Swamp Rose (Palustris)

The Swamp Rose (Palustris) is generally described as a perennial subshrub. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the summer . The Swamp Rose (Palustris) has green foliage and inconspicuous red flowers, with a moderate amount of conspicuous yellow fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until summer. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Swamp Rose (Palustris) has a long life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate. At maturity, the typical Swamp Rose (Palustris) will reach up to 8.2 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 8 feet.

The Swamp Rose (Palustris) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container, seed. It has a slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -33°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Landscaping & Wildlife: Swamp rose is used as hedges, walls, fences or trellises for climbing, edges for low selections, for massing and raised beds. This species is an attractive shrub throughout the entire year. The fruits are eaten by wildlife.

General Characteristics

General: Rose family (Roseaceae). Swamp rose is a native, perennial shrub that grows up to seven feet tall. The stems are tall, 0.3 to 2.5 meters high, with stout straight curved prickles (Strausbaugh & Core 1977). The leaves are alternate, pinnately divided into seven leaflets, the leaflets are pointed at the tip, toothed, hairy, up to 1½ inches long. The flowers are pink, solitary or few in a cluster, and 3 to 5.5 centimeters broad. This species flowers once a year, in midseason, and the bloom id for a protected period of six to eight weeks. The fruit is red, fleshy, and up to ¾ inch in diameter.

Required Growing Conditions

Swamp rose is found throughout Indiana, from Nova Scotia to Minnesota, south to Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Adaptation Swamp rose is common in marshes and swamps. This species is abundant in swampy habitats and along ditches and streams (Bush-Braun 1961). It grows best in damp or wet rich loamy soil, in full sun or partial shade (Brown 1963).

Cultivation and Care

Propagation form Seed: Rosa palustris seeds should be collected in the fall. Most rose seeds have a hard seed coat and require acid scarification, followed by a period of warm stratification and then cold stratification. After pre-sowing treatments, the seeds should be sown immediately in containers or seed trays containing a seed germination mixture to which a slow release fertilizer has been added. Place the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Out plant seedlings in the summer if they are more than twenty-five centimeters tall; otherwise grow in a cold frame for the winter and out plant in the late spring.

General Upkeep and Control

Pruning should be done to remove spent blooms and diseased areas, after winter for winter injury, and to shape a plant.

Roses are one of the most susceptible ornamentals to most pests and diseases and require control from intensive IPM or control programs.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Moderate
General Type Subshrub
Growth Period Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Long
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Spring
Displays Fall Colors No
Shape/Growth Form Rhizomatous
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Tolerant
Height When Mature 8.2
Vegetative Spread Slow
Flower Color Red
Flower Conspicuousness Yes
Fruit/Seed Abundance Medium
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Summer
Seed Spread Rate Slow
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Seed
Moisture Requirements Medium
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature -33
Soil Depth for Roots 18
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 4–7 pH
Precipitation Range 35–35 inches/yr
Planting Density 2700–3600 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 18
Minimum Frost-Free Days 95 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
CaCO3 Tolerance Low
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Low
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating Medium

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA