Skip to Content

Yellow Leaves on Roses: What Should You Do?

Yellow Leaves on Roses: What Should You Do?

Do you see yellow leaves on roses? If so, don’t panic. It’s a problem, but not one that can’t be solved.

Below, we’ll cover the causes of yellow leaves, what to do when you see them, and how to get them back to green.

See Yellow Leaves on Roses? Don’t Panic

For anyone who loves keeping roses in their yard, proper care and maintenance are vital for a healthy plant. However, it can be disheartening when you notice yellow leaves on roses. There can be several reasons for this.

And if you don’t address it quickly, your plant won’t be as beautiful as it should be. Finding out the reason why your rose bush has yellow leaves will help you remedy the problem.

Some of the more common reasons why you will see yellow leaves on roses are: 

  1. The soil’s pH level is too high
  2. The soil doesn’t have enough iron 
  3. Inadequate water drainage, overwatering, or underwatering
  4. Fertilizing too often or not enough 
  5. Fungal disease
  6. Insect infestations 
  7. Stress from scorching temperatures
  8. Too much shade 
  9. Weedkiller

Below, we’ll cover each of these in detail, give you some things to consider, and answer a few frequently asked questions about yellow leaves.

Reasons You Have Yellow Leaves on Roses

For a piece on yellow leaves on roses, an image of a rose bush with yellow leaves being held by two fingers in a close-up


Now that we have seen the list, let’s dive into more detail about why your roses have yellow leaves. Thankfully, many of these causes are easily treatable, and you will have a healthy-looking rose bush in no time. 

1. The Soil’s pH Level is Too High

The pH content of the soil will help your roses absorb the essential nutrients they need for healthy growth.

Simply put, pH is the acidity or alkaline state of the ground and its ability for hydrogen ion activity. This activity corresponds with a pH level number from 1 to 14

Roses thrive best when the pH level is between 6 and 6.5. However, your roses will struggle to absorb enough iron, manganese, and phosphorus if they are too high. 

2. Soil Doesn’t Have Enough Iron 

In this case, the rose leaves will turn yellow while the veins within the leaves remain green. Iron deficiencies can also be due to pH levels.

You can add natural forms of iron to the soil or use manufactured sprays and fertilizers, providing beneficial iron supplements.

3. Inadequate Water Drainage, Overwatering, or Underwatering 

Roses will tell you if they are not getting enough water or too much with yellow leaves. If there is inadequate drainage for your plant, you will see the same effects as overwatering since the plant and roots will sit in excessive water for too long. 

You will see many yellow, dry leaves with parched and cracked soil when you have underwatered roses. If you notice yellow leaves but the soil is moist, you could be overwatering them or have drainage problems. 

4. Fertilizing Too Often or Not Enough 

Roses thrive well when they have a healthy environment. Unfortunately, many locations do not have enough nutrients in the soil naturally, so regular fertilizing is necessary.

Even with beneficial, high-quality fertilizers, you’ll find yellow leaves on roses if you add them too often or not enough. 

5. Fungal Disease 

One common fungal disease is rose rust, which causes yellow patches on the tops of the leaves. It spreads quickly through the air with wind from infected plants to healthy ones. 

6. Insect Infestations 

If your roses have an insect infestation, you may see the result in yellow leaves. This symptom is because mites will spin webs on the underside of the leaves, create nests, and destroy your plant by destroying the leaf cells. 

7. Stress From Extremely Hot Temperatures 

Roses are sensitive to heat stress, and the leaves will turn yellow and fall off. This situation can be more severe if you have dark mulch around your bushes’ base or near a dark home or structure.

The heat emanating from buildings close by can also cause stress on your roses, resulting in yellowing leaves that drop off.

8. Too Much Shade

Alternatively, having too much shade can also cause the leaves on your rose bush to turn yellow.

Sometimes, the leaves lower down on a rose bush will be the victims of less direct sunlight since they receive shade from the branches above.

If it is your entire bush and not just the lower leaves, you may have to examine the sunlight exposure in that area. 

9. Weedkiller 

Although weedkiller is meant to keep damaging weeds from taking over your soil and taking nutrients away from your rose bush, it can still cause yellowing leaves.

You may notice some yellow leaves on roses when the weedkiller is too close to your rose bush. 

How to Treat Yellow Leaves on Roses 

Seeing yellow leaves on roses can throw many people into a panic, thinking that their plant is dying.

Thankfully, your plant gives indications like this, so you can help treat a problem and have it thrive once again. 

Some simple steps you can take to treat your rose bush immediately and get it healthy once again are: 

  • Monitor the watering schedule. Use a moisture meter to get an idea of what you are facing in soil conditions. 
  • Do a physical check for any insect infestations or signs of fungal disease. If you see any indications of pests or disease, take action immediately with the proper treatment to nurse your plant back to health quickly before it’s too late. 
  • Monitor your fertilization schedule, and be sure to follow the instructions from the manufacturer to avoid applying too much or too little. 
  • Check your soil’s pH levels and see if you need to make adjustments for a better environment for your roses. 
  • Examine how much direct sunlight your roses get each day. If they don’t get enough, you may have to cut down other vegetation that is blocking sunlight or relocate them to thrive better. 
  • If you have dark-colored mulch or rocks around your rose bush, you may have a heat stress problem and should remove them. Replace dark mulch or rocks with light-colored alternatives to help deflect some of the area’s heat during the day.
  • Don’t use weedkillers too close to your rosebushes. If you must spray nearby, ensure that it does not directly come into contact with the leaves.

Things to Consider 

Having yellow leaves on roses can mean one or more things are happening to your plant behind the scenes.

You mustn’t wait until you first notice a change in leaf color, as this is your rose’s way of telling you something is wrong. The longer you wait to take action, the worse the damage can be to your plant.

Yellow leaves do not always mean that your roses will die. There are many ways to turn it around and bring your bush back to a thriving state. You don’t need to panic that you will lose your roses, but you should act swiftly for the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Image of a woman watering a rose bush to help treat yellow leaves on roses

New Africa/Shutterstock

Should you remove yellow leaves on roses?

Depending on why your roses have yellow leaves, removing them can help get your plant back to a healthy state.

Typically, yellow leaves will not turn green again, so it's best to remove them with proper pruning so your plant can direct nutrients to healthy areas rather than dead or dying sections.

Do yellow leaves on roses mean my plant is dying?

Not necessarily. Sometimes when roses have yellow leaves, it will be due to a nutrient deficiency or watering problem. However, you can quickly reverse both of these situations and bring your roses back to life.

When to Call a Pro

If you are unsure what could be causing the leaves on your rose bush to turn yellow, many qualified arborists can perform a wellness check on your vegetation.

They can give you a better idea of the causes and treatment plans to help save your rose bush before it’s too late.

Still Have Yellow Leaves on Roses?

Image of a healthy rose bush (sans yellow leaves) growing nice and tall and hearty next to a house


Having yellow leaves on roses can be a scary situation if you have never dealt with it before. Unfortunately, many conditions can cause your rose bush to start showing yellow leaves, but many of these problems are easy to fix.

Having roses can be a rewarding pastime if they are vibrant and healthy. With the proper care and maintenance and knowing what to do if you find yellow leaves on roses, they will remain strong and thrive for years.