Why is My Rose Bush Drooping? (How to Save it)

Why is My Rose Bush Drooping? (How to Save it)

Your rose’s drooping stem is probably an indication of drought stress caused by underwatering, high temperatures, or sandy soils that drain too quickly because roses need continuously moist soil. A drooping rose may also indicate overfertilization or root rot brought on by soggy soil.

Causes:Reason for Rose Bush’s Sagging:
The soil is too dryThe rose may droop or wilt due to drought stress for a variety of reasons, including high temperatures, sandy soils, underwatering, and neighboring plant roots competing for water.
Fertilizer that is applied too frequently or in excess:There are fewer blooms and drooping stems and leaves due to excessive foliage growth brought on by too much fertilizer.
drooping rose plantIn small pots, roses droop or wilt, especially if the pots are made of plastic or metal because those materials dry out more faster.
Following planting, a rose is droopingRoses may droop as a result of transplant shock or because their roots aren’t well-established and aren’t soaking up enough water in the new soil.
Overwatering, poor soil drainage, and pots without base drainage holesRoses need soil that holds onto moisture but is porous enough to let extra water drain away from the roots. When the roots receive too much water, root rot can develop, giving your rose a droopy appearance and yellow leaves.

Read on to find out why your rose is drooping and how to fix the problems to keep your withering or drooping rose bush alive.

Most Common Reasons for Roses Drooping

Because they need the soil to be continually moist but not saturated to prevent drooping or wilting, roses most usually droop due to dry soil. However, there are a number of potential causes for the absence of soil moisture.

  1. Summer’s peak heat and intense sunlight can enhance soil evaporation and leaf transpiration, giving the rose the appearance of being wilted or drooping.
  2. Overly much sand or stone can accelerate soil drainage and cause the soil to become too dry.
  3. Your rose’s leaves and petals may droop or wilt as a result of competing root systems from surrounding trees or plants for water and nutrients.

In order to grow and flower at their best, roses are typically thought to prefer full sun (6 hours or more of direct sunlight per day). However, in cooler northern climates, where overcast days are more common, temperatures are lower, and the sun is less intense, roses can thrive in full sun without wilting or drooping.

But in warm climates, roses thrive in morning light followed by afternoon shade, which shields plants from the warmest portion of the day and prevents drought stress and the resulting drooping appearance.

How to Revive a Drooping Rose

With lots of compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure mixed into the soil when planting and immediately around the rose to increase the soil’s ability to retain moisture and improve the nutrient profile, good soil preparation is essential to providing the best conditions for roses to stay healthy and hydrated.

But roses that are already in the ground can also be saved from drooping by giving the soil around them a really generous and thorough soak with a hose for about 10 minutes, followed by the application of a 2 or 3 inch layer of mulch.

Compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure are the finest things to use as mulch around roses since they each have a remarkable capacity to hold moisture and help to maintain the soil’s hydration after you have given the rose its thorough bath.

Mulch also adds nutrients to the soil and works to make it better so that it retains moisture while still having a porous, well-draining structure that is ideal for growing roses.

The leaves, stems, and flowers of the rose should revivify in a few days with thorough watering and the use of mulch that retains moisture around it.

The soil profile around your rose improves if you apply mulch twice a year (once at the beginning of spring to conserve moisture and once at the end of Fall to insulate the roots before Winter). This is because the soil is naturally sandy and can hold enough moisture to reduce competition from nearby trees.

The leaves of the rose shouldn’t droop or wilt if there is steady hydration at the roots, but keep in mind that you may need to water your roses more frequently during the hottest seasons to prevent drooping.

Always give your plants a good soak of water because this helps the roots develop and extend down to a depth of up to 18 inches, which allows them to access moisture stores well below the surface and boosts the roses’ tolerance to drought.

New Growth of Roses Wilting or Drooping (Too Much Fertilizer)

A very typical issue for rose growers is that too much nitrogen fertilizer causes the new growth of their roses or maybe the rose bush overall to droop.

