It sucks.

Watching your potted rose plant dying is not something you signed up for.

But now you wonder if there is any way to save your precious.

You can revive dying potted rose by trimming the canes to 6-8 inches. Prune all the leaves and add good potting soil. Add compost that gives a boost of nutrients and beneficial organisms to the soil. Check for signs of underwatering, overwatering, lack of light, nutrients, pests, or disease.

In this post, I’ll list all the possible issues you can look at and help your dying plant get back to its beautiful self.

Let’s take a look.

How to revive a dying potted rose plant?

Let’s start by looking at some of the most common issues which can kill your rose plant. We should note that more than one problem might cause the problem. 

1. Protect the rose plant from underwatering

Water plays a vital role in the photosynthesis process. If your rose plant isn’t getting enough water, it will struggle to get nutrients from the soil. The ideal amount of water will depend on the type of rose you are growing. 

A good way to tell whether you need to water the plant is by feeling the soil. If it feels dry to the touch, it’s time to add a little more water. Usually, during the summer months, you will need to water your rose once a day. 

Alternatively, you can set up a self-watering system. This will give them a consistent amount of water every day. This is a good idea for people who live busy lives and don’t have the time to give daily care to roses. 

If you are struggling to keep moisture in the soil, it might be a good idea to add a layer of mulch. Another option is to use inorganic mulch. For example, you can use pebbles. This will reduce the amount of evaporation that the soil experiences. 

2. Make sure you’re not overwatering the rose plant

Too much water can be just as dangerous as not getting enough and lead to dying rose. You will block off access to oxygen in the soil, drowning the plants. This can be harder to spot than dry soil. Some signs to look out for include:

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Soft stem
  • The soil feels damp or there is water pooling on top
  • Brown spots on the leaves

There are a few ways to deal with overwatering. First, check the drainage. Sometimes, you will need to drill some holes in the pot’s base, giving the water somewhere to go. It’s also a good idea to hold off watering for a few days until the soil is dry to the touch once again. 

It might also be a good idea to set up a self-watering system or use a timer when watering the roses. This will make it easier to keep track of the amount of water that you are providing them. This can stop you from overwatering.

Rose plants require full sunlight, frequent water, good drainage, Potassium-Phosphorus rich fertilizers. So, if your potted rose plant is dropping its max leaves, show few/no flowers/flower buds then below could be the possible reasons with an appropriate solution. In hope to save a plant. – Vinayak Garg, Founder, Lazy Gardener

3. Don’t go overboard with the pruning of the rose plant

This is another area where you need to have some balance. Too little pruning and it can easily become overgrown and unsightly. Plus, there won’t be enough airflow between the branches, raising the risk of disease. Too much and you will cut off thriving branches, stunting growth. 

Here are some simple tips you can use when pruning your rose bushes:

  • Prune lightly during the summer, removing any old flowers. 
  • Do a more thorough prune in the winter, removing any dead branches. This helps encourage fresh growth in the spring. 
  • Older roses won’t need a lot of pruning, just removing dead branches. 
  • Younger roses will require a more vigorous prune. Sometimes, you can remove a third of the plant. Don’t be afraid to do this, as it encourages fresh growth. 
  • Trim from the top down. 
  • Try to focus on the middle of the plant, creating some space for airflow. 

4. Be aware of the sunlight needs of the rose plant

The rose will thrive when left in the sun. As a general rule, they will need to be getting around four hours of direct sunlight. If it is only partial sunlight, you’ll need to provide around five hours of exposure. If you don’t have a lot of sunlight, you will need to be more selective about the type of species you are getting. 

You can tell if this is the problem by looking at the blooms. If some blooms aren’t opening, it can be a sign that the rose isn’t getting enough sunlight. If lack of direct sunlight is a problem in your area, it’s best to choose a variety that has single blooms, rather than one that has multiple petals. 

rose plant
Rose plant at the HortiPro Exhibition

5. Prevent a lack of nutrients in the plant

The amount of nutrients in the soil is a very important consideration. Often, this means getting the right potting mix. The best way to do this is by looking at the NPK ratio. It’s often best to get something that is evenly balanced. 

