Why Is My Rose Bush Drooping? How Can I Save It?

Last Updated on August 4, 2022 by Stephanie

The soil of roses must remain moist throughout the year, so the reason why your rose is falling is likely sign of stress caused by drought due to excessive temperatures, underwatering or soils that drain too fast. The drooping of a rose may be an indication of excessive fertiliser or experiencing root rot caused by the soil being boggy.

Continue reading to find out the reasons why your rose bush is falling and how to implement the corrective measures to stop your rose bush…

Most Common Reasons for Roses Drooping

The roses are most often droopy because of dry soil because they require that the soil remain moist but not overly saturated to avoid drooping or wiping. But the absence of soil moisture could be due to a variety of reasons:

  1. The scorching sun and the high temperatures during the summer heat can cause more evaporation of the soil as well as transpiration from the leaves, causing the rose to shrink or appear to wilt.
  2. The soil is dry because its too stony or sandy, that increase drainage of the soil and may dry out the soil.
  3. The root systems of close-by trees and plants could rival your roses for water and nutrients , causing flowers and leaves to drop or even wilt.

The rose is generally thought of as a species that likes full sunshine (6 hours sunshine plus) to flourish and bloom at their peak. In colder northern climates, the rose can flourish in full sun without losing its shape or falling over because of the prevalence of clouds, colder temperatures, and less intense sun.

In hot climates, roses thrive better in the morning, and afternoon shade, which shields them from the scorching time of day to avoid drought stress and its droopy appearance.

How to Revive a Drooping Rose

To stop roses from falling or dying at all Good soil preparation is essential to provide the ideal conditions to keep roses well-hydrated and healthy. This is done by adding lots of leaf mold, compost, or manure that has been well-rotted and incorporated in the soil prior to planting, and then immediately around the rose to improve the soils capacity to hold water and enhance the nutritional profile.

But roses already established in the ground can be rejuvenated through giving the dirt surrounding the rose a extensive and thorough soak with the hose for about 10 minutes, and then applying an approximately 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch on the ground around your rose.

The most effective mulching materials around roses is compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure, as all of these materials has the capacity to retain moisture, and they aid in conserving soil water after giving the rose a generous soak.

Mulch can also provide nutrients to the soil, and can help improve soil quality to retain water, but also is a good draining porous structure that is ideal for roses to grow.

After a thorough irrigation and application of a moist mulch to hold in moisture around the rose, the stems, leaves and flowers will begin to bloom within a couple of days.

pink roses

If you mulch your rosetwice per calendar year (once at the beginning of spring to preserve moisture , and another towards the end of fall to protect the roots from freezing before winter) then the soils profile increases to retain enough moisture to ward off the competition from trees around it or simply because it is, by nature, sandy.

If you keep the moisture constant at the root of the rose, the leaves should not wilt or drop, but keep in mind that you might need to water your roses during the hottest seasons to avoid the leaves from drooping.

Always give your plants a good soak, as this will encourage the roots to develop to an average depth of 18 inches, and then really grow, which means the roots will be able to reach water reserves that are far below the surface, which improves the resistance of the rose to drought.

New Growth of Roses Wilting or Drooping (Too Much Fertilizer)

The most frequent issue for those who grow roses is the growth of their roses, or maybe the entire rose bush is falling due to excessive nitrogen fertilizer.

There are some important distinctions between roses that are falling because of excessive fertilizer, instead of wilting due to dry soil:

  • If the rose is covered with lots of new growth in its foliage that has green leaves (that could appear to be generally healthy) however, it appears to be drooping of stems and leaves, than wilted, then it could be a sign of leaf swollen.
  • The flower heads could appear like theyre drooping due to their own weight or growing in a sideways direction.
  • The rose is adorned with lots of green leaves, but there are no buds are developing, or it has less flowers than normal.

The roses are a heavy feeder and do well with fertilizers, however when you apply the fertilizer frequently, in excessive amounts or the lawn fertilizer is discolored and then runs off in the rain and onto the rose boarders, then the rose will drop because of the excess nitrogen and shows less flowers.

