Why Are My Roses Not Blooming?

Last Updated on November 23, 2022 by Stephanie

The reason that roses arent blooming are usually due to excessive nitrogen fertilizer. The excess nitrogen encourages growth of the foliage but at the expense of flowering, resulting in a unruly growth that does not produce flowers. Insufficient light, pests as well as pruning during the incorrect time of the year can cause rose bushes to not to flower.

I have listed every reason for roses, showing less flowers or not blooming even once in order of the most likely cause.

The most common reason for roses not blooming

  1. Applying too much fertilizer or applying it too often.
  2. Poor soil for nutrients.
  3. Pests like aphids remove sap to nourish the flower buds.
  4. The rose is not being pruned every year (rose has become woody after a only a few flowers).
  5. Too too much shade (roses bloom at their peak in full sun for at minimum six hours).
  6. Pruning roses in the wrong season (some varieties bloom only on the last years growth, therefore pruning them in spring can stop the flowering of the rose) .

Continue reading to find out the reason your rose isnt blooming, and the best way to implement the corrective measures to ensure that your rose will bloom next spring…

1. Overly Many nitrogen (Scale Back the Fertilizer)

The most frequent reason that roses arent blooming correctly or to their fullest potential is because of excessive nitrogen due to the intensity or frequent application of fertilizers..

Every plant requires Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) to flourish However, an excessive amount of nitrogen in the soil may encourage growth of foliage but at the expense of flowers.

The higher amount of nitrogen can cause the branches, stems as well as the leaves on the roses turn dry and sappy in an indication of stress. (Yellow leaves can also be an indication of excessive nitrogen).

The new growth that is excessively high in the air is more prone to insects, diseases , and frost damage. This is why it is crucial to apply the right amount of fertilizer for rosebushes.

Personally, I would recommend making use of a specific product designed specifically for roses that contains the right amount of nutrients needed for roses to flourish and bloom. It eliminates the guesswork and risks out of fertilizing using a generic product.

If your rose is thriving with lots of leaves but no flowers because of over fertilization, then it is essential to reduce the amount of fertilizer. Also, trim off any growth that is drooping especially when the leaves are turning yellow.

The roses that have been established are generally robust, so there is a good possibility of the rose bush returning the next season and blooming when you alter the amount of fertilizer that you apply for the flower to an suitable level, following the manufacturers instructions.

red roses growing

2. Nutrient Poor Soil

Roses that are planted in poor nutrient, sandy soils are also unable to bloom because of a deficiency in nutrients. Roses are heavy feeders therefore it is crucial to balance the nutrients in the right balance.

The sandy and hard soils dont hold the nutrients or moisture that could limit the amount of nutrients the roots to take in. This can result in a sloppy looking rose that has poor growth and a few, if any flowers in summer.

How to solve the issue…

The roses can bloom and grow in soils that are stony or sandy provided there is proper soil preparation prior to the planting.

A good soil preparation for roses include:

  • Enhancing the area of planting by adding lots of organic matter prior to planting. Leaf mould, compost, and well-rotted manure are great for retaining moisture and providing nutrients to the soil.
  • Spreading a 1-inch blanket of mulch over the roses to retain moisture, mimic the beneficial ecosystem of soil and add fertilizers to soil, and enhance the soils structure to be suitable for roses.

If your rose has been established and planted in sandy or stony soil , and its not feasible to move the rose, you could attempt to lift the rose out of the ground using an fork, or do some cautious digging, and then take out some of the stony or sandy soil in order to amend it with compost.

Apply mulch regularly and make sure to be vigilant about the application of fertilizers to combat the deficiency of nutrients in soil.

Apply mulch towards the beginning of spring to in helping conserve water throughout Summer and towards the end of the Fall season, to protect your roots against freezing temperatures during the winter months.

Mulch applications over time can have a significant impact on soils nutrients and can aid in improving the soils structure. and create the ideal conditions for roses to grow healthy and show a stunning flower.

The added nutrients and the increased water in the soil, for mulching will keep the rose in good condition to show off blooms in the coming spring.

3. Pests Attacking the Rose Buds (Aphids)

Another reason that roses are not blooming is due to insects that attack the rose buds when they develop.

The most frequent insect pest that can ruin the blooms of roses is the Aphid.

The tiny green insects feed on sap of roses . They are attracted by blossoming buds of roses, which is the reason they pose a major issue.

The aphids can cause damage to the flowers and leaves that could alter their growth and result in a poor appearance of the flowers.

The majority of gardens have some degree of aphids, however their number and risk of damage is typically managed by predatory insects like lady bugs.

Aphids can be particularly problematic for roses with an excessive amount of nitrogen fertilizer because it boosts levels of sap, and softens the plants tissue to make the sap more readily accessible to Aphids.

Save the Rose Blooms from Aphids

The best way to protect your rosebuds from being swarmed by an aphid infestation is through the careful surveillance.

