Attack of the Swamp Rose

swamp rose

Bob gave me the greatest present for Valentine’s Day — a gift certificate to Antique Rose Emporium [] in Texas.  Part of the gift was my getting to choose a rose for our limited space.  He enjoyed my decision-making process:

  • I hoped a species rose might have some extra resistance to the rosette virus, which is really common around here.
  • It couldn’t be TOO gigantic [well, actually, that’s a lie.  There are only a few that would get TOO big for our very limited space].
  • I considered a yellow or a white rose, since I don’t have any of those colors.

As always, I wanted something that would make a good-looking plant, even when not in bloom.

After some serious weighing of options, I decided to buy what is reputed to be a repeat-blooming swamp rose.  [Most species roses bloom once a year, like azaleas].  The swamp rose, Rosa palustris,  is a North American native, and because my dad’s ancestral home is in a Mississippi swamp, Bob calls me “Swamp Rose.”  The fact that this was reputed to be a repeat-blooming cultivar sold me on it.

Good news!  It does appear to be repeat-blooming [blooms on new growth]: it’s already blooming on the new growth it shot out in all directions as soon as I planted it in early May 2014.  This picture was taken late June 2014. And the plant’s form is even prettier than I’d realized — open and airy, with graceful foliage.  It reminds me of Mutabilis, which makes a pretty plant.


swamp rose2

This entry was posted in design rules, recommended rose varieties for the Midwest/Upper South, rose pictures and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Attack of the Swamp Rose

  1. charlie says:

    Hi Amanda

    I am considering planting several Swamp roses, which I will purchase from ARE. I was ready to purchase v. Scandens, but then I saw your blog post about the remontant Swamp Rose. Now I need to decide which ones to purchase. Did your swamp rose continue to perform later in the season? Would you recommend featuring it prominently in your landscape, and do you know how it compares to Scandens? Thanks.


    • unwit says:

      Hey, I’m glad you asked. My “repeating” swamp rose not only repeats, but it was never without a flower until just now when we got our first frost here in Central Kentucky, which is really unusual in a rose’s first growing season. I’d have to call it everblooming. Over the season it built up to about 3’x3′ and kept its globular though airy form, no black spot or August leaf drop. It’s beautiful, and I am charmed. You’ve reminded me to cut a few twigs to see if I can’t start some more plants of this one: I will feature it as prominently as I can in my space.
      Thanks for asking!

  2. Laura Ross says:

    I grew the double, but regular, Swamp Rose when I lived in Mississippi and it did very well and was a handsome shrub even when not in bloom. Will the remontant one get as large and with a similar shape? Also, does it smell as sweet? Thanks. I have seen this one advertised on Antique Rose Emporium’s site and have been curious. I have since moved to southern Virginia and have lots of moist/borderline swampy areas that I would like to grow roses in. 🙂

    • unwit says:

      I don’t know how large it will get here in Zone 6 — we shall see. It grew pretty quickly its first growing season with me — but it does have a great fragrance. A real winner. I guess the remontant form is not well-known, but it ought to be. It’s a really enthusiastic grower here and such a pretty, healthy plant!

    • JAN Nelson says:

      I live in Virginia and have grown both here.
      The regular swamp rose IMO has more blooms smells amazing and the repeat bloomer didnt repeat much at all in my experience

  3. Anja says:

    I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

  4. Eric Winkler says:

    I have 3 Swamp roses which I planted in spring 2019. I had one bloom this spring and that has been all. Do yours get much shade? Mine do and I was wondering if that may be the problem. Thanks

    • Unwit says:

      Was what you bought the regular species swamp rose, or was it propagated from the repeat-blooming sport sold by Antique Rose Emporium? The regular species IS a once-bloomer.

      I do not think it’s the shade. My repeat-blooming sport is blooming fine in its partly shady location surrounded by dogwoods, Japanese magnolia, and a mimosa tree each about ten feet from the rose.

  5. Charlie says:

    Mine have grown quite large and graceful in the last few years. The initial bloom this spring was spectacular for about 3 weeks, but then the Japanese beetles appeared and devoured the rebloom flowers for much of the summer, but even without flowers its an attractive shrub, very gracefuland natural looking. If conditions are droughty some leaves will yellow and fall off but the foliage is otherwise perfect in my yard. The flowers are intensely, fragrant but only in the morning. The petals fall off cleanly unlike many other roses, so it never needs deadheading to look good. After the initial huge bloom it continues to produce new flowers, slowly at first but by September it picks up nicely. The flowers are quite fragile, nearly all are taken by the damned Japanese beetles, so if you don’t have those cursed bugs you should expect at least a smattering of bloom throughout summer, with a nice fall display improving until the first hard frost. As an experiment I deadheaded one to see if it would promote heavier rebloom – it actually had less rebloom, a good thing because it took ages to remove all the hips. It is easily propagated by burying live branch tips, in two years you will have new plants to share. And the near thornlessness makes it okay to plant anywhere. In my yard it only produces thorns on the thick canes which come up in the spring in its 2nd and 3rd year, the few thorns are easily removed, after which the plant is not a hazard. Quite a rose indeed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.