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7 Proven Methods to Revive Wilting Rose

Have your elegant-looking Rose started wilting and losing mass despite the growing season? Beware, as it may indicate that your Rose bushes are severely stressed!

Roses primarily begin to wilt due to environmental change or lack of maintenance, including inappropriate watering, poor drainage, inappropriate nutrition, pest and disease, transplant shock, and temperature stress (too hot or cold). 

Luckily, this problem can be solved with a few quick steps, so stay tuned to this article!

How to Revive Wilting Rose? [Causes & Easy Fixes]

Did you know Roses (Rosa spp.) have been around for about 35 million years, making them one of the oldest flowering species?

However, they quickly exhibit problems when neglected by the gardeners, with some telltale signs, including wilting and drooping of foliage, flowers, and stems.

If your Rose bushes have begun wilting, diagnose the following causes to fix the problems.

1. Inappropriate Watering

The lack of water can be detrimental to Roses as they preferably consume a lot of water.

Generally, Rose bushes require ten liters of water two to three times a week in the first year, and two deep soaks in the summer months.

wilting rose plant
Mist the Rose plant on hot days.

It will likely be severely dehydrated if you notice wilting stems or foliage.

  • The leaves and stems will droop and lose their rigidity, appearing limp or curled.
  • The foliage will turn yellow or brown around the edges and slowly turn crispy as the leaves begin to transpire more water.

On the other hand, Roses despise overwatering as excess moisture can damage the roots.

However, Rose leaves will primarily turn yellow and fall off, slightly different than wilting from dehydration.

Steps to Fix 

  • Start with deeply watering the plant, ensuring the soil remains evenly moist.
  • Add a layer of pine mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture in the soil.
  • Prune off dried, crispy, brownish foliage and dead or damaged blooms.
  • Move the plant to partial shade during the latter part of the day, especially when the temperature exceeds 90°F.
  • Overwatered Roses require a root rot or fungal diagnosis: slide out the plant to inspect root rot (dark and mushy), trim the affected parts, and apply fungicide before repotting in a fresh mix.
  • Do not water until the wilted leaves and stems revive, usually 5-7 days.
  • As a preventive measure, allow the top inch of soil to dry out slightly between watering in the growing season, usually once or twice a week.
For a commercial garden, use a dripper system to water your Roses, as it is the ideal way of providing a deep soaking directly to the root zone.

2. Poor Drainage

The poor drainage of soil has a significant image on the health of Rose bushes, often inviting wilting.

Excess water buildup will choke the roots, depriving them of oxygen and nutrients essential for maintaining the rigid shape.

Check out the following telltale signs:

  • The wilting leaves and drooping stem
  • Yellowing of leaves around the base
  • Root rot and stunted growth

The effect is similar to an overwatered plant, but the scenario is slightly different.

The poor drainage is likely due to using sterile (lacking organic matter) or thick soil mixed with a lot of inorganic matter like sand, silt, and clay.

Sometimes, using plastic or ceramic pots with one or no drainage holes and overfertilizing can also affect the soil’s drainage capability.

Steps to Fix 

  • Amend the potting soil with organic matter to improve drainage by adding compost, shredded leaves, or well-rotted manure.
  • Cut back on watering until the problem subsides and allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering in the future.
  • Switch to clay, terracotta, or ceramic pots with multiple drainage holes for potted Roses.
  • For compacted soil composition, improve drainage by adding sand or perlite to help break down the composition.
  • For an outdoor garden, consider using raised beds to ensure excess water drains away from the roots.

If root rot is visible, slide the plant out of the soil, trim the affected parts, apply fungicide, and repot in a fresh potting mix.

3. Lack of Nutrients

If any gardener tells you that Roses are not heavy feeders, they are wrong!

Roses are greedy plants and should be fed regularly throughout their lives to ensure healthy blooms.

Your Rose bushes will begin wilting and producing yellow leaves without proper nutrients, especially when unfertilized from late winter. 

Additionally, under-fertilizing will also invite fewer blooms, slowed growth, and droopy appearance in leaves and stems.

Steps to Fix 

  • Begin fertilizing your Roses in spring when the new growth sprouts and continue until summer.
  • Choose formulated plant food for Roses like Granular Plant Food and Magnum Rose Food.
  • Otherwise, use organic liquid fertilizers with an NPK ratio of 2-1-1 or 5-2-1 every two to four weeks.
  • Foliar sprays such as seaweed solution or a fish emulsion work great to give Roses nutrients when applied once a month.
  • Ensure to water your Roses deeply after each application
  • Stop feeding two months before the first frost, usually mid-August to September.

4. Excess Nutrients

Similar to under-fertilizing, overfertilizing will invite serious damage to Rose plants.

Excess fertilizing or using highly-packed nutrient plant food can burn the plant roots, leading to wilting and yellowing of leaves.

Too much fertilizer invites imbalanced plant growth as the roots fail to transport water and oxygen to the stems and leaves.