There are a few important differences between roses that are withering from dry soil and those that are drooping from too much fertilizer:

  • If the rose has a lot of new foliage growth with green leaves (which may normally look pretty healthy), but the leaves and stems are drooping rather than looking wilted with shriveled leaves.
  • The flower heads may appear to be growing sideways or drooping under their own weight.
  • The rose has a lot of green foliage, but none of the flower buds are opening, or it has many fewer blooms than usual.

Since they consume a lot of food, roses benefit from fertilizer applications. However, if you apply the fertilizer too frequently, in an excessive concentration, or if lawn fertilizer becomes diluted and washes off in the rain onto the rose borders, the rose will droop from an excess of nitrogen and produce fewer flowers.

All roses (and all plants) require nitrogen to create lush, appealing foliage, but too much nitrogen can cause the leaves and stems to become weak and sappy, which makes the rose droop and increases the danger of fungal diseases like black spot as well as insect infestation in the form of aphids.

There isn’t much you can do to stop a rose from drooping after it has received too much nitrogen fertilizer, aside from diligently checking to see if any aphids are attempting to attack the rose and treating it if necessary, and to simply reduce any use of fertilizer until the following year when the rose can be properly pruned to encourage newer, healthier growth.

I always advise using a fertilizer made especially for roses, such as miracle-gro rose feed, to avoid the issue.

With this, you can feed your rose and encourage blooming without running the danger of using too much and making the rose droop. It has all the nutrients at the proper concentrations.

Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when applying fertilizer, and I must stress that there is no benefit to using more fertilizer than is recommended as this does not produce better results and instead makes roses droop.

(Read my article to learn why my roses aren’t in bloom.)

Potted Rose Wilting or Drooping

The most frequent cause of potted roses wilting or drooping is that the rose was planted in an inadequately sized pot.

Smaller pots and containers have less room for soil, which means less room for the roses’ roots to draw up moisture, which makes the leaves look wilted and droopy.

Roses thrive in full sun, therefore when they are grown in a small pot in those environment, the soil quickly heats up and loses moisture before the roots have a chance to absorb it.

Additionally, some pots, such as those made of plastic or metal, absorb heat more quickly than clay, ceramic, or terracotta pots, which speeds up the drying of the soil.

(Read my article on selecting the best rose pots.)

How to Revive Drooping Potted Roses

  • To guarantee that the pot has enough capacity for soil and can keep enough moisture for the rose to prevent it from wilting, roses should be planted in containers that are at least 12 inches across.
  • Plant roses in clay, terracotta, or ceramic containers since these materials do not heat up as quickly as other pot materials, keeping the roots cool and reducing stress from high temperatures.
  • Give your rose a good soak, allowing water to flow out of the drainage holes in the pot’s base. This guarantees that the soil is evenly saturated and that the water has reached the roots. Too little watering just moistens the soil’s surface and does not promote the growth of roots, making your rose even more susceptible to drought.
  • To protect the rose from extra sun and heat while it is recovering from drooping or wilting, relocate the pot to an area with morning sun followed by afternoon shade. This will prevent you from exacerbating the drought stress.
  • If necessary, water potted roses to keep the soil continuously moist. How frequently to water a potted rose depends on a number of variables, including the season and climate. Feel the soil with your fingertips to determine whether your rose needs watering. If the soil seems like it is starting to dry up, give it a really good soak. If you can detect good levels of moisture, your rose will be fine for a few days. Normally, watering only needs to be done once a week, but during the hottest months of the year, you might need to water more frequently.
  • Always check to see if the base of your container has drainage holes. While roses typically droop due to dry soil, they can also droop from completely wet soil, therefore it’s crucial to have drainage holes at the bottom of pots to enable excess water drain and avoid root rot. Read my post on how to revive a dying potted rose for the remedy if your rose is drooping and the soil is wet.

Why is my Rose Drooping After Planting?

Due to a discrepancy in the growing conditions between the garden center or nursery where they were originally cultivated and the conditions of your garden, roses frequently wilt or droop in appearance after planting because of transplant shock.

In greenhouse environments, where temperature, sunlight, air flow, irrigation, and soil conditions are all carefully regulated, roses are frequently cultivated. The roses may momentarily droop as a symptom of stress as they get used to their new surroundings because of the contrast between these circumstances and your yard.

