Fighting against aphids on roses: The best methods

Garden Life
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In gardening circles, the month of June is called the “rose month” because of its traditional blossoming within this period. To ensure your roses reach this peak flowering period, it is recommended you protect against pests such as aphids.

From April to May, aphids multiply tremendously due to the dry, hot weather conditions. Typical damage caused by aphids are deformed and discoloured leaves that are also shiny and sticky in their composition. This damage is sustained when an aphid inserts its proboscis into the plant to reach the sap. This is then excreted as honeydew, which encourages black spot fungus to develop and attracts other insects.

Preventing aphid infestation

Prevention needs to start when purchasing your roses. Buying healthy, strong plants is essential. They must have a well-rooted ball, at least three propagation stems and healthy green leaves.
In the case of bare-rooted roses, choose those with undamaged propagation stems and as many fine hair roots as possible. This area is particularly important as strong growth is advantageous against pests.
Cultivation based upon natural processes and using different types of plant compilations (e.g. roses with lavender or onions) are also helpful against pests. Excessive amounts of fertiliser (with nitrogen) or water deficits promote aphid attacks, so please observe the planting and care guidelines when buying rose bushes.

Fighting aphids

Natural methods of control
• Aphids have a whole host of natural predators that are found in your garden; earwigs, hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds to name but a few. Deadwood corners, insect hotels or lacewing boxes provide beneficial organisms with a good opportunity of setting in your garden. When there is a large range of food available, these aphid hunters can multiply in number, lessening the severity of aphid infestation. Ensure you can provide the beneficial organisms with optimum conditions. For example; an organised garden in which plant protection is constantly used is not beneficial for insects such as ladybirds, so alter your gardening accordingly.
• If the infestation is small, collect aphids by hand or alternatively rinse them off with a strong jet of water. Repeat the procedure as many times as necessary. Afterwards, ensure the plants are well ventilated for recovery.
• Soap solution: Mix 1 tablespoon of unscented soap with 1 litre of water. Spray the rose over several days with this mixture.
• Stinging nettle decoration: Use over several days until the affected areas are free of aphids.
• Remove badly damaged parts of the rose.


• Neem: A natural pesticide which can be sprayed over roses. It inhibits egg-laying, preventing progeny but be sure to use early on to obtain good results.
• Use chemical pesticide according to the instructions. It penetrates the plant and is absorbed by the aphids via the sap. Only use in exceptional cases as pesticides are harmful to the environment.