nootka rose

Nootka Rose Growing And Care Guide

Rosa nutkana, also known as Nootka Rose, is an upright, sturdy shrub with thorny, slightly arched branches. They are covered in 2-4 in. (5-10 cm) long, 5-7 strongly serrated, pinnately split, gray-green leaves. The bush is covered in a profusion of fragrant, solitary, deep pink blooms that are 2.5 inches (or 6 cm) wide and have yellow central filaments in the spring season to mid-summer. The plant goes into a semi-dormant state and grows slowly whenever the temperature is less than 4 °C in the winter and above 30 °C in the summer. There will only be a few tiny, white petals on the blossoms during this time, and their hue will be dull and lifeless.

What is Nootka Rose?

Native to the Pacific Northwest, Nooka Rose can be found from Alaska to northern California. It is well known for its lovely pink blossoms and winter-remaining red rose hips. At the tips of the stems, they typically bloom alone (though occasionally in pairs or triplets), and are followed by dazzling, globular to oblong, vivid red rose hips. They will endure into the winter if left in the bush, much to the joy of hungry animals who will dine on the vibrant hips. As much as room and moisture allow, Nootka Rose, expands by sucking roots to create wide thickets. It is frequently utilized in gardens as a spiky hedge where it can travel freely and grow into a substantial thicket. It is useful for preserving bank stability. Birds, including ducks, and small mammals prefer Nootka Rose thickets as nesting sites and as cover when fleeing.


Here are some brief facts about the popular aesthetic plant:

  • Latin name: Rosa nutkana
  • Other names: Wild rose
  • Native to: Western North America
  • Invasiveness: Aggressive 
  • Tenderness: Herbaceous perennial
  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade
  • Water: Average 
  • Soil: moist to dry, well-drained soils
  • Hardiness zone: 5 – 9
  • When to plant: Spring
  • Spacing: 120cm
  • Plant height: 150cm – 180cm
  • Bloom period: Spring Summer
  • Time to maturity: 1-2 years
  • Container friendly: Yes
  • Fertilizer: 10-10-10
  • Toxicity: No
  • Drought tolerant: Yes
  • Deer resistant: Yes
  • Pest resistant: Yes

How to grow Rosa nutkana

The Nootka rose grows extensively, from tropical to cold-temperate regions. It does not tolerate high temperatures and prefers cool, well-ventilated surroundings. The ideal temperature range is between 15 and 26 °C. Some species may survive in conditions as cold as -26 °C and as high as 35 °C.


Although the Nootka rose prefers damp environments, it is not tolerant of water logging. It can withstand a little drought. Reduce irrigation after blooming time but increase watering from budding to flowering. Wait to hydrate again after blooming until the ground is almost completely dry to prevent any buildup. During the rainy season, make sure there is adequate ventilation and that any extra water is drained to protect the roots.


Nootka rose prefers full sun, but it can also live in a semi-shaded setting. It typically doesn’t blossom in partial shade; instead, it merely grows leaves. The flower, even if it contains flower buds, is neither lovely nor fragrant. Therefore, it is advised that during the growing season, gardeners guarantee sunshine exposure of at least 6 hours every day (but not in winter).


It needs to be properly shaded in the summer to avoid getting too much sun. Although Nootka rose may thrive in a wide range of conditions, it prefers acidic soil that is rich, loose, and well-drained. When growing in the yard, pick a location on a higher elevation where there is enough sunlight, decent airflow, and somewhat acidic soil. Planting on high hills helps prevent soil water buildup. Use organic fertilizer as base fertilizer and thoroughly aerate the soil before planting. Use sandy soil that is nutrient and slightly acidic if you are growing a plant in a pot.


Growing Nootka Rose in containers

It is advised to water plant pots until extra liquid leaks out of the container’s bottom. To simply drain any extra water, remember to drain it or set a saucer filled with stones under the pot.


When to start Rosa nutkana seeds

When planted in the fall, whether outside in beds or directly in the ground, the seeds will germinate more readily. They also thrive when planted outside after being started indoors in the spring.


When to plant Nootka Rose

Stratify for 140 days at 40°F (4°C) or sow in the fall. The germination of seeds can take up to two years, however scarification and perhaps a warm layering before the cold stratification may speed up the process. Rhizomes and the root crown can be easily divided to produce fewer, bigger plants. Hardwood or semi-hardwood cuttings are conceivable.


How to collect Nootka Rose seeds

Rose blossoms fade, yet the shrub still produces rose hips. Due to our propensity to cut the faded rose flowers down to the subsequent stem node to promote additional flowers, we frequently miss them. The rose bush, however, should still have these little, berry-sized, scarlet seed balls on the ends of the stalks if the wasted flowers are left on it over the winter. They resemble little crabapples and are ornamental. Rose hips can be eaten, and lots of birds like them.

Wildlife attracted by Nootka Rose

Nootka Rose does not generate much nectar, hence bees collecting pollen are the main insect feeders of roses. Pollinators prefer native rose cultivars with open-faced flowers over non-native hybrids with double blossoms.

Common problems

Seasons that are warm and muggy, like spring and summer, are more likely to experience numerous diseases and pests. It is advised to use medications that can be taken beforehand to keep the plant from becoming ill. Plants can avoid superfluous nutrient intake and create stronger with concentrated nutrition by pruning in good time after blossoming and before winter. Seasons that are warm and muggy, like spring and summer, are more likely to experience numerous diseases and pests.  A fungus called powdery mildew typically appears in the spring and summer, when the air is quite dry. White powder will accumulate on the surface of the leaf and immature pods of an infected plant. In the event of a severe infection, the leaves may turn yellow and drop off, which will negatively impact the plant’s growth and flowering.

Mayukh Saha
Freelance Writer
Mayukh is a Content Marketer and Social Media Manager with over 5 years of experience in the industry. Mayukh believes in the power of content; how it can positively impact lives, scale businesses and touch people. In his spare time Mayukh likes to read about latest tech trends and loves to travel in the nature. You can reach him at [email protected]