How to Revive My Wilting Rose (And why is it wilting?)

The most frequent reason why roses die is that the soil is too dry due to flooding or draining too fast and fails to hold enough moisture. The soil must remain moist around the roots during the growing season in order to absorb enough water to stop wilting leaves.

There are a variety of reasons why roses are dying:

Continue reading to find out the reason your rose is dying and the strategies to bring it back…

Potted Rose Wilting

There are certain conditions that are unique to the growing of roses in pots which can cause the plants to die.

The most frequent reason why roses die in pots is due to pots that aren’t big enough and drying out too fast in the sun, which causes the rose to turn brown in a sign of stress. The roses may also wilt inside pots that do not have drainage holes in the base, causing root decay.

The roses need full sunshine (6 to 8 hours) therefore they must be placed in large pots to stop them drying out too fast.

Small pots can be emptied quickly and cause the soil to become hard, so that the soil swerves water away from the surface, and the soil flows down the sides of the pot, but not getting to the roots.

This is especially frequent in the case of roses placed in a peat-based compost that tends to keep water from the surface when it’s dry, and then allow it to penetrate the soil until it reaches the rose’s roots.

It is also essential to water roses in pots frequently to avoid the roses from wilting (water roses every week at least to avoid the wilting) since pots will dry out in the sun in summer.

If you water your roses in a way that is not enough, it will cause just the upper inch or so of the soil to be moist, which causes the roots to expand close to the surface, which increases the risk of roses suffering from drought stress.

white roses on bush

How to Revive Wilting Potted Roses

  • The roses should be planted in pots that have at minimum 12 inches in diameter with the same proportional depth. A bigger pot will have more soil capacity that can hold more water around the roots of the roses and prevent the roses from wilting.
  • The roses can be planted in a peat-free medium for potting as the peat’s surface is a barrier to moisture when it dry out. The soil used for roses in potting should let water easily penetrate even when it is dry, and reach the roots , where water is needed. Make use of a multi-purpose compost or potting soil for planting roses in pots to ensure the most ideal soil structure and the ideal equilibrium of moisture.
  • Always ensure that roses are watered with an adequate amount of watering, so that the excess water drips off the bottom of the plant. This will ensure that water penetrated the soil , and reached its root.
  • The roses in pots should be watered as frequently as they require to keep the pot soil moist, but not completely saturated. There isn’t a universal rule of thumb on how often you should water your rose in a pot because it is contingent on the weather and climate. But a thorough soak at least once or twice per week during the summer is generally suitable. Make sure to water more frequently during hot or dry conditions to avoid the plant from wilting.
  • Plant roses in pots that have drainage holes at the base. Avoid using saucers or trays under the pots. The roses need moist instead of saturated soil. If there aren’t drainage holes at the bottom or the container, the water will just collect around the root of the rose, which stops the roots from breathing which causes leaves to wither and change color to yellow.
  • Set your rose in its feet to allow water to flow freely out of the bottom in the. This will prevent water from pooling beneath the pot, especially when the pot is placed on the patio. It also helps keep the perfect equilibrium of moisture.

When you plant your rose in a bigger pot, giving it plenty of water and using the right pot soil, you create the right conditions that allow your rose to revive from its wilting appearance over the next few weeks.

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

(To find out more about the reasons the reasons why your rose pot is dying, and and how you can revive your dying rose in a pot to find out how to apply the remedies to save the rose).

Rose Wilting After Transplanting or Planting

The roses are often in a state of wilting after transplanting or planting because they require time to allow the roots system establish its roots in the soil, so that the roots are able to absorb water. The rose wilts when it sheds more water from its leaves than it can absorb out of the soil.

The reason that roses wilt is due to the fact that wilted leaves have a lower surface area, which decreases the amount of water lost through transpiration.

The wilting process is usually exacerbated by extreme temperatures, and excessive air flow that will both drain moisture from the leaves, causing the rose to turn brown in response to stress.

The wilting of rose leaves is especially frequent if the rose was transplanted or planted during the summer heat because the rose must develop its roots in the new soil, while battling with scorching sunshine and high temperatures.

The best moment to start planting roses would be during the Fall or Spring since the soil remains warm (which aids in the establishment of roots) and the temperatures are not as extreme.

There are several actions you can follow to assist in reviving the wilting, sunk or transplanted planted rose in order to maintain its hydration until the roots are able to draw in water efficiently.

