Rose Replant Disease

posted this on 18 Jul 2016

Why does Rose Replant disease occur? roses

Rose replant disease (sometimes called rose sickness) occurs when a new rose is bought to replace an old one and is planted in the same soil. It is generally considered that the cause is a combination of soil imbalance caused by the removal of trace elements from the soil by the old rose and a natural build-up within the soil of fungal root diseases and soil micro-pests, although rose replant disease is not perfectly understood. When talking to customers on the phone I always draw a parallel with what would happen to a new born baby deprived of all vitamins and exposed to a range of airborne diseases. If it did not die, it would probably be unwell....

Rose replant is always quite obvious, however, as the new rose looks increasingly poorly. It generally dies or else takes years to recover. When removed from the ground the roots will not have put on much growth and most of the finer roots will have rotted away.


Is there a cure for Rose replant disease?

There is no topical cure for rose sickness, as the problem is below ground. By the time the problem has been recognized it will be too late and there is little point in moving the rose as it will already be sickly and so will struggle to establish.


Avoiding Rose replant disease

The following procedure should be followed whenever a rose is planted where another rose was previously grown. (By the way - the best advice is - don't if you can help it)

  • Ensure the planting hole is considerably wider and deeper than the spread of the roots – allowing 1” below the graft.
  • Always use soil from another part of the garden or a bag of John Innes No 3 as this is sterilized and weed free.
  • Before back filling around the rose use a scoopful of Root Grow and ensure that it is in full contact with the roots. Myccorhizal fungi attach themselves to the plant roots and spread out forming a secondary root system and living symbiotically with the rose, improving the uptake of soil nutrients.
  • Back fill and mulch with compost or well rotted manure.
  • To encourage your new rose to establish well top dress with a high nitrogen fertilizer in the spring. It should also be watered well during dry spells and mulched in spring and autumn.



Rose Sickness taking hold of an area. Image courtesy of



Back to advice on growing roses

By Julian de Bosdari

Categories: Rose Advice
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