The rose (Rosa spp.) plant is a fragrant flowering perennial with prickly stems. Native to Asia, the rose often suffers from insect infestations. With preventative techniques and homemade remedies and repellents, you can keep your rose plants safe from harmful insects. Roses are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 to 10.
Insects Attracted to Roses
Unfortunately, a plethora of insects are attracted to roses. Some damaging insects include aphids, beetles, mites, thrips, scales, slugs, leafhoppers, caterpillars and grasshoppers. Many of these insects are difficult to see. Rose plants with holes on the leaves, a waxy or dusty appearance and unhealthy blooms may be suffering from insect infestation.
Companion planting, a gardening technique used to promote optimal growth and pest reduction, often works well in protecting roses against harmful insects. The smell of certain plants such as onion (Allium cepa) repels bugs from rose plants. Keep your garden stocked with beneficial insects such as ladybugs, which help keep populations of damaging insects low.
Homemade Pungent Insecticide
A homemade insect repellent safe to use on your rose plants can be made with strong smelling ingredients like garlic, onion or chili peppers. Simply chop a handful of one or all of these ingredients and allow them to set over night in a gallon of water. Spray your roses twice a week until the problem subsides. Reapply after rainfall. Damaging insects such as aphids and beetles are repelled by the smell and taste of these ingredients and will stay away from your rose blooms.
Homemade Soap Insecticide
To keep thrips away from roses, try making a homemade spray out of one tablespoon of dish soap and 1 gallon of water. Spray your roses every five to seven days to control the problem. Soap based insecticides should not be used when temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cautions and Considerations
Supervise children at all times when handling rose plants. Use gloves when planting or caring for roses to prevent thorn injuries. Wear gloves when mixing applying homemade sprays, especially if you used hot peppers in your recipe.