How to Revive My Dying Potted Rose

Potted roses can often die because they are too small or have no drainage holes. The roses will wilt and die faster if the pots are too small. The soil becomes too moist in pots that lack drainage holes, and the rose will die from root rot.

Potted roses need full sun and frequent watering (one soak per week), and should be planted outdoors in an area that has good airflow to avoid fungal disease.

Indoor potted roses can die from lack of sunlight or fluctuating indoor temperatures. This causes the rose’s leaves to fall as a sign that it is stressed.

If your rose is not growing, flowering, or dropping leaves, there are chances it can be revived to its health and grow again the next year.

Continue reading to learn more about why your potted roses are dying and how you can fix it

Roses in Pots

Potted rose Dying (The Pot is Too Small)

Potted roses can die because their pots are too small. The pot should not be too small to hold the rose. …

  • A small pot can mean that roots can become pot bound quickly rather than establish themselves and grow into soil to get nutrients and moisture. An example of stress is a rose with roots that are bound to a pot. This can lead to yellowing, leaf drop, and reduced flower display.
  • Smaller pots have less soil capacity and, therefore, less moisture. Roses need the soil to remain moist at their roots throughout Spring and Summer. The potting soil or multipurpose compost should hold and absorb moisture. However, it should also retain water so that roots can get the moisture they need. The roots may become dry and can run out of water if the pot is too small.
  • Less soil also means less nutrients available to the roses roots which can cause poor growth and fewer flowers.
  • Smaller pots also heat up much quicker. Roses thrive in full sunlight, which can lead to more soil evaporation in smaller pots than in larger ones.

How to Revive a Rose in Small Pots or Containers

Transplanting a potted rose that is looking dreadful to another pot can revive it.

If your pot is less then 10 inches across then it is likely too small for growing roses.

Ideally your pot should be at least 12 inches across with a similar proportional depth for your rose to thrive.

  • Replant your rose in a larger pot that has good drainage in the base.
  • Discard the potting soil from the small pot and use good quality multi purpose compost when re-potting your rose. Because it is porous, compost is ideal for rose growth. It allows for root respiration and allows for excess water to escape. This prevents root Rot .
  • New compost has more nutrients as the rose may have used up all of the nutrients in its smaller pot, which could have led to it dying.
  • Water the rose thoroughly when replanted to help it establish and mitigate transplant shock. It is a good idea for roses to be fertilized after they have been planted. Miracle-gro granulated fertilizer is what I use to feed my roses. It’s specifically made for roses and has the right nutrients in the best concentration to allow them to thrive.

After you have transplanted the dying rose to a larger container, water it twice per week for the first three months to establish it. Then reduce watering to once per week after that time.

These steps will give your potted rose the best chance for recovery.

(If your rose is not flowering read my article for the solution, why is my rose not flowering? )


Potted rose dying after Winter

If a potted rose dies after Winter, it is most likely because of one reason:

  1. Rose roots are more sensitive to the cold then any part of the plant. Roses planted in gardens bordered by soil act as an insulation against frost and protect the roots. Pots are more susceptible to frost damage, which could cause the rose to be killed or damaged.
  2. Root rot is more prevalent in Winter due to the lower rates of evaporation. A damp, cold soil can promote fungal disease that can lead to a dying rose.

If the pot or container is on the small side (less then 10 inches across) then they pot may not have the capacity for enough soil to act as insulation for the roses roots.

Frost injury may not completely kill roses so it is possible to revive them.

Waiting until Spring is the best way to check if any new growth is emerging from your rose is the best option.

If there are definite signs of life with emerging green leaves and the temperature is more consistently above freezing, then transplant the rose to a larger pot of at least 12 inches across to allow the rose more space for roots to develop.

Use a pair or pruners to remove any damaged or dead branches. This will help you get healthy growth. This will stimulate new growth and increase airflow.

The rose should recover in the spring and summer. However, if the rose does not show significant growth then it is too damaged to revive.

