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How to Fix Yellow Leaves on Roses? (Causes & Solutions)

The red petal flower with the green leaves always lures everyone.

Green leaves always promote the healthy growth of roses, but if there are pale or yellow leaves, there must be wrong with the plant. 

To fix the yellow leaves on roses,  avoid underwatering and overwatering, provide enough sunlight, maintain slightly acidic soil, and offer ideal fertilization. Also, remove pests, including aphids and flies, and treat diseases such as Rose Mosaic and Downy Mildew. 

Less care can cause the rose to produce yellow leaves in no time.

Witnessing your rose receiving yellow leaves can be heart-rendering, but this is not an everlasting issue.

If you own rose plants that are already getting worse with pale leaves, this article is the perfect guide for you!

Is it Normal for Roses Leaves to Turn Yellow?

With the passing of time, rose leaves turn old and drop in the summer, which is quite natural.

It is also normal for the rose to have yellow leaves when the plant is about to die after its natural age. Besides, rose can have yellow leaves when leaves turn old and are about to drop.

Normally, rose leaves turn yellow during winter. As they stay dormant during winter, the leaves turn yellow and fall during the winter season. 

We cannot act against the natural age of roses and leaves.

However, other than the natural age, there must be some wrong things if the yellow leaves of a rose appear.

What Causes Yellow Leaves on Roses?

The yellow leaves on rose bushes indicate the rose plant is going through hardship.

Therefore, it is essential for you as a gardener to understand the causes that are troubling your rose plant. 

1. Improper Watering 

Water is essential in maintaining root health and delivering nutrients to plants. Yellowing of rose leaves occurs both due to underwatering and overwatering.

Underwatered Rose

Underwatering can lead to yellowing rose leaves of rose when the roots fail to deliver adequate nutrients to the plant.

You can tell that your rose is underwatered if the soil around it is dry and the leaves turn dry and crispy.

The rose leaves turn dry due to underwatering.

Furthermore, the leaves begin wilting and dropping when it does not get adequate water.

Immediate Steps of Revival 

If your rose plant shows signs of lack of water, here is how you can revive the dry plant.

  • First of all, check the signs of plant life. When you scratch the bark off, and if you still see the underside green, your plant is still alive.
  • Next, make some small holes in the soil. Pour the water through the holes till the soil is damp.
  • If your plant is in a container, pour water until the water passes out of the drainage holes.
  • Break the dry soil using a fork and dip the pot in lukewarm water. Leave the container till the air bubbles begin to appear. 
  • If the soil feels still too dry, you can repot the plant in moist soil.
  • Placing the plant in a water-filled pebble tray can also help overcome the underwatering. This will enable the plant to absorb water without rotting the root.


You are mistaken if you think overwatering a plant does not harm it. 

If you water a rose plant above its tolerance, its roots begin rotting, which hamper the rose from receiving essential nutrients. Consequently, yellowing of the leaf occurs.

The rose leaves turn yellow due to overwatering.

In addition, if you leave water in the rose bushes intact, the sunlight gets reflected towards the lower leaves, and there is a high chance of burning those leaves. 

Although roses love water, they do not prefer soggy soil.

The roots of an overwatered rose plant are black and mushy, and the soil produces an odor. 

Immediate Steps of Revival

If you witness these signs of an overwatered rose plant, immediately rescue your plant with the following steps!

  • The first step is to stop watering once you notice the signs of overwatering. Water the rose only after the soil is dry.
  • Move the overwatered plant to shady place. Doing this help prevent the upper part of the leaves from drying out.
  • Loosen the wet soil and roots to allow them to dry quickly.  
  • If the soil does not dry, throw away the soil and repot the rose in a new container with drainage holes and fresh soil.

2. Insufficient Lighting 

Roses need full and direct sun. 

When you don’t provide adequate sunlight to the rose, the flowers often do not bloom, and the leaves turn yellow due to deficient chlorophyll formation.

Rose receives yellow leaves when it is under insufficient light.

The low leaves of the rose do not receive adequate sunlight, so they turn yellow and later drop.

Immediate Steps of Revival

If your rose plant in a shady location is turning yellow, help your plant with these immediate steps! 

