Scotch rose – Rosa pimpinellifolia

A traditional favourite

This wild rose of coastal districts has always been a very popular garden plant. It is a hardy, prickly shrub which will grow anywhere. The clusters of small round flowers have an appealing scent and form black hips in the autumn.




New container-grown shrubs may be planted out now. May: Flowering begins for the ‘Fruhlings’ series of cultivars.



Main flowering season. August:

In good weather, the repeat flowering variety, ‘Stan-well Perpetual’, will continue flowering. Other varieties may have a sparse second flush of blooms.



Hips ripen.

Plant out new shrubs.

Separate suckers from the parent shrub and plant out.



Cut out any damaged branches or any which make the shape of the shrub untidy. Also remove a few of the old stems to allow new growth through.


It is best never to prune a,

Scotch rose but allow it to, grow naturally and develop, as a shrub

Keep your plant tidy by trimming with shears or occasionally thin out old growth by cutting out some of the old stems. This increases air circulation


To prevent ‘rose sickness’ try not to plant a new rose where one has previously grown in the last five years.

When replacing old stock, remove the topsoil to a depth of 40cm, within 50cm of the stem. Infill with fresh soil when planting the new rose.


Varieties are usually only available from specialist growers but container-grown Scotch roses are stocked by some of the larger garden centres.

The Scotch rose is a lover of sandy soils and, despite its name, is usually found in coastal districts all over Europe. It produces a wide variety of highly coloured flowers.

The Scotch rose {Rosa pimpinellifolia) is also known as the burnet rose or Scotch brier. It is usually grown as an informal bush or as a flowering hedge.


Plant out new bare-root specimens in the autumn to get the rose well established before the winter. Container-grown Scotch roses are sometimes available in spring and early summer from good garden centres. Plant these out immediately.

Incorporate some organic manure, such as garden compost, into the soil before planting. Dig a hole deep enough to spread out the roots. Firm down the soil around the stem with your heel and water well. Mulch with a layer of compost over the roots to feed and prevent drying out.

Planting schemes

The Scotch rose is not a very tidy bush, so it is best grown next to other shrubs. Evergreen shrubs are good companions which provide colour when the rose is bare in winter.


The common pink and white forms can be propagated easily by separating off and planting out the suckers. Suckers are new stems which grow directly from the roots. Sever well-grown suckers from the parent plant with a sharp spade in early autumn and plant out immediately.

As sucker-forming plants such as this can become very invasive, cut down any unwanted suckers.



TrOhlingsgold’ (’Spring Gold’), Colour yellow, Height Description (m) 2.5 flowers end of May ‘Friihlingsmorgen’ (’Spring Morning’), pink, 2.5, flowers June and September ‘Golden Wings’, yellow, 1.5, single flowers last into late autumn Hanson’s Yellow’, yellow, 1.5, large double flowers ‘Maigold’, yellow, 3, semi-double flowers, climber Scotch rose, white, pink, 1, species rose ‘Stanwell Perpetual, white, 1.5, double flowers in June-November

Scotch rose


Although it prefers a site with plenty of light, the Scotch rose also tolerates partial shade.


Grows in most soils but does best in light, sandy soil with good drainage.


The Scotch rose is hardy, disease-resistant and does not require pruning beyond tidying up. The only regular care required is the control of aphids in early summer.


Scotch roses are not prone to most pests and diseases, but are susceptible to aphids.

Aphids suck the sap from the stems, causing leaves to buckle and weakening the plant. Inspect the stems and under-sides of leaves for aphids from late spring through to early summer.

If they appear, try washing them off with a jet of water from a garden hose.

Control a severe attack by spraying with an appropriate insecticide, following the instructions carefully.

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