White spots on rose leaves are a common occurrence, and you don’t have to be worried about your rose plant dying. However, these spots do call for an alarm, and they may indicate something serious is going on with the plant.
With close inspection, we can better understand what’s going on with our rose plants and this leads to nurturing them back to health that much faster. Let’s outline what may be going on when your leaves show those whitish spots and how to approach each problem.
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What Are Causes For White Spots On Rose Plants?
The causes of white spots on rose plants are powdery mildew, aphids, anthracnose, and the mosaic virus. When these aspects develop, they begin to appear on the plant with white spots and would threaten the life of the plant in the long run.
Roses typically love full sun and rich, moist, and fertile soils, and this could be an indicator of how the plants can have a weakness, due to the medium that would encourage them. What happens to those leaves and alarms rose gardeners often is the emergence of white and black spots.
– Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew is one of the most common ailments of rose bushes anywhere in the world. This fungal disease can happen anytime, but most often it emerges in the early summer — when the days are dry and nights cooler and humid! This is a disease that affects many plants and your roses aren’t an exception.
These flowers come from the rosa family which has thousands and thousands of floral varieties and species. The most popular garden rose is the English one which bears beautiful crimson and white flowers.
However, when they are impacted by mildew, they will be in so much harm and develop white spots which would increase their vulnerability.
What makes your plant’s leaves go white is the presence of numerous microscopic spores forming on top of them, and how these fungi would develop. These spores travel by wind and are lowered onto leaves by morning dew or moisture that drops in the night.
They would thrive because the moist environment will help to germinate and spread these at a fast pace and the result is powdery mildew forming.
You can identify powdery mildew by white, flower-like powder on the leaves which usually begins as circular spots and then spread all over the plants. Mildew typically begins its journey from the top layers of the plant and goes all the way down, depending on how long it’s allowed to stay.
If your spots appear to be moving, you may just be dealing with aphids or other sap-sucking insects. But if your marks are white, these are probably aphids. You would start to see them on the green parts of the plant as well as at times in the flowers and petals.
Aphids are small insects that will appear translucent most of the time, but if in large populations they will look a lot like mildew and white. Except, these will be moving on your leaves, and their bodies are protected by hard brown shells, and it is at this stage that you can destroy them easily.
Once they become free to roam around the plant, you’ll be in all sorts of trouble, and you’re looking to change everything around your rose because they will escalate in their quantity and tackle the plant. Even though a number of different pests can become your worst enemy too when it comes to insect infections, aphids are number one.
The reason is that each of these is a cotton-like bug that will suck the soul out of your plants. However, mealybugs and spider mites will appear like black spots compared to the white aphid appearance.
Anthracnose disease is triggered by a fungal pathogen by the name of Sphaceloma rosarium, and it is also known as the Colletotrichum. When it comes to your rose bushes, or any other plants, you should be afraid of this one.
Anthracnose will first start as a white glowy thing on your leaves but will leave dark and dead leaf tissue near the center of the leaves and will attack the main supply veins. Leaving this disease untreated for too long can seriously harm your rose and make it go completely dry and even develop huge brown spots, and right after you begin to see this, it will quickly go black and fall off on its own.
If you’d like to make sure you’re dealing with anthracnose, you’ll practically have to be growing your bushes in perfect conditions, as anthracnose will remind you of so many things all at once, and they would appear in white dots in the center and darker on the edges. Only fungal infections will develop even in the most perfect of conditions and generally come with air moisture.
– Mosaic Virus
Rose mosaic disease is also known as an apple or ringspot virus. Unlike anthracnose, this isn’t a fungal attack, but a full-blown plant disease. You will identify this virus by edged markings and patterns all along your leaves in yellow, green, and white color.
The markings of this virus are most obvious in spring, and they begin to subside as the summer progresses slowly. However, unlike fungal diseases, this virus will affect your bloom growth, making it appear stunted and distorted.
What Are Easy Solutions for White Dots on Leaves of Roses?
