Rose Mosaic Virus

Q: Last year I purchased a climbing ‘Constance Spry’ rose which really grew quite large, over 15 feet, in one season. This year I have noticed that many of the leaves have yellow speckling and the very, very few flowers that have appeared so far are deformed.

A: I bear bad news. Your rose has mosaic virus. Like human viruses, there is no cure for plant diseases caused by a virus. A plant virus is spread by insects; your problem could even have come with the rose when you purchased it.

The cure for rose mosaic virus is severe: pull up and destroy the plant. Nothing you can do will bring it back to health. The longer you keep it in your garden, the longer insects have to infect other roses in the neighborhood.

Personally, I’d call the vendor and ask for a replacement. One year is mighty quick for a clean rose to become infected with a virus, especially if you have no virus-infected roses in your garden.

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