Dog roses: planting and caring for

Dog roses: planting and caring for

Origin and use

The dog rose (bot. Rosa canina) bears her name - which means something like “common rose” - because of its widespread distribution throughout Europe and even in northwest Africa. Basically, this popular dog rose grows almost anywhere and is virtually impossible to break. In fact, the species can get very old, as the famous millennial rose bush - a landmark of the city of Hildesheim - proves. This was planted when the diocese was founded in the early Middle Ages and even sprouted again after a few weeks after a fire caused by a bombing during the Second World War.

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Appearance and stature

Even if the famous millennial rose bush is now more than ten meters high and thanks to climbing aids it climbs up the choir wall of the Hildesheim Mariendom, this does not correspond to the natural growth of the species. Normal specimens reach heights of growth between two and three meters and become roughly the same width . The very fast-growing species grows loosely upright and develops overhanging branches with age. The trunk of the extremely hardy dog ​​rose is also covered with numerous large spines.

Blossoms and flowering period

The small and simple, but very numerous flowers of the dog rose appear for about 14 days between late May and early / mid-June. They are up to two inches in diameter, have a slight scent, and are typically pink. Like all wild roses, the dog rose is also an important insect nutrient plant because - with the exception of butterflies - all insects feed on their pollen.


In autumn, on the other hand, both birds and humans enjoy the edible rose hips, which are very rich in vitamin C. These are so-called collective nut fruits that ripen very late in October and November. They often stay on the bush until spring and are a valuable winter source of food for birds. When ripe, people can process the bright orange-red wild fruit into jams, jellies and liqueurs, as well as dried tea.


The wild roses described here as dog roses are all non-toxic and can therefore be safely planted in the garden.

Which location is suitable?

In nature, the dog rose can often be found in partially shaded to shady, but still bright locations such as along paths and wooded edges, in light forests and on embankments, meadows and pastures. Basically, the species thrives in both full sun and light-shaded places, but often grows larger in a darker location.


Basically, the dog rose feels comfortable on any soil, as long as it is not too wet. Whether sandy, humus or loamy - dog roses are very adaptable. However, the species thrives best on fresh to slightly dry substrates with a neutral pH value. The plant usually tolerates occasional fluctuations in the basic or acidic range very well.

Plant dog roses properly

This dog rose grows several meters high and just as wide within a short time, which is why you have to pay attention to appropriate distances in a hedge, a group or a solitary planting. Plan for about two to three plants per square meter and ensure that the soil is loosened deeply before planting - the dog rose is one of the deep-rooters and needs a correspondingly well-rooted subsoil. Add plenty of compost to the excavation, water the wild rose well after planting and pile it up slightly around the main stem.

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Watering and fertilizing

Basically you do not have to water or fertilize the dog rose, because the undemanding plant gets what it needs all by itself.

Cut the dog roses correctly

Cutting measures are also not necessary. Only if the overgrown shrub becomes too big should you keep it in check with the scissors. In addition, an occasional rejuvenation cut can encourage flowering. To do this, shorten the older shoots in spring, and dry and wilted branches should also be removed regularly. Never prune last year's shoots as the flowers will be formed on these.

Propagate dog roses

Dog roses are easy to propagate from seeds or cuttings. It is also advisable to dig in root barriers if necessary - the species forms numerous root runners, which also contribute to reproduction.


Since this dog rose is extremely hardy, no special protective measures are necessary for wintering.

Diseases and pests

The Rosa canina is largely resistant to the otherwise common rose diseases. Only some pests such as the rose gall wasp, the garden leaf beetle or the shiny gold rose beetle can become problematic.


The dog rose is also rarely found in nature as a pure species, as it easily crosses with other rose species - especially with the Rosa tomentosa or the Rosa gallica). Therefore, there are numerous variants and sections of the species in the trade, which, however, differ only little.

Species and varieties

In addition to the dog rose described here, which is probably the most widespread dog rose, there are other wild rose species that are native to various regions of Germany. On the other hand, the popular Rosa rugosa - the potato or apple rose - which is very numerous in terms of varieties, is viewed critically by some gardeners. The species originating from East Asia is considered a neophyte, which displaces native wild roses. However, most of the plants grown in our gardens also fall into this category.

The most beautiful wild rose species for the garden:

Büschelrose / Vielblütige Rose (bot. Rosa multiflora)

This wild rose is characterized by numerous small, white flowers that are arranged in an umbel shape and appear between June and July. The delicate flowers give off a strong honey scent that is very attractive to bees. The fast growing species (growth rate up to 75 centimeters per year) can be up to three meters high and just as wide. For a hedge planting three to four plants should be planted per square meter.

Wine rose / Scottish fence rose (bot. Rosa rubiginosa)

The strongly prickly wine rose forms dense, impenetrable hedges. The fast-growing shrub (growth rate up to 60 centimeters per year) is up to 350 centimeters high and 250 centimeters wide. It grows upright at first, but later develops strongly overhanging shoots. The small, pink cup-shaped flowers show up between June and July. The valuable bee nutrition plant is also a valuable bird protection wood. Plant a maximum of two per square meter for a hedge.

Pike rose / Rotblättrige Rose (bot. Rosa glauca)

The upright and rather bushy growing pike rose is up to 250 centimeters high and 130 centimeters wide. The light pink, small cup flowers bloom in abundance between June and July and form numerous rose hips by autumn.

Alpine dog rose (bot.Rosa pendulina)

This distinctive wild rose species native to the Alpine regions forms numerous flower pods up to ten centimeters in size, bright purple-pink in color. These appear as early as May and continue into June. The species becomes up to one and a half meters high and just as wide.

Creeping rose / field rose (bot. Rosa arvensis)

As the name suggests, this is a creeping species or, if given the opportunity, a climbing species. As a ground cover, the creeping rose grows up to 50 centimeters high, as a climbing plant it can reach a height of up to two meters. The small, white flowers appear in July.

Cinnamon rose (bot. Rosa majalis)

This very robust and undemanding species - it grows on almost any soil and can even withstand brief floods - grows up to 160 centimeters in height, spreads very quickly in the garden through runners and inspires with its dark to purple-pink flowers that can be admired between May and June.

Chinese golden rose (bot. Rosa hugonis)

This is a wild rose species from Asia that is cultivated mainly because of the pale yellow color of its flowers, which appear early in April. The shrub grows up to two meters high and can be planted as a solitary or in the form of a hedge. The golden rose is quite hardy, but needs light protection from frost.

Shiny-leaved rose (bot. Rosa nitida)

The Rosa nitida is only about 70 centimeters high, but immediately catches the eye with its glossy, dark green leaves and bright pink flowers. The very undemanding species thrives almost everywhere - even on wet and acidic soils - but is best suited for fastening embankments and slopes due to its strong runners.

Potato rose / apple rose (bot. Rosa rugosa)

This species originating from East Asia - which is sometimes also referred to as the Japanese rose - is enjoying growing popularity in German gardens. Rosa rugosa grows up to 150 centimeters high, 100 centimeters wide and, in contrast to most of the wild rose species that only bloom once, blooms continuously from June to October. The species is very robust and there are also some interesting cultivars.

Dune rose / Bibernellrose (bot. Rosa pimpinellifolia)

The species, sometimes also referred to as the coastal rose, is widespread on the north German coast. The shrub, which is up to one and a half meters high and two meters wide, needs a barren, calcareous site, is very insensitive to drought and reproduces itself by means of numerous runners. The small, yellowish-white cup flowers appear between May and June.