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Talkback: Growing roses - rose diseases

Even on a drizzly day like today I go out in the garden and inspect my roses and take off and dispose of any leaves with blackspot on. I've never needed to spray in this garden for the 47 years I have been growing roses. My "Albertine","Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother", "Matisse", "Iceberg" and Bourbon roses are making a splendid, fragrant display as well as the ramblers I do not know the name of as they were in the garden when I came. But my favourites are the early ones, "Canary Bird" and the Banksian rose which never seem to have any disease.


  • On one of my rose bushes, white foam-like stuff appears. It will wash away when I water the bush, but will reappear somewhere else on the bush the following day. Can anyone tell me what this may be, and what I should do, if anything? Thank-you. The rosebush otherwise looks really healthy and it is at present flowering more than it has done in previous years.
  • This is called cuckoo spit, lijemc, and , apart from being a little unsightly, will not harm your rose. Inside each froth you will find a tiny nymph which is immature. The adults live on the bush but do no harm. You are doing the right thing by washing the spit away.
  • Reply to lijemc: Yes, happymarion is right. The tiny green nymph inside the cuckoo spit is the immature stage of an insect called the froghopper – getting its name because the adult jumps away like a frog if you try and touch it. Some people call this white froth 'spittle-bug'.

    This insect doesn't really do any harm, although any insect feeding on plant sap can introduce virus disease.

    You can simply rub them away between your fingers, or blast off with a jet of soapy water.

    A hedge of lavender near my home is covered with them, but within a month them will have gone.
  • Check this link to a BBC information site for more details about Cuckoo Spit and Froghoppers:
  • Thank-you Happymarion and Adam, that's reassured me.
  • my fatsia plant is infested with ants what has caused this and how can i make it better. leaves are not looking good either.
  • For the last couple of years two of three roses (no idea how old - I inherited them when we moved here 4 years ago) planted in a clump on my clay soil have grown pale pinky yellow, spindly mis-shapen growth in the spring and the flower buds that form are immature and do not develop properly, opening to small, mis-shapen and blackened-tipped flowers. They remind me a little of the twisted growth I sometimes get on my blackcurrants. I have fed the borders and mulched with manure and last year cut off the twisted growth to no avail. I have many other roses growing without any problems in the garden. Any ideas what I am doing wrong?
  • Hi Denise, could it be that the ants are feeding on aphids that are on your fatsia? If you deal with the aphids (I use watred down washing up liquid in a spray gun) you may get rid of the ants. Of course, you then need to think about what has attracted the aphids - over feeding with nitrogen can cause lush green growth attractive to sap-suckers, perhaps it is not in the best position so is not doing as well as it could thus more susceptible to disease/infestation?
  • We inherited some rose bushes in our garden and all of them have blackspot. I have tried spraying them early in the season and removing infected leaves but i just cant get on top of it. Should i just give up on them and buy new? My garden is very damp no matter what the weather. So i dont really want to buy new ones if they are going to go the same way/
  • 2 years ago I started spraying my roses with a sulphur powder purchased online. You mix it with water & spray monthly on the plants & on the ground. My roses are noticeably healthier with little or no blackspot whereas previously by July they were almost bare of leaves.
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