Rose Leaves Turning Yellow? Nitty-Gritty Details!

BY Shaafay Zia
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Oh NO – are your rose LEAVES TURNING YELLOW? We feel for you. It’s always so heartbreaking to see those beautiful petals lose their color and glow

And yet, sadly, it happens all too often with roses – the DREADED rose leaves TURNING YELLOW! But don’t worry; there is some GOOD NEWS: we are here to help. 

Our team is PASSIONATE about GARDENING. And we have YEARS of experience growing BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS. We just can’t get enough! 

We strive to provide HELPFUL content that will make your flowers HEALTHY. With us, you’ll always FIND SOLUTIONS for your gardening needs

So why not TRUST US with your babies? Well, NOT human babies – flowers.

Let’s explore why rose leaves turn yellow and find out how to prevent and fix it – it’ll be fun!

Rose Leaves Turning Yellow

Common Reasons For Rose Leaves Turning Yellow

Common Reasons For Rose Leaves Turning Yellow

So your roses are FADING AWAY like a bad dye job? You know like that ONE PERSON who always swears they are BLONDE, but you know they are NOT. Here are a few REASONS why your roses are TURNING YELLOW:

1. Nutrient Deficiency

Lack of ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS is a common reason for ROSE LEAVES turning yellow. It’s like when you skip breakfast and feel RUN DOWN all day – the same happens in the plant world! These nutrients include Nitrogen, Magnesium, and Iron. So don’t keep your plants hungry. 

Roses are particularly prone to having IRON DEFICIENCY. A lack of Iron can “steal” the plant’s ability to perform important functions. They end up looking unhealthy and grumpy. 

2. Too Much Fertilizer 

Guess what? FERTILIZER can also cause YELLOWING LEAVES in roses. 

OVER-FERTILIZATION can lead to an imbalance in soil pH or SALT BUILDUP. You wouldn’t want somebody pouring PROTEIN POWDER down your throat every hour of the day. 

Would you? This is what too much fertilizer feels like to a poor rose bush!

It INHIBITS nutrient uptake by roots resulting in POOR HEALTH for your roses. So don’t say you can never have too much of a good thing. It doesn’t apply to fertilizers or even ROMANTIC PARTNERS – if you know what I mean. In other words, moderation is key.

3. Drought Stress 

When roses don’t get ENOUGH WATER, it can cause DROUGHT STRESS. It’s not like the stress you get when dealing with your BOSS on Monday MORNING. 

The plants STRUGGLE to take up ENOUGH WATER through their roots. As a result, they show WILTING SYMPTOMS. This is followed by a color change from healthy green shades to bright yellows. Remember, you are not growing cacti.

4. Spiders Mites Infestation 

Spider mites are TINY BUGS that feed on the PLANT SAP of your rose bushes. These pests cause damage by piercing leaf tissue during feeding. This leads them to show WILT SYMPTOMS, and the leaves turn yellow and DROP. 

You can use a MAGNIFYING GLASS to check if spider mites are present on your roses. You can do so at dusk & dawn. That’s when they are MORE ACTIVE. 

You can try shaking them on WHITE PAPER and observing them that way. You could think of yourself as a CSI Forensics Officer analyzing a crime scene. [**Remembers my favorite episode**]

5. Not Enough Sunlight

Not ENOUGH SUNLIGHT can hurt your roses. It turns out they are not vampires – unless you’ve heard about MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCES. If your rose bush isn’t getting enough sunlight, You will notice its leaves CHANGING COLORS. 

That will range from OLIVE-GREEN tones to YELLOW. 

6. Fungal Disease Infection

Roses are SUSCEPTIBLE mostly to developing FUNGAL DISEASE INFECTION. That sounds like something you’d catch from walking around in damp socks, right? The fungi lead them to grow UNHEALTHILY, resulting in UNWANTED changes over time. 

The affected roses have SPOTTING PATTERNS and REDUCED GROWTH RATES. Hopefully, those fungi never start infecting humans. 2020 was bad enough, and we’ve all seen what that Last of Us Fungus can do. 

7. Too Much Heat Exposure

High temperatures can cause leaves to TURN YELLOW. That’s especially if the plant has been exposed to EXTREME HEAT for a PROLONGED period of TIME. We are trying to grow flowers here, NOT cook them! So watch the temperatures.

This kind of stress will leave the rose with UNSIGHTLY foliage far from its LUSH and BEAUTIFUL SELF! “Hot girl summer” wasn’t meant for roses. 

They are not all about that summer bod, but you can always put some sunglasses on them. That’s a TikTok trend waiting to happen. 

