The rose plant is one of the most difficult plants to grow, especially if you are a novice in the world of gardening.
Everybody loves roses because they are so popular in modern culture and because they symbolize love and romance. The flower itself is incredibly beautiful, and can be grown in several colors as well.
However, you should know that the rose plant is susceptible to a number of problems, and if you are not careful, it won’t be long before the plant dies outright. There have been countless cases where people are unable to care for the rose plants, and it usually ends up dying very shortly.
One of the issues that you are going to have to deal with is related to aphids in your rose garden.
Aphids are relatively small, tiny insects that are usually one quarter of an inch in size. Aphids don’t usually have one color: You will find various kinds of aphids in different colors, with hues ranging from deep blacks to light greens.
If you look carefully, you will see that most of the aphids running about the plant do not have wings at all. But, if too many swarm on one plant, a few of the aphids will begin to develop wings and will eventually fly away to another plant. Thus, they will build a whole new colony in a new place.
Aphids can cause extensive damage to your plants if you are not careful. Aphids are incredibly small, and in almost all cases, the aphid is completely invisible to the human eye.
They are soft-bodied, with little to no coverage on top, and they tend to feed on the plants by sucking out the nutrients from it. The liquids running in the plants are usually quite high in nutrients, so they are generally quite attracted to them.
An aphid infestation on a plant can cause extensive damage to it within a very short amount of time. You need to understand that aphids tend to multiply at a blistering rate, so you might end up dealing with multiple generations within one summer season only.
They usually eat the sap that is found in the stems and leaves on the roses. In most cases, a considerable amount of sap is found in new growth, and that is what aphids generally target.
Once they suck all of the sap out from your rose bush, the aphids will then move on to the other bush, until they eventually cover the entire rose bed.
More importantly, you need to know that aphids tend to spread disease as well. Aphids usually feed by piercing the leaves and then sucking out the sap from the plant.
This act also transfers systemic diseases that are moved from one plant to another, so even if one small plant is infected in your garden, the aphids are likely to transfer it to the entire garden within a month or less.
However, there is a bit of good news. For starters, aphids are incredibly small, and because of that, they tend to move relatively slowly.
As a result, you will have plenty of time to formulate a strategy and get them out of your rose garden before they cause excessive damage to the plants.
Identifying the Aphids
Now, let’s talk about the first step: identifying the infestation. There are a bunch of different insects that can affect your rose plants, so you need to be careful. If you see insects crawling over the rose plant, you have to make sure that you first identify which ones they are.
Aphids, as we have already discussed, are quite small. In most cases, you won’t be able to see them with the naked eye, so a magnifying glass might be a wise idea. Their color combination also varies, ranging from yellow, pink, brown, blue, gray, and black.
However, you need to take a close look at the coating of the aphid. Some might have a waxy coating on top, while others generally have a woolly appearance.
The body of an aphid is usually shaped like a pear when you look at it from above. They are characterized by a couple of long antennae that protrude from their heads.
Keep in mind that the nymphs usually look similar to the adults. Now, when you read this description, you might realize that aphids don’t look any different from most other insects.
However, once you are trained to spot them, it will become quite easy for you to see the difference. The thing that really sets them apart from other insects is the fact that they have two cornicles, or short tubes, protruding from their hind.
Aphids tend to feed primarily in large numbers, so you might see them swarming on one part of the plant or another. If you turn over a leaf, you might see them in one corner, usually near the stem, feeding on the plant.
Now that you know what an aphid looks like, let’s talk about getting rid of them.
Before you can formulate a strategy for getting rid of them, you need to figure out how much damage your rose plant has already sustained. Aphid damage is easy to spot. Start by checking the underside of the leaves, since that is the aphids’ favorite hiding spot.
Yellowing or stunted leaves are a clear sign that your plant is infested by aphids, but you need to search for them, since other factors can also cause the yellowing.
Aphids usually leave behind a sticky substance after they are done sucking out the plant, so if you notice a sticky substance covering the leaves, it’s an indication that the aphids have been around.
The liquid is usually known as honeydew, and generally attracts ants or other insects, who collect it for food. When aphids infest larger plants, such as trees, this substance tends to drop on other surfaces, such as driveways, or other outdoor furniture. Eventually, this sugary substance can lead to a fungal growth as well.
