Common Rose Problems

Roses are generally very easy to grow in the UK. They need regular water and food throughout the growing season (March – August) and watering throughout the winter months if containerised. Whilst there are a few common rose problems that will affect roses, none are too serious, and with some basic treatment your roses will be back to their best in no time.

Below is some information on the most common problems and a little guidance on treatment.

Blackspot common rose problem

Black spot

Rose black spot is a common rose problem and is a fungal disease affecting the foliage. Dark purple-black spots appear on the leaves and stems. Spores overwinter to reinfect the leaves the following year. Tackle it by destroying fallen leaves, mulching in late winter and growing disease-resistant varieties.

Mildew common rose problem


Rose powdery mildew is a fungal disease, with the leaves and buds covered in a white powder, often disfiguring the leaves. Tackle by pruning out and binning infected leaves, keeping the soil around the roots moist at all times or by growing a mildew-resistant variety.

Rust common rose problem


Rose rust causes leads to a distinctive mottling of the leaves on the upper surface of the leaves, with orange coloured spots that turn black as they mature, on the undersides. Prune out infected stems and destroy them, along with any infected leaves. Grow roses with lots of room around them so the air can circulate, and prune out any congested growth.

nutrient defeciency

Nutrient deficiency

Nutrient deficiencies can present a number of symptoms, including chlorosis and yellow, brown or purple discolouring of the leaves. Avoid this in the long-term by mulching each year with good quality compost. In the short-term, make sure they have plenty of the right feed.



Aphids love roses, in particular the younger, softer growth of new leaves and flower buds. The sticky honeydew they excrete can also attract ants and lead to sooty mould. Blast them off with a hose, or squash them as you see them. You can also buy and release ladybirds onto infested roses to eat the aphids. Grow plants for natural aphid enemies like hoverflies – they’re particularly fond of umbellifers like fennel, cow parsley and sweet alyssum.