How to Take Care of Wild Rose Bushes


Best described as any rose not created through hybridization, wild roses are just that--wild. Out of 20,000 known species of roses, only 100 are true wild roses. Also called species roses, wild roses only bloom in the early summer. Throughout the remaining growing season, wild roses are flower free, displaying only their deep green foliage. Care of wild rose bushes is minimal, since they are cold hardy and self-sufficient.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil testing kit
  • Lime or peat moss
  • Fence or trellis
  • Soaker hose
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch
  • Plant wild roses in soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Wild rose bushes will thrive in their preferred soil pH. If you do not know the pH of your soil, test it with a soil testing kit purchased from a garden center.

  • Amend the soil before planting if necessary. If the soil test reveals a pH below 6.0, mix in lime with the soil. If the pH of the soil is above 6.5, mix in peat moss. Add the required amendment according to label instructions.

  • Plant the wild roses in front of a fence so that they can climb. Keep in mind that wild roses lose their leaves in the winter, but do not die down to the soil level. Therefore, plant them in an area where they will not end up accidentally mowed down come fall.

  • Water the wild roses generously after planting. Use a soaker hose that will provide deep watering. Keep the soil moist around the wild roses for the first growing season, watering at a rate of 1 inch per week. Once established, the wild roses will only require watering during droughts.

  • Prune dead wood from the wild roses after the winter thaw. If you live in USDA hardiness zone 6 or lower, your wild roses will probably experience some die-back on the tips of their stems. Simply cut this dead wood off with a pair of pruning shears in the spring.

Tips & Warnings

  • The most commonly grown and hardiest of all wild roses are the rugosa rose, prairie rose and the pasture rose.
  • Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of sawdust, pine needles, straw or bark chips around the wild roses to reduce weeds.
  • Do not fertilize the wild roses. True wild roses get all of the nutrients that they need from the soil.

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  • Photo Credit Red wild roses on white background image by NatUlrich from
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