I have recently bought a potted rose plant and now its leaves have turned variegated. It was a nice bottle green (uniform) when I bought it first. Thank you in advance for your help!

rose disease

  • What did you do with the rose after you bought it? Did you plant it outdoors? What variety of rose is it? Have you had it in the house? More info please, including photos of the whole plant if possible....
    – Bamboo
    Jan 7, 2016 at 14:15
  • Hello bamboo, thank you for your reply. It is about a month since I bought the plant. It was in a very tiny pot (about 5 inches diameter) so I re-potted it in a larger pot. Now some new leaves are growing (from the top) but absolutely unlike the healthy ones I bought it with. Here is the full picture of the plant, it is about 1.5 feet tall.
    – Joydeep
    Jan 12, 2016 at 4:27
  • Link to the full plant image: i.imgur.com/dDB8rOZ.jpg
    – Joydeep
    Jan 12, 2016 at 4:47
  • I have placed it on the rooftop where it gets about 5 hours of sunlight. DO let me know if you need some other details.
    – Joydeep
    Jan 12, 2016 at 4:48
  • One other thing - what part of the world are you in, oh, and what soil is it planted in - ordinary garden soil? Potting mix? Looks lumpy in the picture, and very pale in colour (the soil)...
    – Bamboo
    Jan 12, 2016 at 12:36

2 Answers 2


The problems with your rose plant appear to be cultural as much as anything else - I would suggest you buy some decent potting soil if you must keep it in a pot, but bear in mind that, unless the rose is a miniature or patio variety, most hate being contained in a pot and don't do well, particularly after their first year, because they want to put down deep roots. The trouble with using soil from the garden or just from outdoors is it may have pathogens within it, and whilst plants cope with things like that actually in the ground, when you put the soil in a pot, there's nowhere for the pathogens to go, because its contained in such a small space. That alone may account for the problems you're seeing, but it may also be that the soil is poor in terms of nutrients. Roses like heavy, fertile soil conditions, growing best in rich, clay soils, and do not like to dry out completely, though drought conditions usually don't kill them, they just don't grow and flower very well. They are also a high maintenance plant, being prone to many fungal infections and insect infestations, and its usual to either use a preventative spray regime fortnightly during the growing season (with a combined fungicide insecticide such as Roseclear Ultra) or to inspect regularly and treat with either a fungicide or an insectide, depending on any problems seen. They also benefit from feeding in early spring and again about 8 weeks later with a specialist rose food to help keep them strong to resist all the pests and diseases they're very prone to get.

If you know that your rose is a reasonably small variety, and you want to continue growing it in a pot, on the assumption you can buy something decent to grow it in, take it out of its pot, brush off any soil you can without damaging the roots, rinse the roots in a bucket of water, clean the existing pot thoroughly, fill up with the new potting mix and replant the rose, watering well. Then I suggest you prune back to healthy growth, to an outward facing bud, and start a proper care regime as already mentioned. If you're wondering what potting mix you should use, I would recommend John Innes No. 2 or 3, but I've no idea what's available where you are.

  • I would add a specialist rose mycorrhizal fungus dusted over the roots pre planting, if you have kept it. This will give your rose the added bonus from the root/fungus symbiotic relationship. Establishment of a large and good root system will be quicker, giving you a healthy more robust plant.
    – user13638
    Jan 15, 2016 at 23:01
  • @Rosie - that'll only work if its in the ground, it can't establish a great root system stuck in a pot, though the fungi might help it recover from its current condition, possibly
    – Bamboo
    Jan 15, 2016 at 23:11
  • Thank you bamboo for your very detailed tips! Though not all you mention is possible at my place, I surely followed some of the tips like pruning it back till healthy growth, spraying insecticide + fungicide and replacing part of the soil with an organic manure mix, also adding some rose food. Now waiting for the new leaves to come up.
    – Joydeep
    Jan 18, 2016 at 13:19
  • Thanks Rosie, I'll keep in mind about the mycorrhizal fungus tip!
    – Joydeep
    Jan 18, 2016 at 13:20

I'd take it back for a replacement if I'd only just bought it. Depending on where you live, trading standards would mean that even purchasing a plant needs to be fit for purpose. A diseased or poorly one is not.

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