How to Prevent Rose Diseases

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Here are five ways to prevent rose diseases, such as blackspot, brown canker, rust, and powdery mildew.


yellow rose

pink rose

orange rose

Choose Your Roses Carefully

Choose roses that look healthy. A two-for-one deal at the end of the growing season might save you money now only to have your roses succumb later to disease. It is better to pay a bit more for a healthy rose than to lose money on “bargain” roses.

Also, look for low-maintenance rose varieties. These types of roses are usually resilient and resistant to disease and climate hardship. Shrub roses tend to be the most resistant to diseases, as are many varieties of old roses. Hybrid tea roses tend to need the most care and can more easily become diseased.

Plant Your Roses Properly

Properly planted and cared for roses are less likely to suffer from disease. Most roses need at least five to six hours of sunlight each day (shade-tolerant varieties can get by in partial shade, with three to four hours of sun) and about an inch of water per week. Make sure that watering is done deeply so that it reaches the roots.

Even though roses need lots of water, they do not like standing water. Improper drainage around your rose plant can lead to diseases such as rot and blackspot. Also, water your roses in the morning so that leaves have time to dry throughout the day. This will prevent fungal diseases from developing. Make sure that you have a good compost or well-rotted manure that you use in planting and that you carefully follow the planting directions that come with the plant.


Mulching prevents soil-borne disease from getting on the plant. As an added bonus, landscape mulch slows weed growth. The best mulches are organic mulches that protect in two ways: keeping away soil diseases and providing more nutrients to the roses, helping them remain healthy enough to prevent other rose diseases. Good mulches to use are pine needles, wood chips, and grass clippings. Apply mulch in a one to two inch thick layer.

Trim Regularly

Trim the rose plants regularly to prevent diseases. Pruning improves the health and the appearance of the plants. Also, regularly check for yellowing or diseased parts of the rose plants and trim affected areas immediately to help prevent any disease from spreading.

Spray to Prevent Mildew

You can prevent the rose disease known as powdery mildew with this spray: Mix together one gallon of water, two tablespoons of baking soda, and one tablespoon of Murphy Oil Soap. If you feel you must use a fungicide, always try to look for environmentally friendly fungicide options.

Start in early spring and spray your roses every two weeks. A watering wand is good for this job (do not dump the water over your rose plants). Once the temperature reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit, stop spraying.

For lots more information about rose diseases caused by fungi, just click the link.

Rose photos courtesy of www.cepolina.com/freephoto/.

Updated: December 13, 2013 — 8:05 pm

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