How to Resurrect an old, wilted Rose after Transplanting or Planting

  • The most crucial step to avoid roses becoming wilted after planting is to prepare the soil in a proper manner before planting. The best roses will thrive in soil with more organic matter, such as leaf mold, compost and well-rotted manure. These materials hold a lot of moisture, yet they possess a porous stricture which allows water excess to drain efficiently, and creates the ideal water balance for roses.
  • If your rose is growing in sandy soil or soil that drains quickly, I suggest getting the rose removed and amending the area of planting up to 18 inches wide and deep (to allow for the rose’s root system when it reaches maturity) with plenty of compost in order to achieve the ideal level of moisture for roses and the ideal soil structure to stop the rose from dying.
  • The rose should be given a really complete watering, best done with the help of a soaker or hose pipe hose, ensuring that the rose receives a proper drink prior to placing a mulch layer to help conserve moisture.
  • Spread a 2 inch layer of mulch on the rose’s soil. The layer of compost leaf mold, leaf mold or composted manure can help to preserve the moisture already in the soil after having have thoroughly watered your rose and keeps the soil from drying too fast. Mulch can also help to hold the moisture in a sponge that is porous around the rose, and also prevents sunlight from drying out the soil during hot days.
  • Make sure to water your rose regularly throughout the first year following the planting. Be sure to water it well because this will encourage the rose’s roots to grow deep into the soil to get to the water, which improves the resistance of the rose to drought after it has established. A lack of watering can cause the roses’ roots to grow too close to the surface, which causes the rose to wilt.
  • You should water your roses as often as you need to ensure that the soil remains damp while it is in a state of wilting. The exact timing of watering depends on the climate you live in and season, so you should alter the frequency of watering your roses to ensure your soil remains moist, but not totally saturated.

The rose that is wilting should begin to recover after you created conditions that are more favorable and hydrated the rose well. The rose usually blooms at night when temperatures are cool. Make sure the soil is moist, and the rose will recover from its appearance of wilting in the next week.

Roses Wilting Due to Drought Stress

The leaves of roses wilting are an indication of stress caused by underwatering and rapidly draining soils. The roses need a constant supply of moist soil to remain well-hydrated. When your flower is becoming wilting frequently, you should water it more often and give it a good soak. Apply mulch to conserve moisture to revive leaves that are dying.

The roses are thirsty and may require extra watering during the summer months when temperatures are hot. But soil conditions can play a major factor in the likelihood that your rose will die because of heat or the absence of rain.

To ensure that your roses are drought-resistant, it is essential to prepare the soil with plenty in organic material (such as compost, which holds moisture around the roots of the roses effectively, allowing the roots to draw on the moisture as needed.

When the soil’s hard or sandy, it will hold less moisture, and your rose is more susceptible to drought stress that causes wilting.

The roses may also exhibit an appearance of wilting when their roots are in competition with trees or other plants close to.

While roses require full sun to thrive and show the most beautiful blooms They prefer keeping their root systems neat and cool. They can also show signs of stress, such as dying when their roots get too hot.

The rose roots can get too hot if they have been watered lightly (which results in the roots being forced to expand closer to their surface) and also when they are located in open areas, and the scorching sun shines directly onto the soil on the hottest day of summer.

How to Revive Wilting Roses Due to Drought Stress

  • Roses that are wilting in water with an ample soak to ensure that the soil is evenly damp. The frequency at which you water your roses will depend on the weather and climate, but it is recommended to water frequently to ensure that the soil stays always moist during the spring and summer. Usually, this means that you water every week. However, it is possible to water your rose every three days during a heatwave to avoid the plant from wilting.
  • The ideal roses are grown in soil that is planted with plenty of organic matter in order to keep the soil moist around the roots and stop the leaves from turning brown. If the soil is draining too fast, you can either move the rose, or temporarily remove it and alter the area of planting to a depth and width of 18 inches using compost to provide more favorable conditions, or put down a mulch and water it more frequently.
  • Spread a 2 inch layer of mulch on the rose’s soil (leave an area of 6 inches of the soil in between it and the stem of the rose to stop the stem from becoming rotten). The compost, the leaf mold, and manure that is well-rotted are great mulch materials that help to retain the moisture of the soil. Soak the soil around the rose prior to applying the mulch in order to keep the balance optimal of moisture.
  • The mulch can also help keep the roses cool because the sun’s rays shine directly on the 2 inch layer of mulch instead of on the soil, so the roots don’t heat in the same way especially if they are able to access cool, humid soil following irrigation.
  • If you can, plant your rose at least three feet from each other. This gives the rose enough room for air circulation around the leaves , which reduces the chance of fungal diseases and also means that your rose will not need to compete with other plants nearby for moisture and nutrients.

The best method for growing roses is to mulch before the beginning of the season to keep moisture in and then again in the winter months to protect the roots from cold winter weather.

Making sure that the soil is able to hold more moisture, and therefore watering more often will ensure that the rose gets the water it needs at its roots to stop the leaves from dying and your rose will resurgence over the next few weeks.

