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How to Care for Drooping Rose Bushes

bouton de rose rose image by Jean-Michel POUGET from

If your rose buds or leaves appear tired, turn down or droop, it may be a sign that they are not being watered enough, or it may be a more serious problem. Pests such as cane borers or diseases such as botrytis blight can cause rosebushes to droop when it affects them. To care for drooping rose bushes, you first need to isolate the cause of your rose bushes drooping. Once you know the cause of your rose bush droop, you can effectively treat it.

Watering Roses

Insert the probe of a water testing meter into the ground around the base of your rose bush to test the water content of the soil. If the soil is very dry, your rose bushes may be wilting from lack of water. If the soil is too wet, roses may be wilting from too much water. Roses should have approximately 2 inches of water weekly.

Attach a soaker hose to a timer at the nozzle attachment. Attach the timer to an exterior faucet, and adjust the timing sequence for watering your roses according to the timer’s instructions.

Place the soaker hose around the base of the rose plant. The soaker hose will water your plant weekly without over-watering or allowing standing water to build up around the roots of your plants.

Botrytis Blight

Examine the rose buds for signs of botrytis blight. Signs of blight include a grayish-black lesion below the flower head and brown, decaying buds. The entire plant may be covered in gray fungus.

Soak a cleaning cloth with a bleach solution and swipe them over the blades of a pair of gardening shears. Swipe the shears between each cut as you prune roses to prevent the spread of disease.

Prune away canes that are affected by botrytis blight to prevent the spread of blight spores.

Put the diseased canes in a plastic garbage bag to prevent the spread of blight spores. Discard the canes.

Raspberry Cane Borer

Examine the rose canes for signs of raspberry cane borers. Signs of cane borers include an entrance hole in the rose canes where larva have fed, and the presence of black, long-horned beetles with red-orange bodies.

Mix a solution of 2 tbsp. soap and 1 gallon water in a bucket. Pick off the beetles by hand and throw them into the bucket of water before they have a chance to lay eggs into the canes of your roses.

Prune rose canes approximately 6 inches below the entrance hole that the borer made.

Coat the pruned cane with grafting wax to prevent borers from entering the cane through the pruned surface.


Boring insects such as rose stem sawfly and rose stem girdler will also bore into the canes of roses and leave signs similar to the raspberry cane borer. Treat your roses for these insects in the same way that you did the raspberry cane borer.

Do not compost diseased rose canes. This can spread the disease to your compost and your soil.


Pull on gloves, long sleeves and long pants before examining your rose bushes. Rose canes have sharp thorns that can puncture your skin or cause scratches. Protective clothing can help prevent injury while you work with rosebushes.

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