Why Do Roses Die So Fast? (9 Reasons Why)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Roses are popular flowering plant found in gardens worldwide that could potentially live for as long as 6-15 years on average.  But if that’s the case, then why does it always seem like most roses die so fast?

In this article, we will discuss the top nine reasons why your roses might be dying before you have a chance to really appreciate them, and how you can potentially extend their lifespan.

Why Do Roses Die So Fast?

1. Poor Drainage

One of the leading causes of death for roses is poor drainage. If water can’t drain properly from the roots, it will cause them to rot, which will eventually lead to the plant’s demise.

To improve drainage, make sure you plant your roses in an area that has well-drained soil and allows excess water to drain away from your roses, so it doesn’t oversaturate the soil.

Additionally, consider adding a layer of mulch to the base of the plant. This will help to keep the roots dry and prevent them from rotting.

If your roses are in a pot, make sure it has drainage holes and that these holes are unobstructed. You’ll want to place a tray underneath these pots to catch excess moisture for the roots to use later. 

2. Under Or Overwatering

Another common reason why roses die quickly is that they’re either under or overwatered. This is a tricky part of plant care that countless plant owners struggle with. 

If you don’t water your roses enough, they will start to wilt and eventually die. 

On the other hand, if you water them too much, the soil around the roots will become oversaturated, leading to root rot and, if not remedied soon enough, eventual death.

So, how do you find the happy medium? The best way to tell is by checking the soil around your plant. 

If it’s dry a few inches down, then it’s time to water. However, if the soil is still moist, you can wait a bit longer before watering again.

Overwatering is especially common in areas with high humidity since the water will take longer to evaporate. 

If you live in a humid climate, it’s best to err on the side of underwatering and only water when the soil is dry.

Underwatering is common in regions with high temperatures or after a rose bush has been first plant or transplanted.

During these instances, you’ll likely want to water your rose bush at least once, if not twice a week.

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3. Lack Of Sun

Sunlight is crucial for plants, even those who enjoy growing in shady regions. Roses need at least six hours of sunlight per day, so if yours are getting less than that, they may start to wilt.

In these instances, it is almost always best to move your rose bush to another location where it can get the proper direct sunlight it needs.

Too much sun can also be a problem, especially in hot climates. If the leaves of your roses are starting to turn yellow or brown, they may need some nearby shade, so they aren’t getting direct sunlight all day.

4. Improper Climate

We’ve touched on this point briefly in the previous reasons, but temperature is crucial when it comes to ensure your rose bush is in the ideal environment to thrive.

Roses need a temperate climate to stay alive. These plants ideally prefer temperatures between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit for as long as possible, especially when they bloom.

If it’s too hot, the leaves of your roses will start to turn brown and fall off. If it’s too cold, the buds may not open, and the stems may start to turn black.

On the opposite side of the temperature spectrum, extremely frigid temperatures can cause root frost that could also kill your roses. 

As perennial flowers, most roses can endure these extreme high and low temperatures to some degree, but constant exposure to them will quickly end their life. 

To protect your roses from extreme temperatures, you can try growing them in a greenhouse or covering them with a frost blanket when it gets cold and providing shade from the blazing heat.

Keeping your roses in a pot is another helpful option as this allows you to move them indoors or to other locations when the temperature isn’t ideal. 

5. Diseases


There are many different diseases that can affect roses, and unfortunately, once a rose is infected, it can be extremely difficult to cure completely.

The best way to prevent your roses from getting sick is to start with healthy plants and to practice good gardening habits. Still, even the best care cannot always keep these nasty afflictions away.

Some of the most common diseases that affect roses include:

  • black spot
  • powdery mildew
  • downy mildew
  • rust
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If you notice symptoms of any of these diseases on your roses, it’s important to act immediately and try to save the plant if possible.

One way to do this is by removing any affected leaves or branches and disposing of them properly. You should also make sure to clean up any fallen leaves or petals as these can also spread disease.

If the plant is severely affected, you may need to use a fungicide or pesticide, but be cautions. These chemicals can be harmful to both people and animals, so they should only be used as a last resort.

6. Pests

Rose owners who are lucky enough to avoid any plant-related diseases will often encounter the other life-threatening evil that is pests. 

Insects like aphids and Japanese beetles can all wreak havoc on a rose bush, and if left unchecked, can quickly kill the plant. 

The best way to combat pests is to regularly inspect your roses for signs of infestation and take action as soon as possible.

There are several different products on the market that can effectively kill pests, but it’s important to choose one that is specifically designed for the pest and this type of plant.

Using a general insecticide might kill the pests, but it can also damage the plant. Luckily, there are some safe repellants you can use to keep harmful pests away.

7. Too Much Or Lack Of Fertilizer

Fertilizer is essential for roses, but it’s important to use the right amount. 

Too much fertilizer can burn the roots and damage the plant, while too little will prevent the plant from getting the nutrients it needs.

If you’re not sure how much fertilizer to use, ask your local nursery or garden center for advice or check the application directions listed on the product’s packaging.

In general, you should fertilize your roses every blooming season and gradually reduce the amount by half each time to ensure they aren’t overfertilized. 

8. Pot Is Too Small

Not everyone has a large rose bush out in their garden. For some, the more ideal arrangement is to have a small rose bush in a pot, whether this is inside their home or placed somewhere outdoors.

While roses can live long and healthy lives in a pot, it is important to make sure the pot gives it enough room to grow a sustainable root system.

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If you notice your roses are wilting or their leaves are turning yellow, it could be a sign that the pot is too small and, therefore, preventing its roots from fully growing.

When roots become crowded, they can’t take in enough water and nutrients, which will cause the plant to suffer. An easy sign that your pot is too small is if you see the roots poking out of drainage holes.

Once you notice this, it’s time to give your rose bush an upgrade and transplant it in a larger pot. 

9. Poor Vase Conditions

In addition to pots, another common place you’ll see roses is in vases on display. Most people recognize that these roses won’t last forever, but why is it that they die so quickly?

Oftentimes, the answer is that you haven’t provided the ideal conditions in your vase. The most likely cause is that the vase wasn’t properly sterilized before placing the roses inside. 

A dirty vase could harbor bacteria that will only grow and kill your roses that much quicker. To prevent this, fill the vase with warm water, a tablespoon of baking soda, and some white vinegar. 

After this liquid has fizzed up and sat in the vase for a few minutes, rinse it out and wipe the interior with a clean cloth.  

Another good tip to keep in mind for your display roses is to keep them in a shady spot, since direct sunlight and the extra heat it provides can take a heavy toll on their longevity.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Lake Erie is so dangerous, why the Hudson River is so dirty, and why people go missing in national parks.


If it seems like your stunning roses just won’t stick around for the next season and die unexpectedly fast, then the cause, to put it simply, is most likely poor care. But this can be overcome with practice.

A lot goes into making sure a rose thrives, from nutrients to sunlight to temperature and more. If these conditions are met, your roses probably won’t live long enough for you to see them bloom. 


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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