Wild rose – Bringing nature into the garden

There are about 150 species of wild rose, with an array of unusual leaves, flowers and autumn hips, and some are even grown for their decorative thorns. Many grow as well in the garden as they do in the wild.



Apply rose fertilizer according to manufacturer’s instructions.


Buy and plant container-grown specimens. Keep well-watered for first year. June:

Main flowering season. Spray against aphids if necessary. Keep weed free.




Hips appear. November:

Plant bare-root specimens, working compost into the soil beforehand.



Mulch (cover the ground) with a layer of good garden compost.


For a colourful hedge, Spectacular flowers: (plant 1m apart):, R. hugonis (soft yellow)

R. pomifera ‘Duplex’, R. moyesii Eddie’s Jewel’ (deep red) R. setipoda, A’, xanthina ‘Canary Bird’ (yellow)

R. californica ‘Plena’,

R. pimpinellifolia ‘Altaica’, For scented foliage: , R. primula (incense-scented)

Medium varieties (about 2m high):, R. rubiginosa (R. eglanteria) (sweetbriar with R. ecae ‘Helen Knight’, strong apple scent)

R.glauca (R. rubrifoUa),

R. moyesii ‘Geranium’, For interesting thorns and colourful R. sericea f. pteracantha, leaves and stems:

R. xanthina ‘Canary Bird’, R.glauca (R. rubrifoUa) (greyish-purple leaves R. primula, and red steins) , R. sericea f. pteracantha (large, translucent

Tall varieties (3m high):, red thorns)

R. ‘Cantabrigensis’,

R. hugonis, For the best hips:

R. ‘Highdownensis’, R. pomifera ‘Duplex’

R. moyesii, R. moyesii ‘Geranium’ , R. macrophyUa

W ild roses grow in any temperate climate. Most varieties grown in Britain are large plants, up to 3m high, suited to shrub borders or wild areas of the garden.

Like all roses, wild species need a good start in life with plenty of organic compost worked into the soil before planting. A planting mixture (obtainable from all good garden centres) helps to establish a plant quickly if placed around the roots.

Planting times

Plant wild roses in the autumn as bare-root plants. To ensure you get the variety you want, order the previous summer from a specalist nursery. Alternatively, buy container-grown plants from a garden centre in the spring or summer, but you may not see the full range of varieties at this time of the year. Be careful that you buy from a good source, as some varieties of wild rose cannot be relied upon to flower and produce a good harvest of hips.


Wild roses do not normally require any watering. However, any newly planted roses, particularly container-grown plants, benefit from a good soaking in their first year.



Plant any roses in deep shade.

Plant in wet, boggy conditions.

Prune wild roses.

Deadhead wild roses.

Plant new plants where old roses have been growing unless you change the soil. -Wild rose-


Plenty of sun, tolerates afternoon shade. Sheltered, but not so enclosed that air cannot circulate.


Good, loamy soil which is well drained. Chalk is not ideal, but if you have rhododendrons in your garden wild roses will thrive, too.


Wild roses look after themselves in the countryside, so they are easy to maintain in the garden. Feed with a rose fertilizer in spring. Keep weed free and cut out dead wood.



Sun or partial shade May-July; hips in , September, depending

HEIGHT:, on variety.

Up to 3m, depending on, variety SOIL: , Fertile; well-drained.


Virtually all wild roses are disease free and do not require any spraying. They sometimes attract greenfly, in which case a seasonal spray may be necessary. In country areas, rabbits, hares and deer can nibble the young plants, so net them until they are established.


You can use wild roses to make a delightful, fragrant, flowering hedge. Choose forms such as which have colourful flowers and hips, and plant them about 1m apart.

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