The Q&A Archives: Iceberg Rose Problems

Question: I have two iceberg roses, and they both seem to have very slight pink rims on the blooms, but not all of them, necessarily. I am completely new to this. Also, the blooms once they are completely open seem to start shedding petals immediately, while still on the bush, is this normal? I have had these particular roses for only a month. One last item. These roses also seem to have a white, what looks to be a powdery substance on the stem just below the bloom, the length being maybe a 1/2 inch, it does not cover the whole length of the stem. The major watering is done at the ground level, however they are close to our lawn, so when the lawn gets watered with the sprinkler system, they do get a bit of overhead watering. Because of this we are trying to limit the grass watering to early morning hours, so as to give the roses plenty of time to dry in the sun, which they are in almost all day long, they are south facing in a very open area.

Thank you for any information you can give me, like I said I am a total novice.

Answer: It's possible the pink rims on your Iceberg roses is quite natural. A true Iceberg has white petals, but soil conditions or fertilization can change things a bit. Iceberg flowers profusely over a long season so dropping petals is a common occurance. (The plant is putting as much energy as possible into developing new blooms, so that once a rose has matured, it's ignored by the plant.) Cut the spent flowers and stems back so you'll get additional blooms. If you want the roses to last, cut them from the plant just as they begin to open and place them in a vase of water. The white substance on the leaves is probably powdery mildew, a common problem with roses. Believe it or not, many rose growers actually sprinkle the leaves in the morning in an effort to wash the spores from the leaves before they become established. Try to prune the plant to improve air circulation, and pick off any affected leaves as soon as you see them, to prevent the spread to healthy plant parts. If all else fails, there are some chemical fungicides that can be used to control powdery mildew.

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