for plant survival. So, when there is Iron deficiency, the rose leaves become yellow.

Magnesium is another important nutrient that is a central part of the chlorophyll molecule in plant tissues. It also helps maintain specific enzyme systems in plants, which are crucial for protein formation. So, magnesium deficiency can also cause yellowing and poor growth. Long story short, if you skip fertilization and give it little importance, nutrient deficiency will occur, leading to rose leaves yellowing, weaker stems, and overall stunted growth.

– Over-adding Fertilizers

Adding less fertilizer does no good for plants. When you apply high doses of fertilizers, the nutrients can get locked in the soil. When this happens, roots will be unable to take up any of them, which will cause the yellowing of leaves.

How can you know how much fertilizer you should add? For this, you should do soil tests. You can either use a home testing kit or send a soil sample to a lab to find out about the soil’s nutrient profile.

– Insect Attack

Another reason why leaves turn yellow is insect infestation. Insects suck juices from leaves and leave mold on them. One of the biggest enemies of rose foliage is aphids. This insect mainly targets the growing tissues, such as shoots and buds.

Reason for Rose Bushes Leaves Turning Yellow

Spider mites can also hurt roses. If you spot webs around the bushes, it means spider mites are infesting there. Other insects that can harm roses are leafhoppers, beetles, mites, thrips, rose scales, rose slugs, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.

– Bad Soil Health

When rose leaves turn yellow, there is a higher chance that the soil condition is not optimal. You have already read how bad drainage soil can impact leaf health. In addition, soil pH also plays a key role in deciding a plant’s future. The ideal pH for the rose plant is 6–  7 for survival. It means roses require neutral to slightly acidic soil for proper growth.

It would help if you gave pH importance because the soil nutrient availability depends on it. If the pH is high or low, roots cannot absorb the nutrients from such soil, which can cause many complications, including yellow leaves on roses in pots (and even outdoors).

– Different Rose Diseases

A rose bush can face different diseases throughout the year. Black spot is one of the main ones that can initially lead to yellow rose leaves and then cause the weaker ones to drop. Black spots are first visible on the lower leaves, and then you can notice them on the upper part. 

Powdery mildew is another disease that can cause a reduction in rose plant growth. It is because it lowers the photosynthetic activity and curls the rose foliage. As a result, a powdery whitish-to-yellowish coating appears on the leaves.

Want to know what causes rose leaves to turn yellow with brown spots? The rose mosaic virus leads to white, yellow, or brownish lines, bands, or scars on leaves. So, if you see rose bush leaves turning brown too, the most likely virus is the reason behind it. So, how to fix yellow leaves on roses? Continue reading to find out.

How to Treat Rose Leaves Turning Yellow Easily?

To treat rose leaves turning yellow easily you should apply enough water and nutrients to the soil. It is also crucial to relocate these plants to ideal spots where sufficient light falls. In addition, balancing soil pH, applying insecticides, and pruning infected leaves can also cure leaf yellowing.

– Water Adequately

Whenever plants show abnormal behavior, the first thing to do is look at how you water them. It would help if you never overwatered or underwatered the plants. Therefore, always have a moisture reader in your tool cabinet. Similarly, you can also try to sense the soil moisture from your fingers, but there are more accurate ways.

To combat yellowing in rose plants, give water twice a week. Add only sufficient water that moistens the top two inches. It would help if you also kept checking whether there is any stagnant water. If the water stays around the roots for too long, the chances of fungal disease emerging like root rot will be high.

– Consider the Right Location

To safely grow the rose plant, you must choose the right location where enough light falls. If you are growing outdoors, select the spot where sunlight is available for at least six hours and not more than 10 hours.

Moreover, when the temperature gets hotter than usual, provide a shade with some object for some time that protects it from the harshness of heat. If Roses are grown in pots, you should move them to a cool and shady area to cool off.

Solution for Rose Bushes Leaves Turning Yellow

If you are growing indoors, place the rose plants at an ideal distance from grow lights. If you place them too near, then yellowing will occur. Similarly, putting them far will also impact photosynthesis, which is also not good for plants.

– Choose a Suitable Rose Variety

One of the best ways to avoid complications during the growth process is to choose varieties tested to withstand harsh conditions like high or low temperatures, drought stress, insect infestation, etc. 

– Adjust Soil PH

It would be best if you always had a pH meter to check the soil’s pH levels. If you discover that the pH is more acidic than required, you should add alkaline compounds like lime. If the soil is alkaline, then add acidic compounds like sulfur. Make sure you add them carefully and monitor the pH during the application.

– Fertilize Your Roses Well

For smooth growth, you should apply at least two fertilizer applications throughout the season. Be careful about how much fertilizer you apply, as over-adding can cause trouble. That is why it is recommended to do a soil test first. This will let you know how much nutrients the soil is deficient in.

There are two classifications of fertilizers you can add, organic and inorganic. Inorganic is a commercially produced chemical fertilizer that immediately provides nutrients to the soil. However, growers prefer organic ones (like compost, manure, etc.) as they are cheap, do not cause pollution, and are much healthier.

– Prune Affected Parts

One question people often search for is: Should yellow leaves be removed from roses? Yes! Pruning is a smart way of dealing with yellow leaves. You remove yellow leaves and any affected parts and dispose of them. When you do this, a rose bush will spend its energy on growth and flowering, not reviving the yellow leaves.

In addition, the dead branches also cast a shade on the lower leaves, which impacts photosynthesis. Furthermore, removing affected leaves is also critical in stopping the spread of the diseases.

– Get Rid of Insects

You should check your rose plants regularly to avoid the attack of pests or insects. A small number of them usually do not cause any harm. If the infestation gets severe, then you should take some corrective measures. 

To get an idea about insect population, always check the back of leaves as most insects have made their homes there. If you spot more of them, mix water with a bar of small dishwashing soap and spray it via a spraying bottle to get rid of them. You can also use a strong stream of water above or below the leaves to control aphids.

Furthermore, using biological control remedies such as beneficial insects is another successful method. These beneficial insects help with pollination too. In addition, you can also apply neem oil spray for quicker results. If these organic ways don’t work, go for commercial insecticides. 

– Treat Diseases

If your rose plant suffers from a disease attack, you should take some preventive measures to avoid severe damage. First, ensure enough aeration and sunlight, so the chances of fungus spread are at a minimum.

In addition, you should change the pot’s soil as the spores can survive in high or low temperatures. To stop the spread, you should also prune the diseased leaves during the growing season. If the diseases get severe, use some recommended medicines to treat them.

Mystery of Yellowing Rose Leaves Solved


So, now you know why rose leaves face discoloration and how to fix the issue.

Here are the key takeaways from the whole article:

  • Make sure roses get appropriate light to prevent any problems, including the yellowing of leaves.
  • Be careful with water application, as both overwatering and underwatering can cause yellow patches on the leaves.
  • When you spot insect infestation, apply neem oil spray and get help from beneficial insects. If you can, remove the bad insects with your hands as well.
  • If the reason for leaf yellowing is any viral, fungal, or bacterial disease, remove the affected part, change the soil, and ensure plants get proper aeration.

Follow these points and never face the problem of rose bushes leaves turning yellow again. 

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