Wild roses are an enrichment for the home garden, strong and healthy, decorative and with a real, original rose scent. The dog roses belong to our native wild roses, the dog rose Rosa canina is the most common of them. Find out everything about caring for and cutting the vigorous dog rose.

Care of the dog rose

The dog rose is by far the most common wild rose in our homeland. The leaves of the dog rose are quite strong and firm, they are fresh green in color and have tiny spikes on the edge. The dog roses bloom only once a year, in June the shrub is covered over and over with the five-petalled white to pink colored flowers, which can stand individually, but also in clusters of up to a dozen next to each other. The unfilled, simple flowers do not look quite like rose blossoms for “big city plants” familiar with cultivated roses, but they smell very expressively “of rose”, which most cultivated roses no longer do. Unfortunately, only for a few days (which dog rose owners always find longer because of the abundance of flowers), then the flowers begin to wither and fruit development begins. From September,

The dog rose grows in an upright, loose shrub shape, very quickly and, if freely developed, wider than it is tall. A dog rose can reach heights of two to three meters if it can climb up in a shaded location, even higher. You can let the dog rose grow up on a trellis or another shrub, the spreader climber will get caught in the climbing aid with its strong and mostly hook-shaped spikes, if you support the dog rose by tying it, it will grow up to 6 meters in height.

The dog rose, however, is a light plant that needs full sun and at least partial shade to thrive. It cannot be used to plant green on a north-facing wall or to climb a tree with a thick crown.

Otherwise, a dog rose can cope with almost any location, it grows in the wild in the lowlands and at heights of up to almost 1,700 meters, in all of Europe except for the northernmost ends, Finland and Iceland and the coastal regions of Norway do not appeal to it.

On the other hand, the dog rose can cope with almost any soil, as long as it is not pure sand or pure rock high in the mountains. Any normally moist to dry soil is fine, the dog rose prefers a moderately dry, fresh soil, it can be humic and deep. But it also grows on stony loam-sand soils and in problem soils such as the fertile but very moist soils in floodplains and low-lying areas, some of which are below the water table. The pH value is also irrelevant to a dog rose, it grows in normal and acidic and alkaline soil.

You can plant a dog rose in autumn or spring, the soil can be enriched a little with compost, when the plant is in place, the soil is piled up a little and well watered, and that was all the care a dog rose needs.

Actually, this whole section could have been shortened to the remark that a dog rose will grow wherever another plant in your garden has already developed a few green leaves. But especially for beginners in the garden, it is easy to indulge in the fact that they can “really pull themselves in”, how easy-care a native, very decorative, ecologically valuable, fast-growing and fruit-bearing plant can be.

Cutting the dog rose

The dog rose gets a normal pruning before planting, the shoots are cut back to a few buds. Pick some strong main shoots that you will leave about five buds on, the weak shoots will be cut back to two or three buds. The top permanent bud should always point outwards so that the shrub can start with nice, loose branches.

The hips of the dog roses develop on annual and biennial shoots, in the second year they bear most of the fruit. You thin out the plants every winter / spring in such a way that you remove all three-year-old shoots at the base, so the dog rose will always push enough new shoots. 10 to 15 fruit-bearing shoots are enough if you want to harvest as many rose hips as possible, weak and overgrown shoots are removed first.

If you don’t feel like pruning every year, you can just let the dog roses grow and give them a radical cut every now and then. Then you put the dog roses “on the stick”, so simply cut off all the branches directly above the ground. Then the plant will completely rebuild, you will only see a few flowers and fruits in the following season.

Even if the second name of the dog rose is dog rose, it is not intended to grow in a strictly formal, “box-shaped” hedge, but rather in a free-growing bird protection hedge. Within this, the trimming takes place as just described.

The fruits of the dog rose

For connoisseurs, the fruits of the dog rose are the motive for the establishment of this rose in their garden – rose hips have “always” been made into jam and drunk as tea, both have a high proportion of vitamin C and lycopene, an antioxidant and free radical scavenger.

The tea and fruit pulp are given as supportive therapy for bladder and kidney problems, rheumatism, gout and colds, the kernels are used to extract rose hip oil, which is said to have a soothing effect on numerous skin problems, and research has recently been carried out into which rose hip powder has positive effects on osteoarthritis. Diseases unfold.

Rose hips are not one of those parts of the plant that have toxic effects in large quantities. You can eat them like apples, and both of them cause digestive problems if you consume the fruits by the kilo. The dog rose hips are ripe around late September / October, but you can harvest them all winter, the later you pick them, the sweeter they will be.


There is not just one dog rose, but very many, the dog roses namely form within the roses (pink) a separate section of the caninae with around 60 species. Within this section (which is already called a section and not a subgenus because the plants delimited by the section are only very inconspicuous variations of the genus) there is another subsection Caninae, the so-called Rosa canina group, biologists are just passionate about categorizing .