Root rot is best prevented than treated. It is difficult to save a plant that is severely infected. To prevent root rot during Winter:

  • Plant roses with a well-draining potting mixture.
  • Ensure the pot or container has several drainage holes in the base for excess water to escape.
  • Scale back any watering during Winter. The rose will likely get all the moisture it needs from rain in Winter. You should water your roses once every four weeks if you live in dry winter conditions. This will ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out completely.

Root rot can be described as yellowing or browning of the leaves, poor growth, and roots that look dark brown.

If your roses are not growing after Winter because of root rot, it is best to either burn the rose or to dispose of the potting dirt. This can harbor the fungal pathogen responsible for root-rot.

To prevent the spread of fungal disease, wash the container or pot thoroughly before you plant any other plants.

Potted rose dying due to underwatering

Potted roses need to be watered approximately once a week, with enough water to make a trickle from the bottom of the pot.

This will ensure that the potted rose is properly hydrated, and encourage roots to grow.

If you only water your rose lightly, the top few inches are not moist. This will cause the roots to draw on the water and result in wilting leaves.

Consistently watering the roses lightly can encourage roots to grow close to the surface for moisture, making them more susceptible to drought.

However, it is important to note that watering only once a week in hot or dry climates and during heat waves may not be sufficient.

(Read my article, why is my rose wilting? )

Roses prefer soil that is constantly moist at their roots. However, they can suffer from drought if the container dries too quickly.

(For the full guide on how often to water roses in different conditions read my article on how to water roses properly).

The best way to avoid your potted roses from succumbing to the effects of drought are to use

  • Plant your rose in large pots. Larger pots can hold more water and have more soil.
  • Ensure that you plant the rose in good quality compost as this helps to hold moisture and also has the structure to allow excess water to drain out of the base of the pot which creates the optimal moisture balance for growing roses.
  • Water your potted rose as frequently as required to ensure that the soil is consistently moist. The general advice is to water your roses once a week, but increase the frequency if there’s a heat wave or drought. Pots can dry faster than garden borders and pots will.

It is a good idea to grow roses in clay, terracotta or ceramic pots instead of a metal or plastic container. Metal and plastic conduct heat more effectively which causes the soil to dry out much faster.

Roses that are watered often can recover from drought. The leaves should also be able to perk up. The display of flowers should be positively affected by watering.

(Read my article, choosing the best pots for roses).

Rose Dying In Pots Because of Poor Drainage

Root rot is another cause of roses dying that is only specific to pots.

  • Pots or containers that do not have drainage holes at the base. The use of trays beneath pots to prevent water from dripping away from the roots.

Roses require soil that holds moisture yet allows excess water to drain away to prevent the soil becoming saturated. Root rot is a fungal disease that can affect potted roses in boggy soil.

It is important to plant roses in a pot with drainage holes so excess water drains out of the base.

Do not place any drip tray or other items underneath the pot. This will cause root rot and make the rose die.

If your rose is showing signs of age, such as a stunted growth or a yellowing appearance in Spring or Summer, it could be a sign that root rot . has occurred.

If the rose’s roots are infected, it may be difficult to revive it. It is best to throw away the rose and the potting dirt (which can still harbor the infection), wash and clean the pot, and then buy a new rose.

However, if you plant the rose in a new container with drainage holes at the base and replant it with a different potting soil, cut back any dead branches, there’s a chance the rose will recover.

Lacking Sun (Potted Roses Need 6 Hours of Direct Lighting )

All roses require full sun (at least 6 hours) to thrive whether they are planted in full sun or in garden boarders.

The amount of sunshine is directly related to the number of roses a rose produces so if you notice that your rose isn’t flowering well, move it to a sunny spot as soon as possible.

A lack of sunlight can also lead to poor overall growth. Your potted rose’s leaves may turn brown or yellow, and then begin to fall.

There are no rose varieties that grow well in shade. If you want your rose pot to thrive, locate it in a sunny spot. Within a few weeks, the rose should show signs of revival with new growth.