Nitrogen is the nutrient every rose (and every plant) require to produce beautiful, lush foliage that is attractive and green However, excessive nitrogen can make the stems and leaves grow weak and sappy, that makes the rose droop and increase the chance of infestation by insects as Aphids. It also increases the chance of fungal diseases like black spot.

After the rose has been treated with excessive nitrogen fertiliser, there is nothing that you could do in order to keep the droop, other than constantly checking to see whether you have any insects trying attack the rose , and then treating it as needed and reduce the fertilizer use until the following year, in which the rose can be cut back in a way that encourages new healthy growth.

To prevent this from happening, I recommend that you use an fertilizer specifically designed for roses, like miracle-gro rose feed.

It contains all the essential nutrients in the right amounts to nourish your rose and encourage blooms without overdosing and causing your rose to shrink.

Always follow the manufacturers guidelines regarding the use of fertilizer. I want to emphasize that there is no advantage in using more fertilizer than specified in the directions since it doesnt produce more results and can cause roses to drop.

(Read my article on what is the reason my rosesnt blooming?)

Potted Rose Wilting or Drooping

Potted roses may wilt because of a small pot or container that has less space for moisture and soil.

The most frequent reason why potted roses start to wilt or falling down is that the rose was planted in the wrong pot. small.

Containers that are smaller are less able to hold soil, and thus less room for moisture for the roses roots to draw from, which causes the roses leaves to drop and lose their appearance.

The roses thrive in full sunlight, so when a rose is placed in the smallest pot, in full sunlight the soil gets heated rapidly, causing water to evaporate from the soil before the roots get an opportunity to absorb the water.

Certain types of pots, like metal or plastic pots, absorb heat better than clay ceramic, terracotta or ceramic pots, which can also boost the speed at which soil is dried out.

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

How to Revive Drooping Potted Roses

  • The roses must be planted in pots that measure minimum 12 inches in diameter to ensure that the pot is large enough to hold soil, and thus cold retain enough water for the rose to keep it from wilting.
  • The roses can be planted in clay, terracotta, or ceramic pots since they dont heat up in the same way as other kinds of pots, which helps maintain cool roots and lessens stress caused by high temperatures.
  • Give the rose a good soak to ensure that the water drips through the drainage holes at the bottom of your pot. This will ensure that the water is reaching the roots and that your soil remains evenly damp. The water that is too light only moistens on the top of soil, but doesnt encourage the growth of roots, which could make your rose more susceptible to drought.
  • While the rose is recuperating from wilting or drooping, relocate the pot into an area with morning sun and shade later in the afternoon to ensure that the rose is protected from heat and sun so that you dont further increase the stress of drought.
  • The roses in pots should be watered as frequently as needed to ensure that the soil remains damp. How often you should water your rose in a pot is dependent on a variety of factors, including the climate and the time of season. The most effective way to determine whether your rose requires watering is to touch the soil up to a finger deep. If you feel that there are adequate levels of moisture, then your rose will be fine for a couple of days, but when the soil is feeling like its beginning to dry out, give the soil a good soak. Typically, watering every week is all thats necessary, however it is possible to water on a regular basis during the hot times of the season.
  • Make sure that your pot is equipped with drainage holes at the bottom. While roses typically drop due to the dryness of their soils, they can can also drop when the soil is saturated, which is why drainage holes at the base of pots are essential to let excess water escape , preventing root decay. When your flower is falling and the soil is inundated, check out my article on ways to revive your dying rose in a pot to find the answer.

Slow Draining Soils and Overwatering can Cause Drooping Roses

While roses need a constant supply of humid soil to remain well-nourished and avoid drooping, excessive water can cause your roses to drop.

If your rose is growing in the soil that is saturated, then there isnt sufficient oxygen available in your soil to allow the roots to breathe and transport water and nutrients throughout the plant. This causes the rose to drop and the leaves to become yellow as an indication of stress.

The roots must be planted in soil that is both porous and Aerated. This can be achieved by amending the soil using organic matter like compost or leaf mold prior to plant your rose. These substances help maintain the ideal soil structure and moisture balance to allow roses to flourish instead of wilting or drooping.

