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The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

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True to their name, wild roses are extremely robust and beguile with a wonderful scent. We introduce you to the 20 most beautiful wild rose species.

The genus of roses ( Rosa ) can look back on a long breeding history, from which many different varieties have emerged. The origin of this success story was formed by the wonderfully fragrant but extremely prickly wild roses that grow in many parts of the world. As with other rose plants (Rosaceae) – for example apples ( Malus x domestica ), cherries ( Prunus avium & Prunus cerasus ), or medlar ( Mespilus germanica ) – the original five-part flower can be seen very well in the wild roses.

Nutritious rose hips later develop from these. Therefore, wild roses are extremely sought after not only by gardeners but also by insects and birds. The low maintenance requirements and the high disease resistance speak in favor of planting a wild rose in the garden. The undemanding, vigorous plants are also suitable for fastening slopes and embankments, as well as for planting a windbreak or bird hedge. Half-double and double-grown rose varieties, on the other hand, are often no longer fertile and often cannot convince with their robustness.

Wild roses come in many different colors and shapes – it is not that easy to decide on a type. In the following list, we give an overview of the 20 best known and most beautiful wild rose species and their properties.

Ash rose ( Rosa blanda )

This large-flowered, pink-red wild rose comes from the east of North America and has almost no thorns. It becomes about 300 cm high and just as wide when old. The blooming period of up to 6 cm large flowers extends from June to July. The ash rose prefers moist, sunny, and stony locations with a neutral to strongly alkaline pH value.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Dog rose ( Rosa canina )

The dog rose is a native wild rose with bowl-shaped, white-pink flowers and a light fragrance, which forms scarlet rose hips in autumn. The hardy, heat, and drought-tolerant dog rose blooms from late May to July. It has an upright growth of up to 300 cm with arching, overhanging, strongly prickly shoots. The dog rose is undemanding in terms of location, it only grows poorly on waterlogged soils. It also thrives on nutrient-poor and dry soils with a weakly acidic to alkaline pH. Well-drained, dry to fresh and deep, humus-rich locations are preferred.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Meadow rose/sand rose ( Rosa carolina )

The meadow rose is also called the Carolina rose because it comes from eastern North America. The small wild rose is just 100 cm high and shows thin, straight spines on the upright shoots. The flowering period of the pink flowers extends from July to August. It shows orange-red to yellow foliage in autumn and forms many runners, which is ideal for fastening embankments. The optimal location for the meadow rose is moderately dry to moist with a strongly acidic to neutral pH value.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Wedge-leaved rose ( Rosa elliptica )

Rosa elliptica comes from Central Europe and occurs there in the foothills of the Alps. Closely related to Rosa rubiginosa, the wedge-leaved rose also shares the apple scent of the leaves with it. The light pink flowers of the wild rose form elongated rose hips in autumn – after the flowering period from June to July. The prickly wedge-leaved rose grows up to 200 cm high and prefers sunny, stony, and calcareous locations.

Vinegar rose ( Rosa gallica )

The vinegar rose or apothecary rose is at home in deciduous forests and on dry meadows in Central and Southern Europe. It is an old useful plant from Roman times – vinegar rose water or oils were made from the vinegar rose. The pink wild rose, which blooms from June to July, has a strong scent. It grows bushy upright with overhanging shoots up to 120 cm high. The vinegar rose loves humus-rich, well-drained soils, tolerates shade, and shows good leaf health. It is also suitable for planting in pots.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Northern pike rose ( Rosa glauca )

This native wild rose is also known as the red-leaved rose and from June shows bowl-shaped, light pink-red to purple-red flowers and later a strong fruity hang. The foliage of the bushy upright rose shimmers bluish in summer. It reaches heights of 150 to 250 cm, is robust and easy to care for.

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Rosa glauca prefers well drained, dry to moderately moist soils. The pike rose is a wild rose that is true to its location and does not form runners.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Chinese golden rose ( Rosa hugonis )

The Chinese golden rose is one of the rare yellow wild roses. It comes from China and blooms as early as May. Black and red rose hips adorn the plant in autumn. It grows broadly bushy, overhanging, and reaches heights of growth of up to 200 cm. The Chinese golden rose loves deep, nutrient-rich, moderately dry to moist soils. Due to its origin, it is only partially hardy and needs protection in cold winters.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Cinnamon rose ( Rosa majalis )

The cinnamon rose is a native wild rose species with cinnamon-colored, prickly shoots and a height of up to 150 cm. From May to June it forms slightly fragrant, dark pink flowers and later large, spherical rose hips. The cinnamon rose thrives in fresh to wet soils with a high supply of nutrients and is extremely hardy.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Small-flowered rose ( Rosa micrantha )

The small-flowered rose is a rare, indigenous climbing wild rose with small, light pink to whitish flowers and a special fragrance. In autumn, deep red fruits are spherical to oval-shaped. The wild rose grows densely bushy and upright with overhanging shoots. It grows up to 350 cm high, is undemanding, winter-proof, and also suitable for poor and rocky locations.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Soft rose ( Rosa mollis )

The soft rose is common in Central Europe and Asia Minor. From June to July, soft pink flowers 5 cm in size appear on the soft rose. The soft, hairy, young leaves are eponymous for the 100 to 150 cm high wild bush rose, which has thin, straight spines. The Soft Rose is not demanding of the soil, but it does best in a sunny spot.

