What To Do About Aphids On Roses

Spring is not only the growing time, but unfortunately high season for aphids

We will spot these tiny (1/16-3/8 inch), winged insects feeding on the sap of tender new shoots, mostly on the tips of stems and on developing flower buds. Left untreated the rose buds will deform and fail to open.

Aphids come in with green, brown, red, pink or white color, and if you do not inspect your flowers carefully, you surely will oversee them.

They excrete honeydew, a sticky substance that, if infected, may turn black in a sooty mold.

Aphid control

Sometimes it is not easy to recognize an infested plant. An unmistakable sign is ants marching up and down the rose bush. Ants love honeydew and almost besiege your rose bushes to get that sweet candy.

Prevention And Control Of Aphids


Although these pests can destroy your flowers, they are fragile animals and insecticides should only be the last step to use on your roses.

If you spot them on the plants, you need to act right away and get rid of them. Left alone, they will reproduce rapidly, with a bad ending for the roses.

The mechanical way

Rub of the pests with your fingers or if you find it disgusting, remove them with a sharp jet of water once or twice a day. Repeat that procedure for the next 1-2 weeks. This will discourage any greenfly not killed to come back.

The natural way

The best, easiest and most comfortable way is to encourage ladybugs, lacewings and other beneficial creatures to come to your garden. They will happily do all the work for you and eat any aphids that appear.

For that purpose, plant some Beneficial Bug Wildflowers around the roses to attract the beneficial insects.

Planting some companion plants like garlic, thyme or rosemary can help deter greenfly from the roses.

Treating an Acute Greenfly Problem

To keep roses healthy is probably the best way to avoid insect pests on your plants. That means to feed and water them frequently.

Despite all that, sometimes this annoying pest will return from year to year to feast on your plants.

In that case, I would recommend the following organic approach:

  • Spray dormant oil in early spring to kill overwintering eggs 
  • Use neem oil, made from a renewable resource and does not harm useful insects 
  • Spray the flowers with an organic pesticide such as pyrethrum, which is made from Chrysanthemum. It works quickly; unfortunately, it does not spare beneficial insects 
  • Insecticidal soap, a kind of soft soap but more tolerable to plants. Use it carefully because the compounds can harm the larvae of hoverflies
  • Rapeseed oil is a remedy from a renewable resource. It glues the respiratory organs of the insects and also works against the eggs of the pest. It is considered to go easy on useful insects

Special Case: Potted Roses

For potted roses, the market has special remedies to fight sucking insects.

You can use a rose-plaster attached on the tips of the shoots, or simply insert special plant spikes into the potting soil.

Each compound works effective for a longer period. 

Using pesticides

Last helper in time of need are the plant protection products from the specialist trade. Look for pesticides that spare bees and beneficial insects, and only use these agents targeted and appropriately.

  • Use pesticides only if the infestation is not to control by other actions
  • Note the product instructions
  • Store the plant protection products child and pet resistant
  • Pesticide residues are hazardous waste

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