Blind Shoots on Roses: Causes, and How to Fix and Prevent It

You can take a lot of pleasure in casting a dreamy eye over your roses and rose buds. But sometimes you see a rose shoot that has no buds. They are the “blind shoots on roses”.

So here’s how to identify the rose blind shoots. And once you know what to look for, then what to do with blind shoots on roses.

Blind shoots on roses are the result of a variety of factors, including weather conditions and nutrient deficiencies. Their presence can indicate underlying issues with the health or vigor of your plant. Trim blind shoots off your roses, add nutrients, and water correctly to keep them healthy.

To address future blind shoots on roses, you may need to provide increased sunlight for your roses and make sure they have access to adequate water and nutrients.

That’s the quick roundup, but let’s dive into more about the possible causes, identifying them, the fix for them, and more. First of all, what are we talking about?

What are blind shoots on roses exactly?

Blind shoots are small, blind shoots that appear on roses. These blind shoots develop when the bud has aborted or stopped developing. This will happen for a variety of reasons, including weather conditions and nutrient deficiencies.

According to a study by the nalc, tests indicated that blind shoots on roses are a result of physiological conditions, rather than genetic or pathological conditions.

The steps I’m outlining in this article are based on the findings of that study and other related research. Plus it works for me, so it’s a good place to start.

So how do you know what to look for? Here’s how to identify blind shoots on roses.

In the image below from my rose garden, I’ve highlighted a blind shoot on the left, plus a budding shoot on the right so you can see a difference. Among also some shoots that have already flowered.

blind shoots on roses vs budding shoots
the above image outlines blind shoots on roses vs budding shoots, plus final full flowering shots

How to identify blind shoots on roses

  • Look for small blind shoots that are appearing on the stems of your roses.
  • If there is a bud at the tip of the blind shoot, it is called a blind shoot bud. This means that the entire shoot will be “blind”, rather than just some leaves or buds along its length.
  • You will find these mostly on the outward-facing side of stems.
  • Where blind shoots are unchecked, you may find a string of aborted shoots rising up the same stem
blind shoots - a string of aborted shoots on roses
blind shoots – the above image shows a string of aborted shoots on roses

Causes for blind shoots on roses

There are several possible causes for blind shoots on roses, these are poor soil quality, nutrient deficiencies, or in some cases, extreme weather conditions such as drought or frost.

For example, if your roses experience frost or cold snaps during the spring and fall, this can cause blind shoots to develop.

If you notice blind shoots appearing on your roses, it is important to take steps to address the underlying cause and prevent further damage to your plants.

Once you’ve spotted one blind shoot, then you can usually identify further blind shoots much more quickly.

According to the nalcd study, rose buds flower within 45 days, whereas blind shoots cease at around 30 days. This gives us a good guide to use if we’re in any doubt about real vs blind shoots on roses.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure if it’s a blind shoot or not, then it’s worth waiting up to 14 days. If there are still no real buds apparently growing then it makes sense to trim the shoot.

How to deal with blind shoots on roses

There are steps you can take to address blind shoots on roses.

You will often get blind spots on roses as a matter of course. But if there are more than expected, then there are some common remedies you can adopt and try out to see what works for you.

I tend to follow the same routine each time which is as follows. Steps 1 – 3 begin with some general clearing and rose care steps. Then step 4 onward tackles the blind shoot issue.

  1. Identify and trim blind shoots on roses, honing in on any roses suffering more than others.
  2. Prune or cut back blind shoots to the nearest next bud shoot.
  3. Where possible, trim down obstructions to increase sunshine.
  4. Add fertilizers and other soil amendments (mostly Nitrogen) to promote healthy growth.
  5. Ensure you are watering your roses regularly to keep them well-hydrated.
  6. Finally, monitor to see if these steps have prevented blind spots on roses from appearing further.

Depending on the cause of your blind shoots, you may also want to try using certain natural or chemical remedies.

For example, if blind spots are caused by pests and insects in your garden, you may want to consider using organic pesticides or repellents to get rid of them. I’ve created a helpful article on how to get rid of aphids on roses.

General care to prevent further blind shoots on roses

At the end of the day, the best way to prevent blind shoots on roses from occurring is by taking good care of your plants. This includes providing them with the right soil, light, and water conditions, as well as fertilizing and pruning them regularly to promote healthy growth.

So to help further with this topic, check my other articles on when to water roses, and watering roses in hot weather. And as nutrition is an important aspect of blind shoots on roses, check my article on the best NPK ratio for roses, and the best loam soil for roses.

Overall, if you want to maintain beautiful roses that are largely free from blind shoots, all that’s needed is a bit of time and effort to care for them properly.

How to stop blind shoots on roses in future

If blind shoots are caused by frost or cold snaps, then taking steps to protect your plants from future cold weather is key.

This may involve using winter covers, adding extra mulch or soil around the base of your roses, and choosing varieties that are more resistant to harsh conditions.

If blind shoots are caused by other factors such as pests or disease, then you may need to take extra steps to treat and prevent them.

This could include using organic pest control methods like neem oil or citronella, being vigilant about checking your plants for signs of disease and applying any needed treatments as soon as possible.

aphids on rose bush
aphids on a rose bush

Blind shoots on roses ~ More roses help 🌹

I hope this has helped answer your questions regarding blind shoots on roses. Be sure to check out my other articles on rose care and maintenance for more tips and advice.

And if you have any additional questions or need help identifying blind shoots on your roses, feel free to reach out to a local gardener or plant specialist for guidance. Good luck!

me and my climbing rose
I love climbing roses
michael - rosehow

Hi, I’m Michael. My passion for roses was sparked a few years ago after visiting a dedicated community rose garden. So represents my take, my learnings, and my help for anyone looking to grow, be proud of, and harvest roses.