To add some extra nutrients to the soil, you can add some compost. This will also help to retain moisture. You should only do this once or twice a year, though. Compost releases nutrients into the soil slowly, so if you add too much, you can burn the roses.  

You can add a liquid rose fertilizer. You can apply this once every four to six weeks when the roses are in bloom. This will help them grow stronger and achieve bigger blooms. 

6. Check for any temperature related problems

It’s important to choose a rose that is suited to your local environment. If the temperature is too high, there is a risk that it will start wilting. Too low and it might become stressed, making it harder to access soil nutrients.

The good news is that there is a rose to grow in every climate. You just need to make sure that you are using the right roses for your area. This article goes into more detail about species that will suit each climate. 

7. Protect the rose plant from pests

Several pest species might affect your roses. This can include things like:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Gnats
  • Caterpillars
  • Snails

Most of these should be easy to spot. If there is a sign of bug activity, isolate the plant. This stops the pests from infecting other plants. If this is the problem, start by using an insecticide, like neem oil. Or you can mix dish soap with water, you can then spray it on the plants. 

organic neem oil
Organic neem oil I use on my plants

It’s also important to take some preventative steps to prevent a future infestation.  One of the best ways to do this is by stopping overwatering. Many of these insects will be attracted to moist soil, as it provides the optimal conditions to lay their eggs. 

8. Protect the rose plant from diseases

Finally, your rose bush might have been affected by a disease. The most common example of this is a fungal infection. This often occurs because of damp leaves. Because of this, try to water in the morning, so the moisture will evaporate. 

If the infection is in the early stages, you might control it by cutting away the infected leaves. However, if it is more advanced, you might need to use a baking soda solution. To do this, you will need to combine one quart of water with one teaspoon of baking powder. You can add some liquid soap. Then, spray it onto the leaves. You should coat the entire plant. 

Just a quick warning, though, some plants might react negatively to bicarb in the soil. If this is the case, you might need to repot your rose. 

Where to place your potted rose plant for recovery?

You want to reduce the amount of stress that your dying rose is experiencing. As a result, put it under a tree in the shade. You can keep it there for a few weeks. Then, move it to an area that is partly shaded. 

By this point, you should be able to see some signs of recovery. The ideal sign is fresh growth. This will start small, with just a few green shoots, but it means that there is growth occurring in the root system. This means that the plant is coming back. 

After you see this, you can bring it back into full sunlight. Keep monitoring it. If it shows signs of becoming stressed again, move it back into a partly shaded area. But if the growth continues, you can expect your roses to make a full recovery. 

How to care for a potted rose plant?

Caring for a rose plant is fairly simple. Remember to follow these instructions:

  • Give it plenty of light. Most species will need at least four hours of direct sunlight a day. Five hours if they are in part shadows. 
  • Get the right nutrient mix. You should use a liquid rose fertilizer around every four weeks when it is blooming. 
  • Water it frequently. Water it once a day, when the soil is starting to feel dry. If possible, try to apply this water directly to the soil, rather than to the leaves. This helps to reduce the risk of diseases and pests. Set up a self-watering system to make sure that they are getting the right amount of water. 
  • Prune it back. For most species, this will need to be done twice a year.  Have a light prune in the summer and a more extensive prune in the winter. 

Finally, you might need to consider repotting your roses. This gives the roots enough space for them to grow and prevents them from becoming root-bound. You might need to do this every three to four years. However, you should only do this during the winter months. As you are doing this, prune back the roots. 

Remember, they will need a large pot to accommodate their extensive root system. Usually, it’s best to use something that is a minimum of 60L. Give them a premium all-round potting mix, so they have the right nutrients.

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