Wild Rose of the Prairie

The shrub roses ‘Cassie’ and ‘Sally Holmes’ are past their prime, but Prairie Rose (Rosa setigera) is just coming into its own. This is a wild rose that is native to much of the eastern half of the USA.


Prairie Rose is a climber that grows up to 15′, so it’s a good plant for arbors and other structures. Ours is growing against a south-facing brick wall, though in part shade. This year I haven’t bothered to attach the canes to the trellis.

DSC_0613Prairie Rose is supposed to be able to tolerate a good deal of shade. I would say that mine has not exactly thrived. Last year it hardly bloomed at all, so I cut it back hard, almost to the ground. This year it reemerged and has a decent number of flowers. Even when the flowering is uneven, Prairie Rose has been completely disease resistant in our garden.

DSC_0614The single flowers are very fetching. They open pink and fade to white, so a bunch of them can have a multi-colored effect. Prairie Rose is favored by native bees, both for foraging and nesting.

Do you grow any wild roses?

36 Comments on “Wild Rose of the Prairie

  1. Don’t much care for roses…or for pink…so how is it that I recently fell in love with Sally Holmes?

  2. Sometimes I actually prefer single-petaled roses. For example, I love the look of the Mermaid rose although I’ve never grown it because I hear it’s a house eater. Anyway, I like the look of your rose and to answer your question, no, I’ve never grown a wild rose.

  3. Nice, I wonder if the color would be as pink in a sunnier spot or if you’d end up with a bunch of fading. I love that it’s disease free.

  4. The only rose we have is one that was here when we moved in. Sandi feeds it used tea leaves, which it seems to love. At any rate it had a very good year.

    • Glad to hear it. Never heard of feeding tea leaves to roses.Would that be the tea leaves after they are used to make tea?

  5. I had a wild rose one time and it tried to take over the world. We removed it. This Prairie Rose is gorgeous and obviously not as invasive. I love that single bloom.

  6. Very pretty rose. The only climber I’ve had was Zephrine Drouhin, but that succumbed to rose rosette so had to be removed.

  7. I’ve been tempted to grow ‘Prairie Rose,’ just because of the name:) But after picking Japanese beetles off my Knockouts the past few weeks, I’m reluctant to try any other roses.

    • It’s also called Illinois Rose, if that tempts you further. We’ve been pretty lucky around here regarding the JBs the last few years.

  8. Those are lovely! I have several roses in my garden but have no idea what they are and I think I actually killed one by cutting it back at the wrong time. Another one, however, is doing really well after being cut back this spring – win some, lose some I guess.

  9. Prairie Rose is a beauty! I didn’t have many flowers on my roses this year–too much rain and shade I guess. Perhaps it will be different next year with all the new sun coming into the garden with the loss of our neighbors’ large oaks last night.

  10. Hello Jason,
    how small is the world! I found your blog on Nadezda’s blog. Of course I have to be linked with you! Chicago is my husband’s home town!
    This is
    Sigrid from Germany

  11. Lovely rose! Out here on the prairie I have a small group that has thickened up over the years making an impenetrable mass of spiny canes. Terrific bird habitat. And, yes, those little fluffy things (Asclepias tuberosa) catch in there too now and then.

  12. Very pretty! I love single petaled roses like that. I don’t grow any wild roses, but one of the few roses I grow is ‘Sally Holmes’.

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