Potted Rose and Black spot

There are a host of fungal diseases that affect roses but by far the most common is black spot.

Black spot is a type fungus that causes yellowing of rose leaves. It can cause black spots or brown spots.

Black spot causes leaf drop reduces flowering and results in the rose generally looks unwell.

Black spot can affect all roses, but potted roses are more susceptible to it if they are too close together or have poor airflow.

If you water roses overhead onto the leaves, the risk of developing black spots is higher. Make sure to water potted roses at the base.

While an increase in airflow around leaves can help reduce black spot and other fungal diseases, it is still difficult to manage as certain weather patterns can promote fungal disease.

Revive an Artificial Potted Rose with a Black Spot

Although black spot is a very common disease in rose growers, it can be treated and should not kill roses.

Collect any rose leaves that are affected by black spot. Burn or throw them away.

The spores from the black spot are a fungus that spreads faster in windy or wet conditions. It is best to avoid caring for a diseased rose under damp conditions, as the spores can be easily spread by a pair gloves or pruners.

Always sterilize pruners following use of alcohol gel or disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease to other plants.

Black spot can be treated with a fungicide spray that is made for roses. It can be purchased at a garden center or online.

It may take several treatments over the course of several weeks to get rid of the fungus. However, the rose should be able to resuscitate for future years. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Indoor Potted Rose Dying

Indoor potted roses can be very difficult to keep alive because they are plants that thrive outdoors. They are more likely to die indoors.

There could be many reasons your indoor roses are dying.

  • Not enough light. All rose species need at least six hours of direct sunlight to thrive and flower. They will eventually stop flowering, drop their leaves and eventually die if they are left in the shade. As roses require direct sunlight, bright indirect light is not an acceptable compromise.
  • Air circulation. Poor circulation can lead to a variety of fungal diseases, with black spot the most prevalent. Even when potted roses are outdoors they benefit from being located 3 feet away from other potted plants to encourage air to circulate around the leaves to avoid fungal disease.
  • Fluctuating temperatures. Roses are specially adapted to weather changes, temperature variations, sun exposure and other seasonal fluctuations. All year. The temperature indoors can change dramatically in an unnatural manner. Roses are used to cooler evenings, but indoors at night temperatures can rise significantly, especially if they live near heat sources. This extreme temperature contrast can lead to leaf drop, and often leads to a dying indoor rose.

These problems are most obvious when potted roses are grown indoors. However, other factors can also cause a dying rose like over-watering or under-watering. Root rot could also be caused by the use of a tray underneath the pot to prevent excess water from escaping.

How To Revive Indoor Potted Roses

It is impossible to revive indoor roses if you don’t move them or plant them outside. However, roses rarely thrive indoors and nearly always die.

You can either place them in the ground with organic soil or replant them in a larger pot to increase their chances of thriving.

Indoor potted roses will usually recover when they are put outside in full sunlight (more than 6 hours direct sunlight). They should be watered once a week and kept hydrated. If potted roses are in hot and dry climates, water them 2 to 3 times per week.

A larger pot (at least 12 inches across) provides the rose with enough soil and space for the roots to establish and prevents the soil drying out too quickly.

Remove any drooping rose heads that aren’t opening or turning brown to allow the rose to redirect its energy towards new, healthy growth.

The potted rose should recover in a week after being placed outside.

(Read my article, why is my rose drooping? )

Key Takeaways

  • A dying rose stems from a pot that is too small. The soil can dry out too fast, which causes the leaves to wilt. To revive potted roses that are dying, you should plant them in larger pots with a higher soil capacity and more nutrients.
  • Ensure that the pot has several drainage holes in the base and remove any trays underneath the pot as this stops excess water escaping can cause root rot which is the cause for the dying rose.
  • Potted roses require full sun and watering at least once per week.
  • Place indoor potted roses outdoors as they require direct sun and air flow. Indoor roses in pots can die from fluctuating indoor temperatures or less direct sunlight.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)