The rose is more prone to drought during this time as it frequently loses more water through the leaves than it can suck up at the roots. Rose roots can also require some time to grow in the soil before they can properly absorb water and nutrients.

How to Revive a Drooping Rose After Planting

  • Avoid overexposing newly planted roses to the sun.
  • Increase your frequency of thorough watering.
  • To keep moisture at the rose’s roots, mulch around it with compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure.

The optimum time to plant roses is typically in the spring or fall, when they have time to establish themselves before the hot, dry summers arrive.

Therefore, if the sun is extremely strong and the temperature is high without any rain, you might need to preserve your rose by shading it.

Even though sunshine is good for promoting blossoms, at this point in the rose’s planting, it is likely to make the soil and leaves dry out even more, which will make the plant wilt.

In order to shield your newly planted rose from the sun and keep it cooler during the hottest part of the day, if at all feasible, give temporary shade in the afternoons with a wind break.

To reduce the possibility of drought stress while the roots are acclimating to the soil, give the rose a thorough soak to make sure the soil is evenly hydrated.

Around the base of your rose, spread a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch (made of compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure) to help retain moisture and stop the sun from drying out the soil too rapidly.

Water as often as necessary to maintain moisture in the soil surrounding your newly planted rose, but watch out that it doesn’t get too wet (a problem with clay soils) because that can lead to issues like root rot.

After about 3 weeks, your rose should start to establish itself and shed its droopy aspect. However, throughout the first year, keep giving it a thorough soak to encourage the roots to grow and adapt to the new soil, so they can absorb moisture and become more resilient to drought stress.

Slow Draining Soils and Overwatering can Cause Drooping Roses

Slow Draining Soils and Overwatering can Cause Drooping Roses

If the soil around your rose is too wet, the roots won’t be able to respire and carry nutrients and moisture throughout the plant, which will result in the rose drooping and its leaves turning yellow as a symptom of stress.

Before planting your rose, amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or leaf mold. These materials maintain the ideal soil structure and moisture balance for roses to thrive rather than droop or wilt. Roots need to grow in soil that is porous and aerated, which is readily achieved.

However, if the rose is in thick clay (or pots without drainage holes in the base), excess water does not efficiently drain away from the roots and the soil gets waterlogged, effectively suffocating the roots because they require oxygen in the porous soil to breathe.

The rose may experience root rot if it is left in wet soil for an extended period of time (for more information on roses with root rot, see my post Why are my rose leaves going yellow?).

Reduce watering immediately and make an effort to let the soil drain if your rose is drooping and you notice the soil is draining slowly.

Clay soils are suitable for growing roses, but they must first be considerably altered to ensure that the soil drains well enough to prevent root rot.

To get the ideal balance of a soil profile that retains moisture but is also well draining to prevent drooping and root rot, dig a hole that is 18 inches wide and the same proportional depth before filling it with tons of compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure.

Key Takeaways:

  • The cause of a drooping rose is frequently because the soil is excessively dry due to underwatering, sandy soils, high temperatures, or intense sunlight. Roses need constantly wet soil to prevent drooping. In the summer, roses require frequent watering to prevent wilting or drooping.
  • When fertilizer is applied too frequently or in excess concentration, the rose produces an abundance of foliage but few blossoms, which causes the leaves and stems to droop.
  • Because the container is too tiny and warms up rapidly in the sun, which dries out the soil and makes the roses’ leaves and stems wilt, roses in pots frequently droop or wilt. In order to keep their appearance from sagging, potted roses need constant watering in the heat.
  • Transplant shock is to blame for any drooping that occurs after planting your rose. After planting, the rose is susceptible to drought stress since it may take some time for the roots to adapt to the new soil conditions. This causes the rose to droop.
  • When there is too much moisture around the roots of the rose, it droops and its leaves become yellow. The rose will droop and turn yellow in wet soil because it hinders roots from breathing, restricts oxygen in the soil, and interferes with their ability to absorb moisture and nutrients.