Pasture Rose

Every once in a while you run across a plant you think everyone should be growing just because you like it so much. And if you’re up on natives, this makes the case for the pasture rose (Rosa carolina). I can only find one flaw, but I'll get to that.

I’m glad we used pasture rose at Nature Boardwalk. The large, shell pink, flowers are decidedly pretty and the customary, glossy dark green leaves are handsome as well. With only five petals on a flower, you have a clue this is a true species and not a cultivated variety designed by hybridizers. That's a good thing!

Powdery mildew is not so much of an issue because it's more resistant to infection. Plus, various beetles and animals find this plant useful which makes this rose a contributing member of an ecosystem. Long-tongued bees, like bumble bees, are a bit less fortunate. They will visit the flower seeking nectar but the rose has none. From the rose's perspective, pollen is being transferred!

This one does spread by underground stems, which could be the one drawback. Plant it in full sun. Give it some room. Expect it to get about two feet tall and flower heaviest in June, July and August. Bright red rose hips will follow in the fall. Thinking you might want this in your yard? Check ours out and see if it works for you.

Brian Houck


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