Ask a Question forum: Weak stems on roses and hibiscus

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Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Lilies Dog Lover Garden Photography Daylilies
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Nhra_20
Jun 26, 2016 12:35 PM CST
My roses and hibiscus both seem to have really bad stems this year. Sagging and falling to the ground and breaking. All other plants are doing okay. Any idea what could be happening?
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Garden Art Irises Region: Texas Clematis Lilies
Amaryllis Bulbs
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Altheabyanothername
Jun 26, 2016 1:43 PM CST
Hi Dave--Not sure what would cause it unless it is newer canes on the rose bush. Leaves and blooms are heavy and will cause them to droop. I take yarn or garden twine and tie them upright to a support pole. Usually within a season the cane can keep itself upright and I cut the yarn/twine and remove the support pole. I have had to do this with Althea also. Your hibiscus whether tropical or hardy can temporarily supported. Have a joyful week!
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 26, 2016 2:02 PM CST
Dave ...

I can only address the roses as I have never grown hibiscus. If your roses are young plants and the temps are HOT, it is possible to have enough moisture in the root zone for the rose, but the plant is unable to bring enough moisture up to the top growth to keep it from "weeping". That is because the transpiration rate ... the moisture loss through the leaves ... is greater than the amount of moisture the plant can bring up to that part of the plant.

The rose is a fantastic survivor. Instead of trying to get moisture up there, it will abandon parts of the plant that it can't save and will send moisture to the parts it can save, or needs to save, for survival. Older and more mature roses have a larger root mass and can provide moisture to more of the plant's top growth. However, if the plant is stressed for any reason, even an older plant will go into survival mode. Some roses will even go into summer dormancy in extreme heat.

There are a lot of other variables that could also cause what you are seeing, so this is a very general answer to your question.

I don't know your climate and don't know what conditions you are growing your roses in this year. It can vary from year to year.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 27, 2016 1:15 PM CST
Dave - did you fertilize them this spring? Are they near a lawn area that got fertilized, maybe with a weed & feed product? Did you have a heavy, drenching rain recently? Was your winter/spring/summer changeover as abrupt as other parts of WI?
Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Lilies Dog Lover Garden Photography Daylilies
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Nhra_20
Jun 27, 2016 1:32 PM CST
Cindy, i did fertilize the roses with a rose fertilizer. And yes they are close to the yard that i used a weed and feed this spring. I was wondering if that could have been the culprit.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 27, 2016 2:19 PM CST
Dave - the rose fertilizer shouldn't have caused a problem if all of the nutrients were in moderation. I would wonder if the weak stems are a result of growth being too rapid if it there's an excessive amount of foliage on the tops of the stems. It's possible that the weed and feed contributed but hard to say. I would keep any fertilizers away from the plants for the rest of the growing season and make sure they have adequate moisture. I do have a few roses in one of my beds and I don't normally fertilize them except that I did do a remineralization project this spring for the entire bed. Your soil type might indicate how often your roses need nutrition. I have silty loam on top of clay so generally there's enough nutrition in the soil. Sandy soil might need more nutrients.

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