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Wild rose garden

Wisconsin Native Roses

Like most Americans, you have undoubtedly given them, wanted them and admired them — cultivated roses from your local garden center. They're big and they're flashy.

But those roses are foreign species brought to the US during the past 400 years. Hundreds of hybrids and varietals, extracted from species found all around the world. Native rose plants, however, amount to only 1-2% of the rose market. Conservationists and native plant enthusiasts would like to change that. Many native rose species not only make beautiful plantings but also provide valuable food sources and protection for wildlife.

Native rose species not only make beautiful plantings but also provide valuable food sources and protection for wildlife.

Hybridized exotic rose species, in contrast, offer relatively few nutrients and they require excessive care and frequently crowd out indigenous vegetation. While most cultivated rose plants are very chemical-dependent, native roses require a lot less care in terms of artificial irrigation and various chemical inputs, such as fertilizers and pesticides. What's more, exotic varieties of roses are often short of pollen and nectar, which are crucial food sources for a variety of insects and other creatures.

As the shortcomings of exotics become more apparent, a growing legion of plant experts is calling for the resurrection of America's forgotten native rose species. There are 7 species indigenous to Wisconsin.

Take a look at the catalog of Wisconsin native roses and notice that there are a variety of forms they take including shrub, vine and hedge. And, most of all, they require less fertilizers and pesticides. Best of all they support native pollinators.

Growing Wild Roses

Wild rose garden

Native wild roses need no special care. You can burn them, weed-whack them, step on them, and eat them. They’re equally at home growing by train tracks, on the edges of swamps, or in frozen tundra as in the most pampered garden.

Despite their hardiness, many of them also have edible hips with eight times the concentration of vitamin C found in citrus, the ability to flower multiple times a year, and a rich perfume so complex and tuned to our senses that it can’t be created artificially.

It isn’t difficult to grow wild rose plants. Wild rose bushes can be planted just like any other rosebush and will do best in areas where they get plenty of sun and the soils are well drained (as a general rule). When growing wild roses in your rose beds, gardens or general landscape, do not crowd them. All types of wild roses need room to expand and grow into their natural states. Crowding them, like with other rose bushes, tends to cut down on air flow through and around the bushes which opens them up to disease problems.

Wild Rose Care

Once their root systems are established in their new homes, these tough rose bushes will thrive with a minimum of wild rose care. Deadheading (removal of old blooms) them really is not necessary and will cut down or eliminate the wonderful rose hips they produce. They can be pruned a bit to maintain a desired shape, again be careful how much of this you do if you want those beautiful rose hips later!

Wisconsin Native Rose Catalog

Carolina Rose

Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa Form: Shrub,Hedge
Height: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time: Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun
Zones: 3-9
Soil: Loam, Sand
Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Pink

Climbing Prairie Rose

Bradburys Beebalm, Monarda bradburiana Form: Shrub, Vine
Height: 4-15 feet
Bloom Time: Summer
Sun: Full Sun,Part Sun
Zones: 4,5
Soil : Loam, Clay, Sand
Moisture: Dry,Medium,Moist
Color: Pink

Meadow Rose

Scarlet Beebalm, Monarda	 didyma From: Shrub,Hedge
Height: 3-5 feet
Bloom Time: Summer
Sun: Full Sun,Part Sun
Zones: 3-7
Soil: Loam,Clay,Sand
Moisture: Dry,Medium
Color: Pink

Prairie Wild Rose

Spotted Beebalm, Monarda punctata Form: Shrub
Height: 3 feet
Bloom Time: Summer
Sun: Full Sun,Part Sun
Zones: 4-7
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Dry,Medium,Moist
Color: Pink

Swamp Rose

Lemon Beebalm, Monarda citriodora Form: Shrub
Height: 3-6 feet
Bloom Time: Summer
Sun: Full Sun
Zones: 4-9
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Wet
Color: Lavender, Pink

Virginia Rose

Spotted Beebalm, Monarda punctata Form: Shrub
Height: 5-6 feet
Bloom Time: Summer
Sun: Full Sun,Part Sun
Zones: 3-8
Soil: Sand
Moisture: Medium
Color: Pink

Woods Rose

Lemon Beebalm, Monarda citriodora Form: Shrub,Hedge
Height: 6 feet
Bloom Time: Summer
Sun: Full Sun,Part Sun
Zones: 4-8
Soil: Loam,Clay,Sand
Moisture: Moist
Color: Pink

Further Information:

 Wisconsin Native Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Native Berry Shrubs
 Lovely Native Phlox
 Use Eggshells For Your Plants
 How to Use Banana Peels in Your Garden

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