Sweet briar rose (Rosa rubiginosa)


I have been given a sweet briar rose and I live in the Beaches. Our soil is sandy and I have planted it close to the front of the house which faces west, and we do not have a property in front of us. I’m worried about a cold west wind and wondering how to protect it. Plus I want to plant more and have them grow up along the house. When should I plant? How should I overwinter? Do these thrive well in Toronto? Thx


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Sweet Briar rose, (Rosa rubiginosa), is native to Europe. It is hardy from zones 4-9 and grows best in rich, medium moisture, well-drained loamy soil in full sun where at maturity can range from 6-10′ in height and 10′ in width. It should be noted that the branches of this rose are heavily thorned. You should also be aware that this rose spreads by suckering. Suckering is the ability of a plant to send up shoots from its roots creating new plants. The new plants are created every year, making the hedge thicker and more impenetrable each year.

The following previous post on the Toronto Master Gardener web site describes in detail how to protect your roses from our cold and often unpredictable winters.

After the ground has frozen, hill up the soil to cover the crown where the graft is located. Use friable soil left over from an annual basket or retained in a warm place (e.g. garage). Do not use manure or compost. Once the soil is frozen cover with more soil, damp sawdust, leaves or hay. Chicken wire or plastic collars can be used to hold the mulch in place and provide further insulation. Cut up conifer branches, laid around the crowns of roses, will also act as an insulator by holding the snow in place and minimize the possibility of rodent nesting in the mounds.

Don’t forget to remove protective mulch in the spring. It’s fine during the winter, but once the ground thaws, soil piled around the stem could cause it to rot and can also harbor insects and voles.

You may find the following link of use: How to Prepare Your Roses For Winter 

The best time to plant additional plants would be in the spring once the ground is workable.