  • Place your rose plant in a sunny location.
  • Bring out the rose outside if you have grown the rose in a pot indoors. 
  • Cut or remove anything above the rose plant that has shaded over it. 
  • Rotate the rose so that each side of the plant receives the light. 
  • Unveil the curtain over the rose plant. 

3. Fertilizer Problem

Rose plants need heavy food, and if you have grown them in containers, you need to pay special attention when fertilizing.

Nutrient Deficiency

Like other houseplants, rose plants need higher quantities of essential micronutrients.

Generally, the yellow coloration of rose leaves occurs due to the deficiency of nitrogen, magnesium, and iron.

Besides yellowing, leaf tips curling, and plants’ stunted growth occurs due to nutrient deficiency. 

Nutrient deficiency in rose plants occurs due to inadequate nutrients in the soil or incorrect soil pH.

Overfeeding can let your rose produce yellow leaves.

In addition, iron deficiency occurs when the soil has too much clay, is too wet, or when the phosphorous content is high in the soil.

Immediate Steps of Revival

If you see the signs above, here is how you can fix the problem of nutrient deficiency! 

  • Adding nitrogen fertilizer, adjusting the soil with animal dirt, or any compost will help supply nitrogen to the soil.
  • Add Epsom salt to the soil to compensate for magnesium deficiency. 
  • Apply peat moss and compost to amend clay soil.
  • Use chelated iron as a supplement to the soil.

If you provide adequate nutrients to the soil, you can revive the green color of the rose leaves before it is too late.

Over Fertilization 

The frequency of fertilization depends upon the variety of the roses.  

When you overfertilize a rose plant, the fertilizers cause a pH imbalance in the soil and hamper the plant’s nutrient uptake, thereby allowing the leaves to turn yellow.

You can consider the rose to have overfed when a crust of fertilizer develops over the soil surface. 

Furthermore, other symptoms of overfertilization are blackened roots and browning of leaf margins.

Immediate Steps of Revival

If you notice the symptoms of overfertilization in your rose plant, you can save your rose plant with these steps of revival.

  • Remove the layer of fertilizer formed over the soil surface. 
  • Wash the fertilizer away from the soil with running water. Repeat the process till excess fertilizer is washed away.
  • Remove the yellow leaves, and do not fertilize the plant until one month. 
  • If these steps don’t work, transfer the root to another soil mixed with a balanced fertilizer.

4. Heat Stress 

Though roses are sun-loving flowers, extreme heat and dryness can be dangerous to them. 

Rose plants show yellow leaves in their bushes when the soil is unable to retain moisture due to direct heat on the plants. 

They drop their yellow leaves to cool off the heat.

The rose can yield yellow leaves due to high temperature.

The use of mulch is the best way to revive the rose from yellow leaves due to heat stress.

To prevent further yellowing of leaves, you should cover the soil with a layer of mulch to preserve the soil’s moisture. 

Immediate Steps of Revival

If the heat is severe, follow the following instructions!

  • Hydrate the rose if it feels warm.
  • Maintain air ventilation for the rose if it is stuck in the warm surrounding. 
  • Use the extension to cover the rose with the curtain above the rose to disallow the excess light.
  • Place the potted rose under the big tree to allow some shades. 

5. Incorrect Soil  

The rose flowers prefer slightly acidic soil of pH 6 to 6.5. With alkaline soil, roses can not uptake essential nutrients like iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. 

If the soil pH is above than 7, which represents alkaline, a rose plant displays yellowing of leaves. 

Roses need rich loamy and well draining soil, and they hate soggy wet soil.

Immediate Steps of Revival

If your soil pH tests alkaline, you can save further damage to roses through these steps!

  • Transplant the rose into the acidic soil. If acidic soil is unavailable, you can add peat moss to the topsoil to make it acidic.
  • Add ground agriculture lime to allow the soil to be slightly acidic. 
  • Use aluminum sulfate and sulfur to lower the pH level.

6. Pest Infestation 

The rose plants often get infested with pests like aphids, Japanese beetles, rose sawflies, spider mites, and others.

When the pests feed on the rose leaves, you can see holes in the leaves, and the leaves begin turning yellow.

Rose sawfly can be identified by its orange abdomen and wings.

