Rose Bush With No Roses

Rottigrl added on September 6, 2017 | Answered

Hi, I have a large rose bush that grows constantly but no roses show up. I've also noticed about 30% of the leaves have lots of brown spots, get yellow and brittle and fall off. Also, it looks strange in that its growing very tell but there are not leaves on the bottom of the stalks. I don't know how else to describe it. I can provide pics if you want. When we purchased this little house, I had a very hard job of cleaning up every bush, flowers, trees from tons of weeds and horrid invasive vines that took over and strangled everything. But the rose bush was mostly covered in weeds and a few vines. I pulled up and out all the weeds and vines but now the area where the rose bushes are look bald. I was thinking of maybe buying more rose bushes and planting them all around the bald areas and then just adding a lot of miracle grow dirt to the entire area to see if that helps the bush produce roses. Because I was told by the former owner that yes it is a rose bush but she was very old and sick and had neglected her gardens for about 4 years. She then passed away and we purchased the house. She was an amazing and kind hearted lady, she filled this place with beautiful flowers and trees, we moved here in late March and I still see flowers and trees blooming. I just want to make sure I take good care of all this beauty that she worked so hard over the years to make. She just couldn't keep it up in the end and had no help, so of course weeds and invasive vines took over, They even grew up, and over, and through the fence, and literally killed my neighbors apple tree. It took me months to cut them all, and, pull them up, and pull them off the trees from around bushes and plants. They were killing everything here, but since I got rid of them I've noticed everything thriving, growing and coming back to life. Except for a few places like this rose bush. I have other questions about a few of the trees and why are all the leaves filled with brown spots and dying, no flowers growing but for now I really hope someone can help me with this rose bush problem. I love gardening and am willing to put in the time and care as I work from home so I'm here a lot. I'm just very inexperienced when it comes to gardening but I'm very eager to learn. I would really appreciate some help. I have so many questions. Thank you, Elizabeth

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Answered on September 8, 2017

Take the time this winter to read up on the different rose types and their care. The American (and British) Rose Society has a good website. Roses need 4 things to thrive: full sun, annual pruning, weekly deep watering and fertilizer. Any rose not getting at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily should be moved or removed. It just won't do well and this happens as our yards age and other plants grow tall. Roses bloom much better on young wood. Annual pruning removes the aging wood and keeps the rose vigorous. Close observation will tell you whether your roses bloom on new wood or canes (branches) from the previous year's growth. How you prune will depend on this but to get you started, early next spring around when leaf buds are swelling on your roses (often around the time forsythia blooms) prune all old, thick wood to the ground and leave 5 canes at 12-24 inches for your shrub roses. The website I mentioned will guide you. Pruning is the scary part for first-timers. For years I didn't remove as much as the "how-to" pictures showed but I now realize that roses are fast growers and rebound quickly from pruning. Fertilize according to the instructions for roses on your product's label. If your rose blooms on first year wood, which many modern roses do, then you'll have blooms next June. If there are no blooms then your roses will bloom the following year. This fall, remove all rose debris and mulch from the ground and do not compost it in your compost pile. Black spot is a common problem but it is more cosmetic than a serious threat to the plant. Being in full sun and pruned to allow good air circulation will lessen the risk of black spot. There are spray products at garden centers but most rose gardeners understand a bit of black spot is OK. Remove infected leaves. I'm sure your plants are happy just to have the vines removed!

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