What's wrong with my rose bush?

Striker9000November 16, 2013


I have several rose bush in my garden and all of them do very well during winter (I live in Saudi Arabia). Summer is more about struggling to make sure they're kept alive. This year, two of them (next to each other) are not flowering well. These same bushes used to have huge roses, but now, most of the roses die off before even blossoming. I've attached a picture to show you what I mean. Can someone please let me know if anything can be done to fix this problem? I've had both the bushes for over ten years! I hope something can be done about this. If there are any other pics that you would like me to take of the bush, please let me know.

Thank you!

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Has the foliage always been as distorted as that in the photo? How close are the bushes to cement walks or walls? Do you notice the issue more when it is hotter? How long has that walk (or whatever it is) been that close to the bush? Your foliage looks stressed, whether it's due to heat, viral infection, sprays or whatever, the leaves don't look "happy" nor normal. The flower gives me the impression it has suffered higher than desired heat, which should be expected from the type of climate in which it's grown. From your photo, I would suspect the issue to be excessive reflected/radiated heat from that concrete surface to the right of the photo. It's too close to that plant, which can result not only in too much alkalinity leaching from the cement, but also greatly increased air and soil temperatures from the solar collecting characteristics of the concrete surface.

Have you sprayed the plants with anything? Are you using anything to amend the soil, increase or replenish the organic content of the soil? Organics burn out of hot soil very quickly. If that plant has been growing there for the past decade without much being done to replace the organic content of the soil, your drainage could be suffering; salts could be building up due to the drainage reduction; nutrients could be withheld from the plant due to being locked up in insoluble compounds, etc. Perhaps further explanations of some of these issues might provide the clues to what's really going on. Thanks. Kim

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Sharique, please tell us a little bit about your growing climate there. I suspect that you have a climate like the desert southwest in the USA where summer heat kills roses. If that is the case, maybe someone from that part of the USA can give you some tips.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 11:57AM
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Hey Kim,

The leaves haven't been like this until recently. The bush is bordering a cemented walk (it has been for since I planted it ten years ago). I've never noticed this issue before, whether its summer or winter. I've noticed these leaves and "damaged" roses only recently. Heat could be a reason but November would be a strange time for that to be the specific reason as the climate here is quite pleasant between October to March (we're currently 22 Celsius during the day and 16 at night). Perhaps this has been happening for a while, but I've only noticed it recently due to the roses that either bloom the way you see in the pic or just fall of before even opening up.

I haven't done much in terms of care, other than add a new thin layer of soil about once a year. I have gotten ten years of wonderful roses from these two bushes without much care so far, but it looks like I need to do something for them now. There isn't any proper drainage. The soil is about one meter deep, with concrete surrounding it.


The climate here during the Summer months (April-September) ranges from 35 Celsius at night to 50 during the day. These months are spent heavily watering my plants daily (as we don't have any rain during this time either). Winter months are much cooler, 25-0 Celsius and November is when my rose bushes flower, followed by another flowering phase in March.

Thanks for the replies! I hope my answer could help you figure out what the problem might be.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 2:46PM
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I've never seen anything quite like that except that the rose looks very stressed and dry. Also, it looks like you don't mulch. I would put on at least two inches and use a moisture meter to make sure the roots aren't dry and I would check the soil for alkalinity which I suspect you have. In California the soil gets alkaline because the water is alkaline and you could have the same problem. In general, I suspect you have bad soil like I have which means that you have to add as much organics as possible. Only when your soil is really good and organically rich will your problems truly go away.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 3:25PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

The brown 'burn' edges on the rose petals might be a hint of 'salt' buildup in the soil, not necessarily NaCl buildup, but other related ions, possibly from the water purification process. Leachate from the cement might also be in that group.

Do you have enough water that you could really flush the soil?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 9:31AM
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The rose in the picture is spent and has dried severely like what happens when there is extreme heat. It appears also to be stunted also possibly indicating great heat. Here in SoCal I had some roses that fried sort of like this on 100 degree days when no matter how much they were watered it wasn't enough. Again, I attribute this to the poor soil which I haven't been able to amend nearly enough and the root systems that were not developed enough.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 1:12PM
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The rose is fried. I get fried and crispy here every year July through Aug. Sept they start to return back to nice looking roses, when it gets below 90. This happens to all of 35 of them including the climbers. The roses get plenty of water & fert and all are about 8 years old, but it doesn't seem to matter. Scorching hot is not good for the blooms, that's about it.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 5:39PM
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