Possums love roses
Other pests include Aphids – rife at certain times of the year but easy to kill. Caterpillars – not so common, and usually don’t do major damage. Rose beetles – who chew the leaves and can chew the buds and destroy them.
Don’t forget Possums – who adore every part of the rose, and will eventually stunt or kill the rose bush by repeated chewing. It is amazing how many leaves and flowers one critter can eat in one night. No wonder our native forests are endangered by them.
Rabbits and hares also wreak havoc with low growth and basal shoots, although they seem to prefer a varied diet and will not usually focus on roses as much as possums do.
Drastic action is necessary if you have possums visiting you at night. They have to be killed before they kill your roses. Traps, poison or shooting are the main options. It’s a constant battle, but sadly in New Zealand, a necessary one.
Thrips come in a multitude of varieties. The one found commonly in roses is the Californian Flower Thrip. A specimen or 2 can frequently be found in any pale rose flower in spring/summer, a small scurrying insect of little interest to anyone…until they reach plague proportions!!! These little darlings favour pale roses, white being the favourite, followed by cream , yellow, orange, pink etc etc. The adults fly in the evening and swarm above the bushes having unadulterated sex, before laying their eggs in rose buds and coming into the house to die in messy profusion. The eggs hatch quickly and start sucking rose petal juice, then when the rose opens they jump out onto the ground to pupate and hatch the next night. In small doses they are of no concern whatsoever, but en masse they cause the bloom to prematurely spoil and possibly spoil the rose grower’s life and/or sanity. I am happy to say I haven’t had a plague of thrips in recent years, and will be very happy if I never have one again!