The dog rose “Rosa canina” is then, so to speak, the “dog rose in the group of dog roses”, and it has earned this priority solely because it is the most common and widespread species of this group. Because it is so much fun, a few more varieties are then distinguished within the Rosa canina, the Rosa canina var.glandulosa or Glandular dog rose is the most common, more rarely the R. c var. Andegavensis or Anjou dog rose, the R. c var. scabrata or chunky dog ​​rose and the R. c. var. blondaeana or gloss dog rose.

Incidentally, the dog rose is not the only rose that is called dog rose, actually Rosa corymbifera, which also belongs to the Rosa canina group, was once “the dog rose”. It is “botanically irrelevant” that both roses are called dog rose, that some biologists regard the Rosa corymbifera as a variation of the Rosa canina anyway. In fact, it doesn’t matter a little less because the Rosa corymbifera is much rarer than the Rosa canina, but it has larger flowers. In addition, it has almost no thorns, so it would be the dog rose for a garden where small children play.

The Rosa canina group includes some other dog roses, the Vosges rose (Rosa dumalis) and the leather-leaved rose (Rosa caesia), the false dog rose (Rosa subcanina) and the false dog rose (Rosa subcollina), the Rhaetian rose ( Rosa rhaetica) and the Uri rose (Rosa uriensis), the mountain rose (Rosa montana) and the Chavins rose (Rosa chavinii), the stylus rose (Rosa stylosa) and the Rosa pouzinii, all with color nuances between white and pink and strong pink, all available from expert rose dealers, although it is recommended that you choose a variety that is native to your region.

Because biologists not only like to categorize, but also like to argue, the structure just shown is also just the prevailing opinion, “Your favorite dog rose” could also be found under a slightly different name, which does not change its growth pattern.

The dog rose as a garden designer

Whichever dog rose you choose, it can be used in many ways in the garden:

  • The Hunds-Rose can be planted as a pioneer tree in a freshly landscaped garden.
  • It is useful as a ground fastener on slopes and embankments.
  • It can be used as an ornamental shrub in the naturally landscaped garden.
  • The dog rose can also be planted flat in order to harvest as many rose hips as possible.
  • As a freely growing hedge plant in a bird protection hedge, it provides nesting sites for 25 bird species and, late in the year, fruit for food.
  • Rosa canina is also a valuable forage shrub for bees and insects, for 10 different wild bees and over 100 other types of insects.


If you want to surround a large property with a free-growing hedge of dog roses, you don’t need to buy hundreds of dog roses, just a few larger specimens that make beautiful rose hips.

If you have time, pick ripe rose hips (after the first forest, otherwise the seeds will not germinate) and separate the seeds from the pulp by peeling and washing them. Sow these seeds in spring, they will likely germinate but will take a few years to become stately dog ​​roses.

If you want things to go faster, cut cuttings in spring, which can usually be rooted and planted quickly. Some species can also be runners-propagated, and some species are not very easy to propagate at all, and with which you will likely only succeed if the seeds are stratified in accordance with the regulations.


In addition to the dog roses, there are also numerous wild roses indigenous to us, whereby, as I said, a species native to your place of residence should be chosen if possible, which brings the most ecological benefits.

Depending on where you live, you have the choice: z. B. the dune rose (Rosa spinosissima or pimpinellifolia), wine roses (Rosa rubiginosa), felt roses (Rosa tomentosa), apple roses (Rosa villosa or pomifera), rough-leaved roses (Rosa jundzillii), creeping roses (Rosa arvensis) and vinegar roses (Rosa gallica), pike roses (Rosa glauca) and alpine hagroses (Rosa pendulina), which can also be found in other rocky areas, grow in the Alps and in the Jura, and they are by no means all.

If you come across the Rosa rugosa under the keyword “wild rose”, you should be more careful: This potato rose or Japanese rose comes from East Asia and has already spread to us so much that it is also called dune rose and apple rose because they are these native species has displaced on a large scale.

A very special dog rose

If you still need an incentive to plant a dog rose (or another wild rose) in your garden, you could have a look at the beautiful “millennial rose bush” that climbs up to the cathedral chapel in the Hildesheim Mariendom cemetery.

It was planted when the diocese of Hildesheim was founded, after being burned down in a bomb attack in World War II, it is now around 10 meters high and is considered a guarantee of life and the godfather of their landmark, the rose, for the people of Hildesheim.


The group of dog roses includes Rosa canina, our most widespread native wild rose, but also some rarer wild roses. These roses can take on a wide variety of tasks in the garden, provide a habitat for many native wild animals and you will find delicious rose hips, even the most comfortable gardener will certainly not be overwhelmed with their care – a dog rose simply belongs in every garden

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