The table below helps you learn how these pests appear on the leaves of roses. 

Pests Appearance
AphidsPear shaped, pink or green insect

Appear in cluster on underside of leaves
Japanese Beetles Shiny, metallic-green in color

Feed on tissue between the veins
Rose Sawflies Less than one cm long, black head and thorax, orange wings and abdomen

Found on leaf surface
Rose Mites Oval-shaped, green, yellow, or translucent in color

Appear on leave's underside

Immediate Steps of Revival

You can rescue your pest-infested rose plant with the following steps!

  • To kill aphids, you can apply a home-based DIY in which you should mix one tablespoon of soap with one liter of water. Spray this solution on the rose plant for a few days. 
  • Spray rubbing alcohol or neem oils over the pest-infested leaves to kill spider mites and aphids. 
  • Pick the larvae of rose sawflies using a hand or Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

7. Attack of Diseases

Larger rose shrubs are less susceptible to diseases, whereas smaller varieties, including tea roses, have a higher chance of destruction. Thus, miniature roses turn yellow in leaves faster than large roses. 

Black spots, Rose Mosaics, Downy Mildew, Botrytis Blight, Rust, and Rose Rosette are common diseases that attack a rose plant and cause its leaves to turn yellow. 

Black spots cause yellowing of leaves along with black spots.

Firstly, know the effects of these diseases on the rose leaves from the table below!

Black Spots Enlarging black spots with yellow halo
Rose MosaicMosaic patterns of yellow or green
Downy Mildew Yellow spots enveloped by yellowing of leaves
Botrytis BlightSmall, yellowish spots
RustRust colored spots
Rose RosetteShoot elongation, yellow mottles on leaves

Immediate Steps of Revival

  • Treat the signs of black spots using fungicide containing chlorothalonil.
  • You can prevent the further spread of black spots by removing the mulch.  
  • Allow faster drying of the leaves, and do not water the plant during the afternoon or evening.
  • Fungicide-containing Metataxyl helps to cure Downey Mildew.
  • Fungicides containing sulfur can be useful to minimize the effects of rust on the leaf.
  • You should provide good air circulation to the plant to prevent the spread of rust in rose leaves. Prune the plants regularly to ensure air circulation.

Should I Remove Yellow Leaves from Roses?

Removing the yellow leaves is certainly a good option if your rose is diseased.

Cutting off the yellow leaves of roses encourages the new leaves’ growth and prevents the growth of fungus, pests, and diseases in your plant. 

You can remove the yellow rose with the following steps!

  • Wear gardener gloves to protect your hands, and use sterilized pruners to cut the leaves.
  • Choose the yellow leaves and remove them from the base with the help of pruners.
  • Only prune the pale leaves. Do not remove the healthy leaves from the plants.
  • Collect the pruned leaves in the container and keep them to make a compost. 

How to Prevent Yellow Leaves on Roses?

If you feel these efforts are troublesome, you need to care for and cater to your rose plant properly.

The following quick guide helps prevent rose plants from producing unnatural yellow leaves!

  • Plant or place the roses in an area where they receive full sun exposure for at least 6 hours a day.
  • Rose plants prefer a soak and dry method of watering.  Water your rose plant every week during spring and every three to four days during summer.
Green leaves plant indicate a healthy rose.
  • Maintain the temperature range between 60 and 70 degrees which is ideal for roses. 
  • Relative humidity of 60- 70% is good enough for rose plants.
  • Use composts for a recently planted rose, and feed it with balanced fertilizer about a month of planting. Repeat fertilization every 2-3 weeks for the adult rose.
  • Repot the rose plant during early spring or late spring once 2-3 years, when it is at its dormancy. 
  • Prune the rose bushes in the early growing season, usually early spring. 


Yellow leaves of rose indicate a sign that your plant is turning unhealthy and is in need of your help. 

Therefore, it becomes a priority to identify the reasons why your roses’ leaves are turning yellow. 

As I have mentioned about the ways to fix these problems, recognize your plant’s needs and help your rose plant before it is too late. 

If you are a houseplants lover, you may wish to learn about fixing the yellowing of lucky bamboo leaves and geranium leaves

Happy gardening! 

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