Preventing Rose Leaves from Turning Yellow

Preventing Rose Leaves from Turning Yellow

Unlike a HANGOVER after a WILD NIGHT, you can prevent yellow leaves on your roses. Here is how you can do it: 

1. Ensure proper aeration 

Give them some AIR. You can provide good air circulation by creating ENOUGH SPACE between plants. This will allow your plants to BREATHE EASILY. And it will also remove STAGNANT AIR preventing any disease. It’s like SOCIAL DISTANCING for roses without the MASKS. 

2. Avoid too much fertilizer

Like a GYM BRO with steroids, boosting plant growth with fertilizers seems TEMPTING. But too much of it can BURN delicate roots FASTER than my ex burned through their PAYCHECK at the bar. We’ve all been there. [**Realizes it might be alone on that**] 

Generally, consider applying fertilizer about every FOUR to SIX WEEKS. 

3. Control those pests

Watch out for those Twilight vampire WANNABE spider mites on your rose bush. OTHER PESTS could also be DEVOURING your plant’s juicy foliage. The aftermath is not so rosy. Get it? Try using pesticides if you suspect there is a pest infestation in your rose bush.

4. Use disease-resistant plants

Consider planting DISEASE-RESISTANT VARIETIES when growing roses. Certain strains manage MORE MANAGEABLE than others (like the Rose Mosaic Virus!). Remember that you are NOT growing fish. Hahaha. They are like The Avengers but for roses (with less Chris Hemsworth, unfortunately). 

5. Maintain soil moisture

Don’t OVERWATER or UNDERWATER – aim for consistently moist soil. Also, ensure there is PROPER DRAINAGE. Poor drainage leads to STAGNANT WATER, which drowns roots. Otherwise, you’ll have, you guessed right – yellowish rose foliage!

6. Control heat and sun direct sunlight

Avoid exposing plants placed near RADIANT HEAT sources. This is the same as frying eggs in a hot pan. Let’s say you don’t want that.

Instead, place them in a spot where they’ll get a minimum of SIX HOURS of daily sunlight. This will save your TENDER ROSE FOLIAGE from HARSH HEAT while ensuring they get ENOUGH SUN.

PARTIAL SHADE conditions can also help here, especially during HOT summer days. 

7. Maintain proper pH

Most roses love SLIGHTLY ACIDIC soils with a pH range between 6-7. DON’T just try to change your rose garden’s pH. Consider getting a SOIL TEST first. Like dying your hair, you might be TEMPTED to do it on the fly, but you know it’s better to go to a PROFESSIONAL. 

It will help you adjust using ADDITIVES such as Sulfur or Limestone. Not the dye, I mean getting your soil tested. Don’t take plants to the salon. Hahaha. 

Suggested reading: 20 Types Of Roses: Add Life And Color To Garden

How to Fix Yellowing Rose Leaves?

How to Fix Yellowing Rose Leaves

Are your roses like a WILTED SALAD from the DUMPSTER behind your favorite FOOD SPOT? Here is how to get them FEELING BETTER:

1. Check for pests

You should FIGHT PESTS such as APHIDS and SPIDER MITES using pesticides. I prefer using organic antidotes like INSECTICIDAL SOAP or NEEM OIL to fight them. Think of it like ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE but for your plants. 

I do this in 3-day intervals to get the BEST RESULTS – they won’t know what hit them. 

2. Improve soil drainage 

POOR DRAINAGE can leave you with a POND for a garden, which can lead to ROOT ROT on your rose bush. Plant or transplant your roses in RAISED BEDS with WELL-DRAINING SOIL. Your plants will feel like they are on TOP of the world. Get it? 

This is HELPFUL if you have HEAVY CLAY SOILS. After all, roses are NOT goldfish. Hahaha.

3. Add soil nutrients 

As noted earlier, NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY is a major cause of yellowing rose bush leaves. I add a fertilizer with NITROGEN, POTASSIUM & PHOSPHORUS every 2 to 4 weeks. 

Think of it like giving your plants a PROTEIN SHAKE. Just DON’T be surprised when they start posting gym selfies.

4. Take care of the roots

Let’s get DOWN and DIRTY with those roots (NOT like that, you pervs)! If they are DARK BROWN and SLIMY, chances are that there is a FUNGAL INFECTION that will cause ROOT ROT. Consider uprooting them and treating them with LIME PASTE. That’ll fix them.

5. Prune the yellow parts

Remove AFFECTED PARTS before they look like a TOURIST who forgot their SUNSCREEN! Cut off any DISEASED or INFECTED branches immediately. 

This helps PREVENT local fungi infections from SPREADING to your surrounding plants. They can quickly SPREAD faster than gossip at my local church.

6. Add Iron 

Add iron supplements when iron levels DROP BELOW OPTIMAL. So IRON CHELATE supplements should be part of your TREATMENT REGIMEN. Roses love Iron more than people love conspiracy theories on Reddit. 