If you notice aphids swarming on your rose buds in the spring or summer then you should tackle the issue before they cause significant harm to your roses flowers.

How do you deal with an outbreak of aphids on rosebuds:

  • Remove the aphids from the rose buds using your hands or by gently but vigorous shaking! When theyre in the ground, they become easily to fall prey to predatory insects and birds.
  • You can blast away the aphids using a hose pipe as that the pressure isnt too powerful that it could harm the rose.
  • Spray the roses, focusing on the buds using an organic insecticide soap.
  • Create a healthy ecosystem in your garden by creating bug hotels rather than spraying chemical pesticides that kills beneficial insects which feed on Aphids (such like ladybugs) that naturally manage the population of aphids.

You can tell in the picture, my rose was swarming with a lot of aphids, however I was able to minimize the damage by examining my rose during the spring and then removing any aphids I could by hand.

This is an extremely effective method to deal with the issue as the result was that my Rosa Burgundy Ice was able to show a stunning bloom this year.

4. Lack of Consistent Pruning

Pruning your rose every year is an essential aspect of maintaining your rose and can help to keep the roses from getting too hard and with less blooms.

Pruning your roses once a year encourages the growth of new branches and stems that can provide more flowers as the old wood becomes less effective in flower display.

Alongside annual pruning Deadheading on a regular basis is essential to encourage rose blooms, as getting rid of faded flowers encourages the rose to create more flowers, rather than directing its energy towards producing the seeds (rose hips).

If they are not taken care of, roses may become sloppy and show fewer flowers. The resultant woody rose is more prone to damage during the Winter because the wood could become brittle.

If your rose hasnt been pruned in several years, it may be revived by carefully cut backs to remove dead wood to improve its appearance and stimulate blooms.

Pruning roses that are neglected and woody needs a clear explanation, so heres an YouTube video that demonstrates how to cut down roses that are neglected.

5. Insufficient sun (Roses Bloom Best when there are more than 6 hours of sun)

The roses are at their peak when they are planted in full sun (at at least 6 hours of sunshine each day).

Roses which have been in too many shade are less bloomy and have appear more spindly as the rose gets taller looking for more sunlight.

The only solution to this is to move the rose into a part in your garden that receives more sunlight or cut back the hanging tree branches that could be obscuring the rose.

It is recommended to plant roses three feet apart so that the rose gets sufficient light and energy to flower and also reduce the chance of fungal diseases by improving airflow around the foliage while allowing you to move the rose around to prune it and do regular deadheading which will increase the number of flowers.

The amount of sunshine is the main factors that determine the rate at which rosebushes flower and is crucial in ensuring resistance to disease.

(Read my article on selecting the most suitable containers for your roses).

6. When to Prune Your Rose for More Blooms

The art of knowing when to trim your rose to ensure it is flowering is just equally important as knowing when to cut the rose.

Certain varieties of roses show their flowers on previous years growth, so if you cut back in the spring, you may be taking out the flowers that are developing and the rose wont flower until the next year.

For roses that bloom repeatedly regularly, dead-heading throughout the year and trimming branches during winter ensures an attractive rose bush. It also keeps from cutting any emerging flowers or branches which will be used to host the flowers next year.

For rose varieties that bloom only once a year, cut back the annual pruning when the plant has finished blooming in the last week of summer.

If youve hard-trimmed your roses in spring, then youll have to wait until next year for blooms.

Key Takeaways:

  • The reason that roses arent blooming is typically due to excessive nitrogen from the widespread use of fertilizers. Nitrogen encourages growth of foliage which can be detrimental to flowers, so excessive fertilizer can result in an overly tall plant with plenty of foliage, but no flowers.
  • They are heavy feeders, so the lack of nutrients in stony or sandy soils could be the reason for the absence of flowers. Make sure to prepare the soil with plenty of compost leaf mould, well composted manure. Add mulch each year and apply fertilizer to supply the rose with the necessary nutrients to bloom.
  • Aphids feed off the sap from the developing rose buds, which alters the blooms and growth that your flower. The best method to deal with aphids is to inspect your roses regularly for aphids and then remove them from the rose either by hand or by spraying water. Aphid populations are controlled by predators of insects like lady bugs and birds, so they are not an issue in the majority of gardens.
  • Sunlight is strongly associated with the amount of flowers in a bouquet of roses, with roses requiring full-sun (at at least six hours every day). Transfer roses in shade to more sunny places or trim branches that hang overhanging and shading your garden to ensure that the roses are blooming in the spring and summer.
  • Pruning your rose every year will ensure that the rose is in good condition to ensure that it blooms. Regular deadheading can encourage more blooms in repeat flowering varieties.
  • Cut back roses after blooming in the fall or winter to ensure that flower buds grow and to avoid cutting down the growth of previous years in the spring, as this could hinder roses from blooming.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)