Flowering time (month)
Ornamental or utility value
native wild plant
bird protection hedges
moderately dry to fresh
alkaline to slightly acidic
The dog rose (Rosa canina), also known as dog rose or hagrose, belongs to the wild roses. It is the most common type of rose to be found in nature, hence its name: “dog rose” means as much as (dog-)common rose, i.e. growing everywhere and not getting small. Their distribution reaches over whole Europe and the northwest of Africa from the lowlands to medium altitudes up to 1,600 meters. At a suitable location, an undisturbed Rosa canina can grow up to 300 years old.
The growth of the dog rose is loosely upright with long, picturesquely overhanging twigs. With a height of two to three metres and a width of up to three metres, the fast-growing dog rose is one of the medium-sized specimens in the Rosaceae family. As a spreading mica it can also reach heights of up to five metres. The trunk of Rosa canina is covered with a multitude of large spines. The dog rose is extremely hardy.
The leaves of the dog rose grow on short stems. They are alternately arranged and each consist of five to seven unpaired pinnate leaves. These are ovoid and tapering at the top with a serrated edge, their colour is fresh green to slightly bluish. In autumn the leaves turn yellowish and fall off towards winter.
The common dog rose bears only very small, short-lived flowers, but it impresses with its great fullness. The single flowers, which appear between May and June, have a diameter of about four centimeters. They only have pollen, but no nectar. The dog rose blooms only once a year with delicately fragrant pink flowers. Pollination is carried out by all insects except butterflies and by self-pollination.
Like most wild roses, the hedge rose also bears edible fruits in autumn, the so-called rose hips. The shape, colour and size of the fruit may vary from shrub to shrub. The vitamin C-rich rose hips of the dog rose ripen late in October and November and often remain on the bush until spring, making them a valuable winter food for birds.
The dog rose prefers sunny to semi-shady or absonnige locations. In the light shade it often becomes larger than in the full sun. In nature it can be found along roadsides, on pastures and embankments or in light forests.
The ideal garden soil for the dog rose should be fresh to slightly dry and neutral. However, it also tolerates slight fluctuations in the pH value too alkaline or acidic. In general, the dog rose is very adaptable and thrives on humus soils as well as loamy or sandy soils. Only wet soils are not suitable for Rosa canina.
In autumn or spring, two to three hedge roses per square metre are planted for lush greening of larger areas. But also as a solitaire the dog rose shows already after few years a stately size. Therefore, before planting the hedge rose, plan enough free space in all directions. The soil should be well loosened for the deep root and mixed with some compost. After planting, water the rose and pile up lightly.
The dog rose is the easiest rose to care for, because it thrives practically without gardening attention. The hedge rose survives heat and dry periods without any problems and even wind and frosty winter days do not bother the robust wild species.
The dog rose is fast-growing and well cut-compatible. Although it doesn’t necessarily need a backcut, it is advisable to keep the growth of wild beauty under control. Lighten wilted and dried shoots regularly. Important to know: The dog rose forms its flowers and fruits on last year’s shoots, so it is essential to spare them when cutting. However, it is worth rejuvenating the plant occasionally to encourage flowering. For this purpose, older shoots are shortened in spring.
Due to its robustness and undemanding nature, the dog rose is often used as a pioneer wood for replanting embankments, heaps and pits. As an ornamental shrub, the dog rose is used as a loose hedge plant or as a solitary plant to green unattractive corners or sunny corners. In addition, the hagrose is often used by breeders and rose nurseries as a base for breeding roses.
In nature the hedge rose does not always occur in its pure form, as it forms bastards with other rose species (for example Rosa gallica or Rosa tomentosa). So there are countless species, sections and variants of the dog rose, which differ only very slightly. Tip: Buy a dog rose variety for your garden that occurs naturally in your region. This will develop best.
The reproduction of the dog rose takes place in nature by the spreading of the seeds. Birds and mammals eat and bury the rose hips, which contain the rose seeds. In addition, the dog rose forms root runners, through which the shrub gains considerably in size every year. In the garden, the dog rose can also be propagated specifically by cuttings.
Diseases and pests
The rose gall wasp lays its eggs in the tissue of the dog rose. The larvae of the wasp then grow in small chambers. In addition, the garden bower beetle and the shiny gold rose beetle like to eat the hedge rose. The dog rose is largely resistant to the usual rose diseases.
Dog roses in the our store-Shop
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.