The rewards of roses are not easily earned. These universally prized flowers behave temperamentally whenever they are not properly cared for, and sometimes even when they are carefully and appropriately managed.
Besides the devoted attention of gardeners, roses also attract insects, fungi, and viruses. Here are a few tips on treating three of the most common problems that roses face, particularly in the summer.
1. POWDERY MILDEW
Spread through the wind in dry weather, powdery mildew spores are activated by moisture, and the result is much like what the name suggests. Although powdery mildew rarely kills rose plants, the fungal disease quickly compromises their beauty.
Prevent an outbreak by planting your roses in areas with good air circulation and by keeping them well hydrated. If powdery mildew is already appearing on your foliage, prune the affected leaves and spray the rest with either an organic fungicide or a mixture of baking soda and water.
2. BOTRYTIS BLIGHT
If you notice new flowers that instead of opening, develop a brownish-gray growth, then your roses have fallen prey to Botrytis Blight. This fungus can affect the stem, leaves, or blooms. It comes about during especially wet and humid summers.
Immediately remove blighted flowers and leaves, sterilizing your pruners to prevent the problem from spreading. Treat your remaining healthy roses with a fungicide that includes cholorothalonil or neem oil as an ingredient.
While aphids feed off roses, they secrete a substance that causes blackening mold. Look for these tiny insects on new growth. To control an outbreak, drench your plants with water from the hose or use an insecticidal soap. If you find the aphids are returning again and again, try introducing ladybugs, aphids’ natural enemy.
Tips for preventing problems
Start by picking the variety of roses best suited for your area. Plant in a sunny area with good drainage. When watering, focus on hydrating the roots. Mulch thoroughly and fertilize often. Deadhead to keep your rose blooming throughout the season. Most important of all—enjoy!