Rose Flowers Failing to Open

by Cindy
(Winston-Salem, NC, USA)

Sorry I do not have a photo. I have a rose bush, no idea what type, pale pink & softly aromatic. The leaves look very healthy, not being eaten by insects so far, many buds and blooms.


The blooms, however, do not seem to open fully and gorgeously before they start to turn brownish.

I have no real knowledge of caring for roses, they get pruned and I let them go, other than spraying for disease just before blooms start to grow.

Could it be too much water? It has rained quite a bit lately, here in central North Carolina. I'm sure they've not been given any rose food (?), maybe that is what they need? Thanks! ~ Cindy

Botanical Journeys Plant Guides

There are 2 possibilities. Your rose is either suffering from a disorder called failure to open or is infested by thrips insects.

Failure to Open:

This is an incurable rose problem. It occurs most often in wet weather.

The buds will grow to full size but as they begin to open the outer petals will turn brown and prevent the bud from fully opening. You end up with a bush full of ugly brownish flower balls.

Some rose varieties are more vulnerable to this disorder than others. If your rose bush does this for 3 years in a row, shovel prune it and plant another cultivar.

Thrips Pests:

Thrips are minute insects that feed on rose flowers as they develop. The feeding of flower thrips on roses cause the blooms to form improperly and can prevent them from opening.

There are several insecticides you can use to kill rose thrips.

There are natural insecticides for rose thrips (the Spinosad below) but just about any systemic pesticide that is formulated for use on roses will kill them.



Cindy, it is a good idea to go ahead and feed your rose bush. Well fed roses resist pests and rose diseases better than malnourished plants.

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May 24, 2011
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Thanks for your help
by: Cindy

Well this is a bummer, as it has been sprayed for pests, so that leaves failure to open. Guess I'll get out the shovel. Thanks for your help!

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