Rose leafhopper

These small sap-sucking insects cause mottling on the leaves of roses and some other rosaceous trees and shrubs. Vigour of plants is rarely affected. 

Rose leafhopper (<EM>Edwardsiana rosae</EM>) cast skins on rose
Rose leafhopper (Edwardsiana rosae) cast skins on rose

Quick facts

Common name: Rose leafhopper
Scientific name: Edwardsiana rosae
Plants affected: Wild and cultivated roses as well as various other rosaceous trees and shrubs such as hawthorn and rowan
Main symptom: Pale mottling on foliage
Most active: May-September

What is rose leafhopper?

The leafhoppers are a family (Cicadellidae) of sap sucking true bugs, there are more than 180 species found in Britain. They can jump or fly short distances and most do not feed on or cause noticeable damage to garden plants. Find out more about British species from British bugs.

Rose leafhopper feeds on the leaves of roses and some other rosaceous trees and shrubs such as hawthorn and rowan. They readily jump away if disturbed and can cause a mottling on leaves of affected plants, especially those in hot dry situations. They are seldom noticed of any plants but roses in Britain and often do not affect the vigour of garden plants.


Pale, coarse, mottling is seen on the upper leaf surface of roses. Over time, the mottled area can expand leaving foliage looking blanched. Occasionally populations can be large and cause leaves to turn brown and fall prematurely although this is unusual. 


Although the mottling can be obvious roses are often able to withstand large leafhopper populations and where possible damage can be tolerated and treated as part of garden biodiversity. These insects have many natural enemies and in many cases natural processes will limit damage. 

Check roses frequently from spring onwards so action can be taken before a damaging population has developed. When choosing control options you can minimise harm to non-target animals by using the methods in the non-pesticide section below. Pesticide treatments are likely to kill natural enemies and are only likely to be successful if the entire plant can be reached.


  • Tolerate the mottling caused by rose leafhopper it often has no effect on plant vigour or flowering, and the insect is part of the biodiversity gardens  support
  • Encourage predators and other natural enemies of leafhoppers, in the garden, such as birds, ladybirds, wasps and ground beetles


The RHS recommends that you don't use pesticides. Most pesticides (including organic types) reduce biodiversity, including natural enemies, impact soil health and have wider adverse environmental effects.
Where you cannot tolerate rose leafhoppers, manage them using the information above as your first course of action.
Pesticide treatments are likely to kill natural enemies and so reduce the likelihood of natural control and can lead to resurgence of the target animal.
If you do decide to use pesticides, the shorter persistence products (that are usually certified for organic growing) are likely to be less damaging to non-target wildlife.
The pesticides listed are legally available in the UK. This information is provided to avoid misuse of legal products and the use of unauthorised and untested products, which potentially has more serious consequences for the environment and wildlife than when products are used legally.
Always follow the instructions on the products. For edible plants, make sure the food plant is listed on the label and follow instructions on maximum number of applications, spray interval and harvest interval.
Homemade products are not recommended as they are unregulated and usually untested.
Be aware that products such as Neem oil are not registered for use in the UK and we cannot advise on their use.
Plants in flower must not be sprayed due to the danger to bees and other pollinating insects.

  • Organic sprays, such as natural pyrethrum (e.g. Bug Clear Ultra 2, Neudorff Bug Free Bug and Larvae Killer) or plant oils (e.g. Vitax Plant Guard Pest & Disease Control, Bug Clear Fruit & Veg, Vitax Rose Guard) have a largely physical mode of action. These are broad spectrum so will kill a wide range of insects. Several applications of these short persistence products may be necessary to give good control. Plant oil and fatty acid products are less likely to affect larger insects
  • Plant invigorators combine nutrients to stimulate plant growth with surfactants or fatty acids that have a physical mode of action against lacebugs (e.g. Ecofective Bug Control, Growing Success Bug Stop, SB Plant Invigorator and RoseClear 3 in 1 Action). These products contain some synthetic ingredients and so are not considered organic
  • Further information about the use of pesticides available for management of pieris lacebug is available on the pesticides for gardeners leaflet
Inclusion of a pesticide product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by RHS Gardening Advice. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.


Pesticides for gardeners (link downloads pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)


The pale yellow adult rose leafhoppers are 3.5-4mm long and sit with their wings folded back over their bodies. When disturbed, the adults readily jump and fly short distances. The leafhoppers overwinter as eggs inserted in the leaves and young shoots which hatch in May. The creamy white immature stages, known as nymphs, then begin to feed on the lower leaf surface. They reach the adult stage in July and lay eggs which hatch to produce a second generation.  Overwintering eggs are laid in the autumn but in mild areas the adults may live until late winter.

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