Hybrid tea rose with yellowing leaves – UPDATE

Yellowing leaves on rose

Today I posted a question to CSU’s Plant Talk to help with my new rose I planted not long ago in the front yard.  I’ve never used this service before so we’ll see what they say.

The rose is a Week’s  Nursery plant that was wonderfully healthy when I purchased it from Creekside Gardens in late May.  The rose is a yellow hybrid tea  called ‘Summer Love’.


Yellowing leaves on rose


Early on the rose was showing drought stress signs with its new growth and blooms wilting.  We have had to water only 2x a week due to low snowpack levels.  I hand watered some to perk up the plant and now we have yellowing of the leaves.

The other issue is the soil in this bed is thick with clay.  I amended some of the soil to about 1.5 times the root ball.  Did I create a nice tub for water to sit?

I suspect I’m now over-watering to compensate for the under-watering that was causing the rose to wilt.

I hope the rose makes it,  the flowers are beautiful and the fragrance is a lemony delicious scent.


UPDATE 7/11/2013

I received a reply from CSU:


It is not all that unusual for a newly planted shrub to wilt a bit after planting.

That said, your description of the yellowing and the picture you sent lead me to believe there is a root/soil issue and possibly overwatering.
While roses will need more water during the hot months, the best way to water them is deeply and infrequently. Physically probe the soil in the planting area. If the top couple inches of soil are dry (2-4″) you probably need to water. If it is still moist in the area, wait another day or two and check again.

There may also be a problem related to the way the rose was planted in that our heavy clay soil and the lighter planting soil in the rose container often create a “soil interface”. The water moves quickly out of the container soil, but very slowly in the clay soil. Sometimes we end up with a “bowl” of clay in which the plant is attempting to grow. This is why organic matter is often added to soil (as you did) before planting, as a way to avoid the situation.
Although lengthy, the following publication discusses how to plant a tree with references to other publications surrounding the topic. I mention this publication so you can perhaps understand what can go wrong during the planting process.

My best thought is to check your planting area, perhaps a couple places. I suspect you may need to back off on the amount of water and/or water more deeply.

-Mary Small, Diagnostician, CSU Extension/Jefferson County Plant Clinic


UPDATE 8/2/2013

I pulled up the rose and replanted it after adding some more compost and vermiculite in a wider area to try to keep the rose happy.  Although one side did die, its doing better now and I did get a few more nice blooms.  This will be a gorgeous plant once I get it settled.  I am already amazed at how prolific this plant blooms.

Starting to recover

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.


  1. Thanks for the follow-up! Yeah, our darned clay soil. I wonder if you have to dig it up or if you can just work amendments down into the soil around it, thus breaking up the “bowl” it’s sitting in. I used Claybuster amendment recently and thought it made a big difference. Bought it at the local garden center. Good luck!

  2. I hope CSU can answer your question. Have you noticed any aphids or thrip? I haven’t seen any yet this season but I’m sure they’re coming.

    1. I have posted CSU’s reply. I have cut back on the watering and will watch for more yellowing and leaf loss. I may dig it up and do more amending if necessary. I looked for aphids but saw none on the bottoms of the leaves. Thanks for your comment!

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