60518Compared to extensively bred garden varieties, wild roses are not much to look at. Their tiny flowers do not get much wider than two inches, and may not get much wider than those of blackberry, with only about five petals. Flower color ranges only between pale luminescent white and pale pink. Bloom is typically rather brief in mid spring. Only a few healthy specimens bloom again later.

The main advantage to wild roses is that they are ‘wild’. Once established, they do not need much more water than they get from annual rainfall. Without pruning, canes of larger varieties develop into intimidating thickets that bloom annually. Smaller types stay short, but are intimidatingly thorny nonetheless. The deciduous foliage is not bothered too much by mildew, blackspot or insects.

Some types of wild roses appreciate a bit of pampering that might be offensive to other wild plants and most natives. Winter pruning, occasional summer watering, and perhaps a bit of fertilizer improve bloom. Alternatively, pruning after spring bloom may stimulate a second phase of bloom. Long canes can grow roots where they touch the ground, and grow into new spreading plants.

6 thoughts on “Wild Roses

  1. Thanks for that, it was very interesting. I think I have a bush of these in a neighbouring garden. They are white, small bushes and full of wonderful flowers. I had a check on my plantsnap and they said they were “scotch roses” which might be another name for the same. We now have mid spring and they are flowering wonderfully. Don’t know if this photo will work

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    1. ‘Scotch Roses’ are likely another species. They are all roses, but there are different species in different regions. Ours has a broad natural range, but is not likely the same as any of those native to Europe.

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  2. What you say about native wild roses is exactly right — at least, in my experience, which is minimal. I was lucky enough to find wild roses on a Kansas prairie once, but that’s about it. On the other hand, there’s the Macartney rose, which is big, bold, brash, and willing to take over the world if given half a chance. Its blooms are so dramatic and it blooms so prolifically I’ve heard more than one person say, “Oh, I’d love to have that in my garden!” Bad move.

    (Note: the high school kids running the website I linked did misspell the name of the rose slightly, but their information’s right and the photos are good. I’m going to call the school today and see if I can’t get information about the misspelling to them.)

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    1. Although our native wild rose does not seem to be aggressive, it spreads by stolons, which can be a bit abundant. I am currently pulling up many of them, in a spot where they were allowed to go wild for quite a while. It is a lot of work, but in the end, they should be manageable. They only did it because they were ignored for so long.

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  3. I like wild roses. We acquired quite a collection of them years ago at the nursery for a wild rose garden but the person who labelled them used a marker that washed completely off, causing quite a few problems. Most of them seemed to be quite slow to reach a decent size in our climate.

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