Home » Black Spots on Roses: Treatment & Prevention

Black Spots on Roses: Treatment & Prevention

If you have ever noticed black spots on your roses, it’s because they’re suffering from a fungal disease. When black spots develop on the leaves, this will make the leaves turn yellow, and eventually, they will fall off.

Not only do these black spots look bad, but they also cause detriment to your rose plants. Black spots tend to occur during humid and hot days with cool nights. Getting rid of black spots and having healthy roses may seem like a difficult task. However, you can rejuvenate your plants and get rid of black spots easier than you may realize.

Black Spots: What do they do?

Rose leaves with spots

When you first start to notice black spots, you’ll see circular dots on the leaves of your rosebush. More often than not, you will see them on the upper side of the leaf, but they can also occur on the leaves’ undersides. A ring of yellow typically surrounds them, and the small, black circles tend to be ragged.

When you first start to see these spots, it will likely be on the lower leaves. As the problem worsens, they will move upward. While you may see them on mature leaves, it’s common for them to appear as soon as a leaf unfurls. These black spots will grow, and eventually, they will merge together. Once they reach a state of large black spots, the leaves will likely fall off of your plant. Additionally, if left untreated, you may lose all the plant’s leaves.

The fungus that creates black spots can also infect the canes. You’ll notice black or purple blisters on the rods of your roses. Additionally, you may even see some spotting on the Flowers. If you do, they will be red in color.

Any rosebush that’s infected is not going to produce a lot of flower buds. Additionally, there will be very few leaves. When a rosebush has a problem with this fungus, it will cause extra stress and make it more susceptible to other issues.

Ideal Growing Conditions to Avoid Black Spots

Planting red roses

Any plant lover will tell you that preventing black spots is much easier than getting rid of existing ones. If you already have black spots, the spores are likely in your soil. Additionally, they may be on the leaves and stems, waiting for the right conditions to grow. Once the spores make contact with water, they will start to grow and cause a lot of problems.

A healthy plant will have fewer problems. Your roses prefer to be in well-draining soil and a sunny location. They will need weekly watering to ensure that your plant is healthy. Let us review the ideal growing conditions to help you avoid black spots in the 1st place.

Air Flow

Roses need good air circulation around and through the plant. It would be best if you didn’t put rose bushes close together. Additionally, they shouldn’t be near other plants. It would help if you took the time to prune the spaces between the canes. This will allow better airflow and ensure that your plants don’t become too dense, which would enhance humidity and moisture. The enhanced moisture can lead to black spots.


You’ll want to water your rose bush at least once a week, especially during dry conditions. You should avoid getting water on the leaves. If it rains, water will get on the leaves, but there’s not much that you can do to avoid that. By ensuring you don’t get the leaves wet while you’re watering your plants, you will be limiting the amount of time that they stay damp, and this helps to reduce the risk of your roses developing black spots.


Pruning is an essential piece of keeping your rosebush healthy. If you’re dealing with black spots, removing any leaves that are infected is critical. Additionally, you need to clean up any fallen leaves that are affected by this fungus. Dispose of any infected leaves when you’re doing your dormant pruning in the winter or early spring. Remember that spores can stay on the leaves and stems of your rosebush during overwintering. If this happens, you will likely end up with a reinfected plant that may spread the problem to your other rose bushes.

If you notice any symptoms of black spots, you will want to take care of them within ten days of first seeing it. The disease has already started to spread at ten days, and the spores can move around via wind or water. By pruning any canes and leaves showing infection, you will stop this problem in its tracks.

Prune between six and eight inches below the infection to ensure that you get it all. This process should only be done during dry weather. After pruning, you’ll want to disinfect your pruning shears. You can do this with a bleach solution or rubbing alcohol between each cut.

Topical Sprays Utilized for Prevention & Treatment of Black Spots

Gardener spraying roses

There is a variety of different commercial in homemade solutions that you can use to get rid of black spots on your roses. Some of the treatments are pretty time consuming, but at the end of the day, they’ll be worth it. Black spots are a pesky problem that will take a decent amount of attention to get rid of. Even after you have treated your roses for black spots, they will likely reoccur. Spraying your plants weekly may help you prevent these spots from coming back. Most gardeners will start to do this during the early spring.

Topical Sprays:

  • Baking Soda: You can dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda with a quart of warm water. From there, you will add one teaspoon of dish soap and mix it thoroughly. Then, you simply need to spray the solution on your leaves. It’s a much better preventative measure than a treatment for already existing black spots. It has been noted that this mixture also provides some protection against powdery mildew.
  • Bordeaux Mix: This mix is a fungus side. It contains hydrated lime and copper sulfate. Most people use it as a powder, but it can also be mixed with water and used as a spray. This mix is good at repelling insects, but you need to be careful because it may burn your leaves. Most people use it as a preventative measure in the spring before new leaves form.
  • Neem Oil: This oil is an organic pesticide and fungicide. It will get into the plant system, which means you

don’t have to worry about coating and re-applying this oil after it rains. You do need to be careful that you don’t get too much on the leaves as it can cause them to burn. Additionally, you should not use neem oil within a couple of weeks after using a sulfur product.

This is only a look at the many different solutions you can use to handle black spots. Each one is going to help prevent and treat this frustrating problem. If you’re still struggling, know that many other solutions may work well, and help keep your rose bushes looking beautiful.


Whether you’re dealing with black spots already or simply want to take preventative measures, know that there are many solutions for you. Paying consistent attention to your rose bushes will keep them in optimal health. You will not have to worry about the look of black spots on their leaves and stems. Instead, you can enjoy the beautiful plant as it grows and adds ambiance to the scenery.

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