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Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom

I have a mature floribunda rose bush in my garden. I've followed Alan Titchmarsh's advice and pruned it over the last two years to create an open vase shape. However the new growth produces long stems which initially look nice but when flowers appear many of them hang upside-down with the weight. Is there any way I can prevent this from happening by pruning in a different way? Or do I need to prop these stems up with canes which wouldn't look very good...

Also, I've noticed some circular holes in some of the leaves and some new growth is covered in greenfly or aphids. I've tried wiping them off and spraying them with soapy water (which I heard was a good trick) but it hasn't been especially effective. Does anyone have a cheap and effective way of getting rid of these pests?

Any help would be most appreciated,

On plant Floribunda rose



The trick to using soapy water is to use an organic soap--to prevent buildup in the soil--spray thoroughly--it only kills the aphids it touches--and spray frequently--it has no residual effect, and any aphids that you miss will multiply fast. As for the droopy flowers,that may be signs of a potash deficiency, or it may be natural to the variety that you are using. Circular holes may be the result of solitary bees, which cut the leaves to line their nests. Not much effective on them, since they don't actually eat the leaves, and they are very good pollinators of vegetable and commercial crops anyway. I usually tell people to ignore the holes, and enjoy the benefits of the bug that made them.

17 Jul, 2011


Thanks for your help Tugbrethil. If the holes are from bees I don't mind, I do my best to encourage wildlife into my garden. I'll look into getting some fertilizer to see if that helps and I'll keep up with the soap spray, organic of course!

19 Jul, 2011


Good luck, then, Chris! If you haven't been feeding, that may be 9/10 of the problem--roses, even Floribundas, are among the hungriest of plants.

22 Jul, 2011

How do I say thanks?

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