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How to Plant a Wild Rose Bush

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017

Wild rose, known botanically as rosa woodsii, is a perennial rose that grows naturally in prairie lands, dry hills, sun-filled woods and canyons, and blooms from May through July. It has a shrub and sprawling thicket growth habit. Wild rose propagates itself via self-sowing seeds from rose hips and by vegetative rhizomes. It thrives in moist soil but can adapt to drier soil and periods of drought stress. It will live in a wide range of soil conditions including sandy soil, providing the soil is well-drained.

Select a planting location for your wild rose that has a full sun or partial daily shade exposure. Wild roses adapt well in most light conditions save consistently dark shade. The more sun the rose shrub receives the more profusely it will bloom. Partial afternoon shade can be welcome in warm climates with intense midday sun.

Prepare a nutrient-rich soil bed for your wild rose by tilling up the soil to a depth of at least 20 inches to loosen the soil. Amend the soil with compost or well-aged manure and a good quality organic fertilizer such as rose tone or fish emulsion. Mix in the amendments well with the surrounding soil to combine.

Dig a hole for your rose that is at least twice the diameter of the rose root ball or container and approximately 6 inches deeper than the root ball. Make a 6- to 8-inch mound of the amended soil in the bottom of the hole in the shape of a cone.

Set the rose down into the hole draping the roots around the cone so that the plant is supported and the roots are not crowded. Back fill the amended soil around the roots to secure the rose. Ensure that the rose is planted at the same soil depth in which it was previously growing. Use the heel of your hand to tamp down the soil and collapse any air pockets.

Feed your wild rose with an organic fertilizer formulation such as rose tone or fish emulsion at planting time according to the package label directions. Repeat feeding throughout the growing season as directed.

Water your wild rose deeply at planting several times allowing the water to completely percolate down into the soil before watering a second time. Maintain an evenly moist soil throughout the year supplementing rainfall with irrigation as needed.

Mulch around the base of the wild rose with at least a 2-inch-thick layer of organic mulch such as compost, shredded bark, cocoa bean hulls or leaf mold. Mulching will hold moisture to the soil and keep competitive weeds at bay.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel or trowel
  • Wild rose shrub
  • Compost or aged manure
  • Water
  • Rose tone or fish emulsion
  • Organic mulch


  • Wild rose has numerous small thorns or prickers so wearing heavier duty garden gloves is warranted to prevent cuts, punctures and scrapes when working with or around the rose shrub.