Flowers Shrubs

Rosa Canina Guide How to Grow & Care for “Dog Rose”

Complete guide to Rosa Canina flowers for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for "Dog Rose"
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If you are a fan of wild rose species, then you need to add Rosa Canina to your garden!

One of the most abundant and widespread species of wild rose, Rosa Canina, a.k.a. Dog Rose, is a tough and fast-growing deciduous shrub. There’s some controversy around this lovely garden rose: some gardeners consider it a climber, while others classify it as a weedy shrub rose.

Rosa Canina has a very long history and people have used it in many different ways. Dog rose has medicinal uses that date back to the time of Hippocrates. More precisely, back then, health practitioners used the roots, foliage, blooms, and hips of this wild rose to treat a wide range of illnesses. Rose hips are the wild alternative to getting a good amount of vitamin C, about the same amount that you’d get by eating oranges and lemons. If you grow Dog rose, you have a great source of Vitamin C, right in your garden.

Today, rose hips from Dog Rose are used in medications with diuretic and laxative properties. Plus, they are also a natural remedy for kidney and lower urinary tract disorders. What’s more, rose hips from this wild rose are used in treating gout, common colds, and the fever associated with these conditions.

Another compelling reason to start growing dog rose is that its rose hips can be collected and made into delicious jams, syrups, and tea. And, as we mentioned above, all of these delicious products are a great source of vitamin C as well.

Ready to learn more about growing and caring for Dog Rose? Keep reading below!

About Dog Rose

  • Rosa Canina belongs to the family of Rosaceae, and it is native to Europe, North Africa, and Southwestern Asia.
  • Rosa Canina is the botanical name of Dog Rose. However, Dog Rose has many other common names such as Bird Briar, Cankerberry, Dog Briar, and Common Brier.
  • Dog Rose is probably the easiest wild rose to care for. This lovely shrub can survive long hot and dry periods but also wind and frost.
  • Rosa Canina can look amazing in any garden. This wild rose is particularly nice for cottage gardens and wildflower meadows.
  • Dog Rose loves sunny to semi-shady locations. Although it requires a lot of sunlight, it is important to know that it will often grow larger in partial shade than it would if you keep it in full sun.
  • Although it is tolerant of poor soils, Dog Rose thrives when it is grown in humus-rich, moist, yet well-drained soil. Keep in mind that wild multiflora rose is very sensitive to root rot so, it’s essential to provide your Rosa Canina with soil that allows excess water to get through it.
  • Despite tolerating frost, the optimum temperature for Dog Rose’s growth is between 59- 71°F (15-22 °C).
  • Unsurprisingly considering its long and rich history as a medicinal plant, Dog Rose is not a toxic plant. All parts of this wild rose, from roots to hips, foliage, and petals, are safe and people can consume them in various ways. However, Dog Rose can give some poisoning symptoms such as stomach upsets, vomiting, or constipation when consumed in large quantities. So, it may be better to grow your Dog Rose in a place that’s out of your kids’ or pets’ reach.
  • Rosa Canina is susceptible to a few diseases and pest problems. More precisely, it is very attractive to gall-forming wasps. Although a gall isn’t harmful in itself, it acts as a birth chamber for little wasps.
  • This wild rose is also sensitive to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and downy mildew. In case of fungal disease, apply a spray fungicide on your Dog Rose.
  • Although roses have a reputation for being sensitive to all kinds of diseases, the good news is that Dog Rose is typically resistant to common rose diseases, such as black spots, mosaic viruses, or rust.
Dog Rose
Dog Rose

Dog Rose Features: An Overview

  • Dog Rose is a tough and fast-growing deciduous shrub. It features multiple arching stems. It also features curved thorns and pinnately mid-green leaves.
  • Rosa Canina can grow up to 3-15 feet (0.91-4,57 m) tall and 35- 170 inches (90- 450 cm) wide.
  • In late spring to midsummer, Dog Rose produces lightly sweet-scented light pink to white flowers that feature five petals and many stamens each. The flowers are then followed by abundant, glossy bright red fruits that can stay on the shrub for several months unless eaten by birds.
  • Plants that go well with Dog Rose include Rosa Pimpinellifolia, Rosa Rugosa, and Rosa Fru Dagmar Hastrup.

