Roses are one of the most beautiful flowers to have in your garden. But they can be a pain when growing. You may get frustrated watching your roses droop even though you take care of them.
Your roses are drooping in the garden because of drought stress that happens due to underwatering. They may start drooping because of hot weather. Sometimes the roses drop because you are providing excess fertilizer to the soil.
I’ve written all the details below so you can check exactly what’s going on with your roses and take the required action.
1. Too much or too little heat
The rose is a warm-season plant that grows well in the summer temperature that would be above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, if the temperature gets too hot it will show this by drooping of the roses and wilting of the foliage. The plant is trying to conserve all the moisture it can and that’s why this happens.
This is a temporary effect and as soon as the weather has cooled down, the rose will return to being healthy.
You may find that your roses are drooping in the afternoon when the heat has increased. And they are back to their normal state in the evening.
You can use a shade if you want to avoid this problem in the afternoon. If you’re growing the rose in a container, you can move it to a location with shade.
The rose can withstand cold weather as well but it cannot survive the frost. So you cannot expect the rose plant to grow when the weather is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the weather goes below freezing, the roses will start to droop because they are unable to get the required nutrients from the plant. This is a serious problem that will eventually cause them to fall off and the plant to die.
If it’s a temporary drop in the temperature, you can use a row cover to keep the plant warm. You could even use an artificial heat source inside to keep it warm.
If you’re growing the plant in a container, you can move the plant indoors till the temperature returns to normal in a few days.
2. Underwatering or overwatering
One of the most common problems when growing a rose plant is to underwater or overwater it.
Both will cause a similar symptom where the plant and roses will droop. This happens because the plant is not getting the required nutrients and moisture from the roots.
When you underwater the rose plant, the roots cannot get the required moisture. And they cannot transport the nutrients from the soil to the roses causing them to droop.
When you overwater the plant, you can drown the roots if the drainage is not good enough. This causes problems like root rot and so the plant cannot absorb the required nutrients from the soil causing the roses to droop.
The rose plant needs plenty of water and you should provide about 2-inches of water per week to the plant.
The easiest way to know when to water the plant is with a daily inspection of the soil. Stick your finger 1-2 inches into the soil to check for moisture.
If the tip of your finger does not feel moist, it means you need to water the soil. Water it well till it seeps deep into the soil.
This will encourage the plant to develop deep and strong roots that will be able to extract nutrients and moisture from the soil even if you forget to water the plant sometimes.
Underwatering is a simple problem to solve because you just need to water the soil and the roses will bounce back to normal.
Overwatering is a serious issue that can cause fungal problems like root rot. This causes permanent damage to the roots. So you need to dig them up and cut off the rotting ones.
You will know this by looking at the roots that have turned brown, soggy, and have a smell. You need to cut the rotten roots and move the plant to another location in the garden with good drainage.
If all the roots are rotten, there is nothing much you can do than dispose of the entire rose plant.
3. Transplant shock
You may have got a rose cutting from a friend or family. Or you may have bought it from a nursery or garden center.
Most people will plant this cutting in their garden without giving it time to adjust to the outdoor environment.
The plant then gets a transplant shock due to the sudden move to the harsh environment. It may be too hot, sunny, and windy for the young cutting.
The rose plant cannot absorb the required nutrients from the soil. And it will show this by the roses drooping.
When you get yourself a cutting, avoid planting it without hardening it. This is a process where you make sure the plant gets used to the outdoor environment for a week.
You keep the plant outside for a few hours every day. It’s best to keep it away from direct sunlight and wind when you do this.
Keep doing this every day and after a week you can transplant the cutting to your outdoor garden without any problems.
If you have already planted the cutting into the soil, take it out and put it in a pot that you can keep indoors till the hardening process is done.
4. Lack of nutrients
The rose plant needs a lot of nutrients when it is growing. It may take a couple of years until the plant is ready to develop roses.
If the rose plant does not get the required nutrients, the roses will not grow well and appear drooping.
I recommend using organic fertilizer to give the best nutrients to the rose plant without side effects. The chemical ones can harm beneficial organisms, other plants, and wildlife.
If you can manage to make your own compost, that’s the best addition to the soil when growing the rose plant.
The organic compost will provide the required nutrients to the plant. It will also introduce beneficial organisms that improve the texture and nutrients of the soil.
When starting to grow the rose plant, you can use a balanced fertilizer that has an N-P-K value of 10-10-10. The nitrogen will help the plant develop good foliage in the first year of growth.
From the second year, you can reduce the nitrogen in the fertilizer and use one with N-P-K of 5-10-10. This will encourage the plant to develop roses rather than growing more foliage.
You need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much fertilizer to use and how often.
If you use too much fertilizer, it can cause fertilizer burn that will damage the roots of the rose plant. Too much supply of nutrients will overload the plant and roses and cause them to droop as well.
You can get the fertilizer in granular or liquid form. The one you use is based on your preference.
The granular fertilizer typically is slow-release. So you add it to the soil and it releases nutrients when you water the plant.
The liquid fertilizer is fast-release. You dilute it with water and spray it on the foliage and soil. It adds nutrients to the plant within a couple of days.
5. Infestation of pests
Pests can be a common problem on your rose plants that will sap the nutrients out of the plant. And lack of nutrients is the main reason why your roses will start drooping.
Some of these insects will make holes in the stem of the plant and put their eggs in them. These include the cane borer, rose stem girdler, and rose stem sawfly.
The eggs hatch into larvae and consume the nutrients from the stem. This makes it harder for the roses to get the required nutrients.
The best solution is to hand-pick these insects as soon as you see them on your rose plants. Then drop them in a bucket of soapy water to eliminate them.
If there are holes in the stem, you need to cut it with a bypass pruner a few inches below the holes. Then cover up the open portion of the stem with grafting wax.
You can create a mixture of 1 tablespoon neem oil, 1 tablespoon dish soap, and a gallon of water. And spray it on your rose plants to keep such insects away.
Another type of insect that will attack the rose plant are thrips and aphids. The adult insects suck the sap out of the stem causing a loss of nutrients for the plant.
You can dislodge these insects from the rose plant with a spray of water. They will not return once they fall on the soil.
You can also use the neem oil mixture we created to protect your rose plant from aphids and thrips.
6. Attack by diseases
Diseases are another problem that will cause your roses to start drooping due to stress and lack of nutrients.
Botrytis blight is a common fungal disease that affects rose plants. You will notice this problem with a gray fungus on your plant. The roses will start getting black lesions and the buds will start decaying.
Verticillium wilt is another fungal disease that infects rose plants. This disease causes yellowing of the foliage as well as spots on the stem. It may even stunt the growth of the plant.
The best solution is to prevent such fungal diseases from attacking the rose plant. Make sure to avoid splashing water on the foliage when watering the plant.
This is the number one reason why a humid environment gets created that attracts such fungal diseases.
Also, clean your gardening tools like pruners with rubbing alcohol before using them on your rose plant. This will sterilize the tool and prevent the spread of diseases.
If your rose plant is infected with these diseases, there’s not much you can do. You will need to trim the parts of the plant that have the infection.
If the entire plant has an infection, you will need to dispose of the entire plant. And you cannot grow another rose plant in the same location as the soil may contain the spores of such fungal diseases.