But if the rose is placed in clay that is heavy (or pots with drain holes at the bottom) the excess water will not go away from the roots efficiently and the soil gets waterlogged that effectively chokes the roots because they require respiration and thus require oxygen within the soil.

If the rose has been in the soil that is soaked with water for a prolonged period, it could be affected by roots rot (for more details on roses that have root rot, read my article on what is the reason my roses leaf changing color?)

When your flower is falling and you observe that the soil draining slowly then it is essential to reduce any irrigation and allow your soil drain.

The rose can thrive on clay-based soils however, it must been significantly altered prior to planting to ensure that the soil is draining well for the rose in order to prevent root decay.

It is done by digging out an 18-inch hole across, with the same proportional depth, and then using lots of compost and leaf mold, or composted manure to plant the rose in order to create the proper balance of soil that retains moisture and also drains well to avoid drooping and root decay.

Why is my Rose Drooping After Planting?

The roses can wilt or appear droopy in appearance following the planting due to transplant shock as a result of a different growing environment from the nursery or garden center in which they were first planted and the environment of your garden.

The roses are usually planted in greenhouses where sunlight, temperature, water flow, as well as soil condition are all precisely managed. The differences in these environments and the ones in your landscape can cause roses to briefly droop, an indication of stress as they adjust to their new surroundings.

The roses roots can also take a while to grow in the soil before they are able to absorb nutrients and water effectively and efficiently. During this time, they are more susceptible to drought since it typically sheds more of its water via its leaves than it draws upwards from the roots.

How to Revive a Drooping Rose After Planting

  • Keep newly planted roses safe from excessive sun.
  • More often, water by giving it a thorough soaking.
  • Utilize a mulch, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure to mulch around the rose in order to preserve the moisture in the roots.

The fall or spring months are usually the ideal season to start planting roses because the rose will have time to grow before having to deal with the scorching and dry Summer weather.

It is therefore possible to safeguard your rose by shading it when the sun is hot and the temperature is high, but there isnt any rain.

While sunlight can be beneficial in flowering but at this point in the roses growth it could increase the amount of soil and cause leaves to start drying out, causing the rose to die.

If you can, provide shade during the afternoons to the newly planted rose. Provide an air break to shield it from the sun and to keep it cool in the hottest part during the hotter times.

The rose should be given a really thorough soak to make sure that your soil remains evenly wet, to reduce the chance of stress due to drought while the roots adjust to soil.

Place a 2 to 3 inches layers of mulch (made by leaves, compost, or manure that has been well-rotted) around the top of your rose to retain moisture and prevent the sun from shining directly on the soil, causing the soil to become dry too fast.

It is important to water as often as you need in order to maintain the soil surrounding your newly planted roses moist, however, make sure that the soil doesnt become boggy (a issue when dealing with clay soils) because this could cause issues such as root rot.

After 3 weeks, the rose will begin to grow and improve from its deflated appearance However, you should continue to water it well every week at least during the first year to help the roots grow and adapt to the changing soil conditions, to absorb moisture and be more resistant to stress from drought.

Key Takeaways:

  • The soil must be consistently moist to avoid drooping, so the reason for a rose that is drooping is usually due to the soil being too dry due to the effects of underwatering sandy soils, extreme temperatures and intense sunlight. The roses need to be watered regularly during the summer months to prevent their wilting or drooping.
  • The roses that are drooping tend to be the result the use of fertilizers too frequently or in excessive amounts that results in the rose growing many leaves, but with less flowers, which results in the roses leaves and stems falling.
  • The roses that are in pots tend to lose their shape or die because the pot is small and it heats up rapidly in the sun. This causes the soil to dry out and causes the roses leaves and stems to turn brown. The roses in pots need to be watered frequently during summer to avoid the appearance of drooping.
  • If your rose is falling after the planting, it is due to transplant shock. It may take time for the roots of the rose to adapt to new conditions in the soil, which makes the rose more susceptible to drought stress following the planting, which causes the rose to drop.
  • The roses drop and the leaves change color when there is excessive moisture around the roses roots. Boggy soil blocks oxygen in the soil. It hinders the roots respiration. It also hinders the ability of the roots to absorb moisture and nutrients . This causes the rose to drop and then turn yellow.


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 :)