Growing Dog Rose

Growing Dog Rose is extremely easy! This wild rose is really high maintenance and doesn’t require much to thrive. In fact, this lovely shrub can grow in pretty much all conditions, which it does. For this reason, Dog Rose is often deemed as invasive as it can run quite wildly in some areas.

So, if you’ve decided to grow your own Dog Rose, you shouldn’t worry that it is difficult to care for it. To help your Rosa Canina grow healthy and happy, you need to pay attention to a few things: lighting requirements, fertilization, and pruning.

Dog Rose is a sun-loving wild rose but also prefers semi-shady locations. In locations with light shade, it will actually grow a little larger than it would if grown in full sun. So, depending on how tall you want your Rosa Canina to grow, pick either a sunny or semi-shady spot in your garden.

Fertilizing Dog Rose

When it comes to fertilizing, your dog rose can benefit from it. Although this wild rose is pretty resistant to all types of soils, half a cup of 10-10-10 granulated slow-release fertilizer every Spring can benefit your Dog Rose and help it grow happy and healthy. To properly fertilize your Dog Rose, make sure you spread the fertilizer evenly at the base of the shrub.

Pruning Dog Rose

Dog Rose is a fast-growing shrub which means that pruning is the best way to keep it in the desired shape and size, especially if your outdoor space isn’t that large. We recommend pruning any spent flowers during the growing season.

To prune dead, damaged, or overgrown stems, you need to wait for the plant’s dormant season, which is from late fall to early spring. Any part of the plant that shows signs of disease or pests should be discarded into the trash to avoid spreading the disease.

Planting Dog Rose

To ensure the successful planting of your Dog Rose, you also need to keep its most basic growing requirements in mind.

More precisely, remember that it needs either full sun or partial shade to grow happy. You can choose a spot in your garden with either a lot of sunlight or partial shade, depending on how tall and wide you want your wild rose to grow.

Rosa canina
Rosa canina

Next, you need to keep in mind that this wild rose prefers warmer temperatures to grow optimally. More precisely, the optimum temperature for growth is between 59- 71°F (15-22 °C). It would be best if the climate in your area wouldn’t have long periods of frost during the cold season. If temperatures tend to drop pretty low during the winter, plant your Rosa Canina in a spot where it is more protected from frost and heavy snowing and winds. Or, another option would be to grow your Dog Rose in a container that you can bring indoors during the cold season.

Last but not least, when planting your Dog Rose remember to provide it with fertile soil. Although it can adapt to many types of soil, even poor soils, it’s best to grow dog rose in fresh to slightly dry soil. If you plant this wild rose in a container, the best soil is a well-drained potting mix or normal soil but mixed with sand or compost to provide good drainage.

Watering Dog Rose

Dog Rose can die if you overwater it because it is sensitive to root rot. It is best to keep it in moist soil that is not soggy.

As a general rule, it’s best to water your Dog Rose deeply about twice a week. This can depend on the season and the humidity in your area. The best way to keep your wild rose hydrated properly without overwatering it is to use the “soak and dry” watering method. In other words, when you notice that the top two inches of the soil feel dry, water it again.

Propagating Dog Rose

If you decide that you want more Dog Rose plants in your garden, you can propagate your mother Rosa Canina via cuttings.

You can easily propagate Dog Rose by seed – in the wild, this process happens naturally. How does it occur? After birds or other wildlife consume the hips, they disseminate the seeds, which leads to the growth of new plants. So, if you decide to propagate this plant by seed, the chances of success are pretty high.

In Conclusion

Dog Rose is a low-maintenance, beautiful wild rose anyone can grow in their garden. This garden rose doesn’t need much to grow healthy and happy; just a little bit of your attention and care. In return, your Dog Rose will repay you with its healthy hips that you can use for medicinal purposes, with a lovely fragrance in your outdoor space in the blooming season, and by being a spectacular focal point in your garden.

Ready to start growing Dog Rose? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact

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