7. Don’t Crowd The Bed

Be mindful when TRANSPLANTING to new plant beds. Ensure they have ENOUGH SPACE with at least ONE METER of separation. Stick to this NO MATTER how small THEIR SIZE may be. You don’t want them getting CLAUSTROPHOBIC.

Care Tips for Rose Plants

Care Tips for Rose Plants

Here are a few pro tips on your plant care

1. Mulching Techniques

Do you want the rose-iest way to IMPRESS your roses? ORGANIC MULCH like wood chips is the perfect combo to RETAIN MOISTURE. And it adds nutrients that will BREAK DOWN SLOWLY over time, benefiting rose plants. 

That’s just like your uncle’s world-famous slow-cooked stakes – except you’ll like it. 

2. Deadheading Roses 

Practice deadheading (REMOVING SPENT or WILTED FLOWERS) when necessary. This trick ensures the NEXT BLOOM production within NO TIME. It also keeps the plant looking fresh, as most of us do before a date.

It’s important, but only remove about ONE-THIRD LENGTH of the stems. But you can always give them an EDGY HAIRCUT, Edward Scissorhands!

3. Winter Protection Care

BEFORE WINTER periods, I cover up the ENTIRE BED of roses with a light LAYER OF COMPOST material. I do it until the upcoming SPRING season arrives for protection. Hey, that’s just like Snow White. 

So I totally have a reason to go kissing my roses if anyone asks. 

4. Location 

Never place Rose bushes around trees with direct competition from roots. Instead, I position them in a raised bed or pots above ground level. It reminds me of high school all over again – no one wants their lunch money taken – even roses. 

5. Proper Pruning tools

Remember, sharp tools will give you SHARP RESULTS. Use sharp, clean PRUNERS. We’re talking sharper than an insult from Simon Cowell. Remove at an angle roughly a QUARTER INCH above the outward-facing buds. 

It HELPS maintain shape & increase airflow around new GROWTH POINTS, improving healthiness overall.

6. Soil preparation

Before planting roses, I prepare the soil by adding COMPOST or WELL-ROTTED MANURE. It improves DRAINAGE and NUTRIENT CONTENT faster than we used to leave school on a Friday. [**Remembers the good old days before adulting**]

7. Support system

Provide SUPPORT for sprawling or CLIMBING VARIETIES, such as STAKES & TRELLIS. Their weight can cause STEMS & BRANCHES breakage during HEAVY WINDS and RAIN. 

Let’s admit we all need a SUPPORT SYSTEM – that’s why I always go for my trusty PIZZA. Don’t judge me. Hahaha 

FAQs about Rose Leaves Turning Yellow

1. Should you remove yellow leaves from roses?

Remove yellow leaves from the rose bush when maintaining your rose garden. Yellow leaves indicate an issue such as pests or disease and can spread to other plants. Removing affected leaves helps keep the plant healthy. 
And it encourages young leaves to grow without the strain caused by dying foliage. Talk about pressure relief!

2. Are coffee grounds good for roses?

Coffee grounds are fantastic for your garden. Just think of it as sprinkling magical fairy dust on your dear rose bush – and watch the transformation! Coffee ground is a slow-release fertilizer rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus nutrients. 
Hold your horses, too much coffee grounds can create excess acidity for your rose bush. It can also create a nitrogen deficiency. 

3. How do I know if my rose bush is diseased?

If your rose bush’s leaves start to turn yellow with patches or black spots, it may be a sign of disease. Additionally, try to spot yellowing and wilting on the leaves. That could show further signs of a fungal disease known as black spots. 
This normally causes large round lesions on both sides of the affected foliage. In time, this will cause them to turn yellow and drop off. 
To identify this infection, look for dark circular spots that appear on roses’ leaves. This happens before turning yellow, brown, or tan until it completely falls from its stem.

4. Does peroxide cure root rot?

While hydrogen peroxide can treat infected root systems, it does not always cure root rot. And may only temporarily relieve symptoms. Peroxide can help fight some pathogens causing root diseases. 
It increases oxygen concentrations in soil. But, it cannot penetrate deep into the Canker caused by fungus. This means it cannot eradicate them fully.

What’s Next

We discussed common reasons for rose leaves turning yellow and how to prevent, fix and care for them. It’s a tricky balance to ensure your roses stay healthy and beautiful. 

But it’s achievable with the proper knowledge and care! And now, you’ve been entrusted with this knowledge–no more thorns in your shoe.

If you’re looking for USEFUL ADVICE on how to tend your ROSE GARDEN, you are at the right place. AsterGardening has you covered! 

From tips for seasonal planting to answers about pests and diseases – whatever help you need with your gardening can be found with us. 

VISIT US today so we can get started helping your green thumb flourish!

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Shaafay Zia

Hi, I'm a fellow green thumb who moonlight's as a writer. Gardening is something that brings me peace and I have been in the sport for many years now. With all of our expertise, we will always bring you the best content which will make you love your garden, even more.