This is known as sooty mold, and can cause leaves to appear black in texture. When aphids start to feed on a plant, it can cause the fruits or flowers to deform or get distorted. In some cases, galls might form on the leaves or the roots as well, causing the plant to die prematurely.
It is important that you identify the damage caused by the aphids before you can plan on getting rid of them. Remember, taking timely action is of the utmost importance, because aphids are going to eat up and destroy your plant quickly.
So, now that you have a better understanding of the aphid infestation, it’s important that you focus on how to get rid of them.
Here are a few strategies that you can deploy to get rid of aphids.
1 – Use a Hose
Arguably the easiest way to get rid of the aphids is to make use of a hose. As mentioned above, the aphids tend to usually hide on the underside of the leaves.
So, the best thing to do is make use of a high-powered hose and target the underside of the leaves. You will be able to get rid of the aphids from your plants.
Contact from high-pressure isn’t just going to make the aphids fall off the plant. Instead, it’s also going to kill them. These insects have soft bodies, so high-pressure water is more than enough to get rid of them.
You can easily buy a high-pressure water nozzle and attach it to the front of the pipe. Then, you can use that to get rid of all the aphids.
This is a relatively simple method, but you need to know that it requires a considerable amount of effort. You can’t expect to get rid of all the aphids in one go; you will need to repeat the process on a consistent basis at least for the next five or six days.
It’s also recommended that you use cold water for hosing, since aphids are generally scared of cold water.
2 – Manually Wash Them Off
This method is only applicable if the infestation is in its early stages. You can create a mixture of dish soap along with a lot of cold water, and then manually wash them off.
You will want to dip a small piece of cloth into the mixture and then wipe the underside and the upper side of the leaves carefully. It requires a meticulous amount of care, and this procedure is only suitable if you have a few plants in the garden.
Even then, you should know that the effectiveness of this method is relatively low. Aphids tend to hide in deep spots in the plant, which you won’t be able to reach on your own.
The main aim is to dislodge the aphids from the plant, because in most cases, the aphids are unable to find their way back to the same plant.
3 – Use Flour
Dusting the plant off with a bit of flour is also a great idea, and it will help you get rid of all the aphids on the plant. Flour actually constipates the aphids, so they are probably going to die very soon.
The effectiveness of this method primarily depends on the size of the rose garden.
4 – Use Insecticidal Soap
There are a bunch of different sprays available that contain insecticidal soap. Many also contain horticultural oils that are designed to get rid of these aphids and other insects that can cause harm to your plants. You should consider buying organic insecticidal soaps.
You might want to visit your local nursery to find a suitable insecticide that can help you combat the infestation. The only problem with using insecticides is that they also tend to kill insects that are beneficial to the plants, such as ladybugs. Pollinator insects are also going to die as a result.
Most insecticidal soaps contain large amounts of potassium or fatty acids, which causes a reaction with the outer shell of insects such as aphids. This kills them almost immediately. But, if you want to get rid of the aphids in your garden, you are going to have to apply the insecticide on a weekly basis.
You can get a spray made especially for getting rid of the aphids. You just need to apply the spray on the rose plant to get rid of the aphids.
Insecticides that contain horticultural oils are also beneficial to the plant, and prevent aphids from finding their footing on the plant.
5 – Introduce Beneficial Insects
There are a host of beneficial insects that love to feast on aphids, and aren’t bad for your plants either, for example, ladybugs.
Ladybugs love to feast on aphids, so all you need to do is release them into your rose garden. Before you know it, the aphid population in your garden is going to fall by a drastic margin.
However, you need to know that ladybugs don’t like to stay for longer periods of time in the same place. Once they have eaten all of the aphids and have cleared your rose garden, they are going to fly off in search of other places where they can find more food.
You can’t expect the ladybugs to remain in the same place forever.
6 – Use Cayenne Water
We have already talked about creating a mixture of dish soap and water. To improve its effectiveness, you should add a bit of cayenne pepper into the mix as well. There’s no need for you to dilute the mixture before you apply it on to the plants.
The cayenne pepper is able to get rid of aphids very quickly. But, like all other spraying methods, you need to be consistent. Make sure you apply the mixture on a consistent basis at least once a week to get rid of the problem.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.