Too Much Fertilizer Causes Wilting

A high amount of nitrogen fertilizer could cause rose stems, leaves and flowers to develop an appearance of wilting. The roses need fertilizer to be at the best, but when it is applied frequently or in excessive amounts, the roses will grow a lot of weak and sappy foliage and stems that turn brown and drop.

The rose is a heavy feeder and can grow and bloom to their fullest when fertilized However, excessive nitrogen can cause the rose to develop fragile foliage, and show fewer flowers.

If rose stems and leaves have a weak and sappy appearance, and becoming wilting, they are more prone to aphid infestation and diseases.

The excessive nitrogen levels in the soil could result from run-off from lawn fertilizer, which is diluted during rain, and may cause roses to die in garden boarders.

If the rose is affected by excessive nitrogen due to fertilizer, there’s nothing you can do to fix the issue.

But you must check your rose’s condition for signs of aphids as well as diseases and treat them as needed and trim off the weaker sappy growth next spring.

The ideal time to trim roses to maintain their shape and encouraging healthy growth and blooms is in the early spring and you are able to cut back the excess drooping growth and rejuvenate the blooms of your rose.

I would like to emphasize that it is important to use the fertilizer specifically designed for roses, such as Miracle-gro rose as well as shrub feed. It contains all the nutrients in the proper concentration required by a rose to grow and bloom its most beautiful. Granular forms also decrease the amount of nutrients gradually, which helps reduces the chance of using too much fertilizer.

(Read my article on what is the reason my rosesn’t blooming?)

Roses Wilting Overwatering

The soil around roses must remain moist, but not over saturated. If the rose is overwatered, it blocks the oxygen in soil around the rose’s roots, which hinders the root’s ability to breathe and hinders the roots capacity to absorb water and nutrients, causing rose’s leaves to turn brown and become yellow.

The ground around rose’s roots may be too wet because it drains slow, or due to the fact that it is placed in pots that do not have drainage holes in the base , which results in water pooling within the root.

The ideal composition of the soil and balance in moisture levels for roses are a soil that is porous made up of organic matter which retains moisture, but lets excess water be able to drain without flooding the area surrounding the rose’s root.

How to Revive Wilting Roses due to Overwatering

  • To create the ideal soil structure for roses , and to avoid wilting to prevent wilting, you should amend the rose’s plant area with plenty of leaf mold, compost, and manure that is well-rotted, especially in the case of dense clay-based soil that drains slowly.
  • If your garden soil is naturally boggy, then I suggest growing roses in pots as it is difficult to amend the soil in a way that will ensure that it drains properly so that your roses’ leaves are prevented from becoming yellow and dying.
  • You should water your roses as frequently as you need to ensure that the soil remains damp, but the soil should not be completely saturated. Certain roses that are established in areas with high rainfall typically do not need any watering , unless there’s the occasional heat storm.
  • In the event that your soil becomes already saturated then reduce the amount of water and allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering again . This will aid in the resurgence of the rose.
  • Make sure to plant your roses in pots that have drainage holes at the base, allowing the excess water to drain easily after the watering. Plant the roses in pots on feet to raise them about an inch above the ground to ensure that the water drains without accumulating underneath the pot and causing the soil to remain in a muddy state.

If the rose was in the soil that is saturated for a long period of time, this can create conditions for fungal diseases like the Phytophthora root-rot and it becomes hard to rescue the rose.

(For more details on roses that have root rot, read my article on what is the reason my roses’ leaf turning yellow?)

This highlights the importance of creating optimal, well-drained conditions for the soil of roses in order to ensure the proper equilibrium of water.

Key Takeaways

  • The reason for a rose to wilt is due to the soil being dry due to the underwatering process or fast drainage sandy soils. The roses need soil with an abundance of organic matter, which holds water around the roots as well as regular watering to ensure that the rose roots can absorb the water they require to avoid the leaves from wilting.
  • The reason that roses die after transplanting is due to the fact that the roots require time to grow before they are able to draw in water efficiently. The leaves of the rose wilt when they lose more water than the rose’s roots are able to absorb out of the ground. The leaves turn brown to decrease surface area and reduce the loss of water.
  • The roses in pots will wilt when the container or pot isn’t big enough and dry out too fast. The roses must be placed in larger pots that measure minimum 12 inches in diameter. The pot of this size can hold greater soil capacity to hold in the moisture needed for the roots of the roses to absorb the water they require to avoid wilting.
  • A lot of fertilizer applied frequently or in a large quantities could cause the rose to produce excessive foliage that appears wilting. The rose needs a balanced fertilizer. Excess nitrogen could cause the rose to become weak and weak, causing it to shrink and drop.
  • The soil must be well-drained and moist. If the soil is saturated, it stops the roots from breathing and hinders the roots capacity to absorb water and nutrients, which causes the leaves to become yellow and have a the appearance of wilting.


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