Easy solutions to get rid of white dots on the leaves of the roses would be to prune them and get rid of them. You can also apply some neem oil around the plant or apply some organic pesticides, or you can cut off the plant fully when extensively infected.
Some rose varieties are resistant to powdery mildew and will fight the disease perfectly on their own. However, if you do notice the mildew has spread to a number of your leaves it’s time to take some action. Those white spots on rose petals are treatable. Now you know what’s bugging your plant, you can better approach the treatment of those white spots and holes on roses.
Use disinfected pruning shears, and try to cut as many infected leaves as you can. Don’t be afraid, because you must cut your rose bush, so that they will recover with new leaf growth in a matter of days or weeks.
In addition, even anthracnose won’t be so easily prevented if you have it present in the garden already. Your best bet is to cut off all the infected leaves and wait for the plant to push new growth! After this, it’s time to clean up any garden debris lying around on the ground.
– Apply Some Neem Oil
If you’d like to get rid of aphids, don’t go for the chemicals right away, as these may do irreparable damage to the plant itself. Try for a more effective homemade solution that can prove just as good as your store-bought chemical option.
Use neem which is highly toxic to pests and is a natural pesticide. Mix neem or horticultural oil with a large part of water and just a few drops of liquid dish soap or rubbing alcohol. Once the mixture is done, spray it heavily over the infected leaves, and you will see the result vividly.
What you must do is keep your plants adequately pruned throughout the growing season to prevent any spread of anthracnose disease and use proper crop rotation techniques. To battle, the presence of anthracnose in the air and on the leaves, use neem oil and copper-based fungicides as these are both natural remedies for fighting off this disease.
– Apply Organic Pesticide
Another worthy mention is a mixture of baking soda and tap water, whereby you mix three tablespoons of soda per gallon of water and spray the mixture over the leaves. If you want to go into full alchemist mode, then you’re free to combine everything in a super-power pesticide.
In this case, you should try to apply some of the infected spots and the bottom of the leaves with rubbing alcohol, just to make sure you’ve killed off the eggs too! For a more effective long-term solution, you can invite leaf hoppers to the garden, as these will happily eat pests off your roses.
On another note, you can also try rubbing alcohol and mixing it with water, and make a solution of it, if you feel that the consistency is too heavy. Rub this mixture on the remaining leaves to make sure you’ve gotten rid of the fungus. If you haven’t any rubbing alcohol, you can use some hand soap, instead.
You may also try to spread some organic general fungicidal fluid in spring and again in summer will help you fight off the dangerous spores and your roses may not even develop those whitey spots in the first place. This matter is one that will keep your plants healthy in the long run, and risk-free of any issues that may take place.
– Cut off the Full Plant
Viruses are too strong to be fought against methodically or by any means external; this is where you must cut the plant because it has been fully infected. One thing you have to know is that virus is a fully transmittable disease and can skip from plant to plant.
This is why some gardeners will dig and burn entire bushes than go through the pain of seeing their whole garden get infected by the disease.
If you can deal with the sight of a stunted bloom here or there, your best bet is to hope that the virus gets eradicated naturally the next season. Otherwise, you may feel tempted to do some digging and possibly ruin that beautiful rose fence you’ve been growing all these years.
Roses are timeless beauties of the garden and a romantic view for sore eyes. What can destroy this view is when their leaves go white, a symptom that can mean at least four completely amendable things. Let’s go through what we’ve said in this article:
- Close-up inspection is crucial when you notice white leaves on your rose, as not every case will require you to dig out and say goodbye to your rose completely.
- Powdery mildew and pests are pretty easy to deal with, while heavier diseases will require a more meticulous approach and hard measures often.
- To prevent diseases from befalling your rose plants, don’t forget to apply copper-based or neem oil fungicides at least once a year.
Now that you know how to handle the white leaves on your rose, we’re sure your red garden will be a sight for the sore eyes for years to come.