Mandarin rose ( Rosa moyesii )

This red-blooming wild rose is also called the red tufted rose and is of Chinese origin. It inspires with its numerous blood-red flowers and striking stamens. Flowering begins in June, and bottle-shaped rose hips form in autumn. The hardy mandarin rose is characterized by its wide-spreading growth and heights of up to 200 cm. It grows best in sunny to partially shaded locations with well-drained and nutrient-rich soils.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Rosa multiflora 

The tufted rose is a hardy, white wild rose that occurs in Japan, Korea, and China and has numerous flowers in panicles. It smells strongly of honey when it blooms between June and July and forms rose hips the size of a pea. The wild rose is up to 300 cm high on average. But it can climb up to 500 cm and form arching, overhanging, slender, slightly prickly to unreinforced shoots. The tufted rose loves well-drained soils with an acidic to neutral pH value. On calcareous soils, however, there is an iron deficiency in the form of yellowing (chlorosis) of the young leaves.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Gloss rose ( rosa nitida )

This type of rose comes from the east of North America. The gloss rose is a low wild rose with a height of only 80 cm and strong runners. It is therefore very suitable for fastening embankments. The shiny, dark green foliage gave the wild rose its name. Its small flowers shine in bright pink from June to July. The ideal location for the glossy rose is sunny, moderately dry to moist, with a pH value from acidic to neutral.

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As with Rosa multiflora, iron deficiency chlorosis quickly develops on calcareous soils.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Alpine dog rose ( Rosa pendulina )

The slightly fragrant wild rose is also known as the hanging fruit rose and shows a compact growth of up to 200 cm in height with barely prickly, overhanging shoots. Its insect-friendly flowers are deep purple-pink, later bottle-shaped, red rose hips are formed. The robust wild rose species also grow in higher altitudes, is robust, undemanding in terms of location, and extremely hardy. Some varieties have already been selected from this species, such as ‘Plena’, ‘Harstadt’ or ‘Mount Everest’.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Dune Rose ( Rosa pimpinellifolia )

The native, white blooming wild rose grows up to 100 cm high and forms prickly-bristle shoots. The one-centimeter rose hips are strikingly black-brown in color. The dune rose is one of the most robust wild roses that can not harm heat, drought, frost, or permanent wind. The undemanding dune rose loves calcareous locations with a neutral to strongly alkaline pH value on dry to fresh and nutrient-poor soils.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Wine rose ( Rosa rubiginosa )

It is also known as the Scottish fence rose but is also common all over Germany. The wild rose has simple, bowl-shaped flowers in a light carmine-pink with dark veins. The leaves smell strongly of apple and wine. The wind rose shows a dense, upright growth with slightly overhanging shoots up to 350 cm in height. The shoots are heavily spiked, but the wine rose does not form any runners. The Scottish fence rose prefers to grow on neutral to very calcareous and dry soils.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Rosa rugosa 

This hardy, robust wild rose makes large, fragrant flowers. There are different varieties of Rosa rugosa with purple to pink or white flowers. It blooms for a long time, from June to October. In autumn, 2.5 cm large, flat-round rose hips with an apple-like taste are formed. The potato rose grows upright up to 180 cm high and forms runners. The plant is undemanding in terms of location, it thrives even on nutrient-poor sandy soils.

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Only the pH value should be taken into account because if the calcium content is too high, iron deficiency chlorosis occurs.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Magnificent rose hip rose ( Rosa sweginzowii )

The splendid rose hip rose is an old Chinese wild rose with simple, medium-sized flowers in carmine red to rose red, which bloom from June. The elongated orange rose hips, which are up to five centimeters long, are particularly striking. The heavily spiked, robust, magnificent rose hip rose has an arching overhanging growth of up to 250 cm in height. It prefers deep, well-drained, and nutrient-rich soils that never dry out completely.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Apple rose ( Rosa villosa )

Another native wild rose is the apple rose. It is a fragrant wild rose with deep pink flowers and leaves, which, like Rosa rubiginosa, smells of apple. The 2.5 cm large, abundant rose hips of the apple rose are among the largest of all wild roses. They can be harvested long before the first frost and processed into tasty jam. The apple rose prefers permeable, stony and nutrient-rich soils with a high lime content. It also grows well in partial shade, so it is suitable for underplanting tall shrubs and forest edges.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

Virginian rose ( Rosa virginiana )

Often confused with the Carolina rose, it is a distinct species that originated in eastern North America. Its five-centimeter pink flowers have a fragrant scent and bloom from late July to August. The frost-hardy Virginian rose forms runners and is about 150 cm high and wide. It thrives in all moderately dry to fresh locations between acidic and neutral pH.

Wild Rose Types: The 20 Most Popular Wild Rose Types

After flowering, wild roses develop vitamin-rich fruits, the rose hips. In our special article on planting rose hip roses, you can find out everything you need to know about your needs and care measures.

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