Therefore, you will likely find your wilting Roses exhibiting stunted growth.

Similarly, overfertilized Roses are more likely to produce fewer or no flowers.

Steps to Fix 

  • Flush the soil with rain or tepid water to leach out excess nutrients and set it out in full sunlight to recover.
  • Remove damaged leaves (wilted, yellow, and dried) using sterilized pruning shear to reduce stress on the plant.
  • Excess fertilizer can make the soil too acidic: Amend the soil with lime or dolomite powder to neutralize the pH to 6.5-7.
  • Cut back on fertilizing until the plant shows signs of recovery.

5. Temperature Stress

Roses are particular about temperature and hate sitting in extreme heat or cold as they often invite wilting.

Generally, most Rose species thrive in moderate temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C) during the day and slightly cooler temperatures at night.

Anything below 50°F is too cold for Roses, except for cold hardy ones like Rugosa Rose, Arctic Rose, Hansa, and Alexander E. Mackenzie.

Similarly, a temperature exceeding 90°F will increase evaporation from the soil, leading to excess leaf transpiration.

The temperature-stressed Roses often wilt and change color to brown or yellow. Remember, temperature-stricken plants are less likely to bear new blooms.

rose plant under sunlight
Roses are the perfect sun-loving plants that grow well in direct sunlight

Steps to Fix 

  • Provide six to eight hours of direct sunlight to your Roses each day.
  • Limit direct sunlight for extended periods in summer by providing some shade using a canopy or a shade cloth.
  • Prune any damaged or wilted foliage to help the plant conserve energy for new growth.
  • Potted Roses should be moved into the shade when the temperature exceeds 80°F.
  • Increase the watering frequency in summer, twice a week, and water deeply to ensure the roots get enough water.
  • Add a layer of pine mulch around the base of the plant to help keep the soil moist and cool.
Growing Roses in a complete shade is a bad idea. It requires at least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day.

6. Pest and Diseases

Roses are equally adorned by pollinators and pests, but for different reasons.

While pollinators love relishing its sweet nectar, pests like spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs will attack it for its juicy sap.

You heard it right! Outdoor-grown Roses are prone to sap-sucking insects, which often invite wilting and yellowing of leaves.

Indoor-grown or potted Roses are less likely to attract pests unless mingled with outdoor plants.

Similarly, environmental stress, poor drainage, lack of air circulation, and overcrowding can invite many different diseases.

Powdery MildewThe fungal disease causes a white, powdery coating on the leaves
BlackspotIt is a fungal disease that causes black spots on leaves, wilting, and yellowing
Rose Mosaic VirusIt spreads through infected tools and soil, often inviting distortion and wilting
Rose Rosette DiseaseIt spreads through mites or grafting and causes wilting and distortion of leaves

In any scenario, your Roses will begin to wilt and change in appearance as the disease spreads.

Steps to Fix 

  • Remove any infected parts, such as leaves or stems, and dispose of them properly to prevent the spread of the pest or disease.
  • Apply insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil to control further spread. 
  • For commercial Rose bushes, consider using commercial pesticides to kill pests effectively.
  • Apply fungicide as a foliar spray on your plant to stop the fungal spread.
  • In case of fungal root rot, slide out the plant, trim the affected parts, and apply fungicide before repotting in a fresh potting mix.
  • As a preventive measure, consider planting disease-resistant Roses, including Auguste Renoir, Electron, Frederic Mistral, and Love and Peace.

7. Transplant Shock

Although rare, recently transplanted Roses may begin experiencing transplant shock.

If you have moved your Rose from their permanent location to another or from a container into the ground, know they are suffering from a transplant shock.

Symptoms of transplant shock often include:

  • Wilted or yellowing leaves
  • Drooping stems
  • Stunted growth
  • Loss of foliage
  • Poor flowering or no flowers

The first three symptoms are more prevalent in a transplant shock.

It mainly happens when you damage the roots or drastically change the growing environment during transplanting.

Sometimes, improper watering after transplanting or a change in soil condition also invites a temporary shock.

Steps to Fix 

  • Prune any damaged or dead foliage to reduce stress on the plant.
  • Water the plant immediately after transplanting to help it settle into its new environment.
  • Use the same potting mix with the correct pH level when transplanting.
  • When moving from low to bright light, cover it with a light shade cloth or other protective covering for a few days or weeks to rehabilitate the plant.
  • Avoid fertilizing the rose plant until it has fully recovered from transplant shock.
  • Apply a root stimulant to help the plant recover quickly.

From Editorial Team


An ill-treated or neglected Rose plant is more likely to exhibit grave signs like wilting and a color change.

Be careful about watering, fertilizing, pruning, and transplanting Roses to ensure a conducive environment.

Moreover, ensure your Rose plant gets ample direct sunlight daily and mulch around the base to retain moisture for optimal growth.