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With their wild origins, potato roses bring a piece of real nature into the garden. In summer, its nutritious flowers attract numerous insects and birds. The red rosehips follow in autumn, which we can also taste. We like to admire this fragrant rose species as a large and dense bush. Does the plant find this form all by itself? Or does a pair of scissors have to set the direction. If so, how much is allowed to go with impunity?

Cut potato rose

Wild beauty without cut

A wild rose, which is still the purposefully planted potato rose, is allowed to live out its name and grow wild wherever its branches take it. After all, in the wild there is no one around to prune its branches, and it still thrives. Anyone who consciously designs a garden close to nature will leave the potato rose, which is popularly known as the Sylter Rose, almost entirely alone anyway. The natural growth of the potato rose can be characterized as follows:

  • puts out green and hairy branches
  • they form a shrub form
  • grows upright to 1.5 m tall
  • under good conditions even up to 2 m
  • also grows up to 1.5 m in width
  • annual growth is about 20 to 40 cm
  • with age, overhanging shoots follow


When pruning makes sense

The potato rose, with the beautiful botanical name Rosa rugosa, can initially grow wild until its appearance no longer suits its owner and the scissors promise a remedy. Otherwise, there are three criteria that decide whether pruning measures are necessary:

  • the age of the wild rose
  • the site
  • the chosen form of cultivation

The aim of pruning measures is usually to give or maintain the Rosa rugosa a dense or desired shape.


The shape changes with age

An apple rose, dune rose or whatever name the potato rose has in your area will eventually become an old plant. As she ages, she loses the beautiful form from her young years:

  • Branches grow sparser in number
  • they are also getting farther apart
  • New shoots remain thin

If the Rosa rugosa already shows these signs of aging, it must be cut back to the rose bush. After that, it will sprout again and, above all, more densely. It takes a while for her to regain her original good looks. This loss of time after the radical cut and the unpleasant time before it can be prevented in good time with a regular cut.


The location sets limits

When planted, most roses are small and therefore easily find a free spot in the garden at home. Not every rose owner thinks many years ahead and plans enough space for future growth. Occasionally, more free space can be gained later by redesigning the garden. But often there is no such possibility, for example because the rose grows close to a building. The scissors have to take some of them away at the latest when the rose branches start to bite everywhere over the years.

type of cultivation

Cultivation decides the form

The potato rose can be used flexibly in garden design. Starting with an existence as a solitary plant, to a hedge life in rows and ranks. This wild plant even tolerates cultivation in a large container. It is obvious that a different form is required each time. Since the rose itself does not care how it grows, its owner has to give it the desired contour with scissors.

  • Tuber rose must be limited in growth
  • Hedge must grow taller
  • and adopt a suitable hedge shape
  • free-growing rose bushes should look dense and beautiful

Ideal time for cutting

This is the best time to cut the potato rose springwhen the outside temperatures get milder. The rule of pruning roses to forsythia flower can also be applied to this wild rose. So take a look around your own or the neighboring gardens to see if there aren't already a few yellow twigs shining from afar.

A specific shape is best achieved and maintained with annual pruning. When it comes to protecting the Sylter Rose from old age, a cut every two years is enough.

tools and cutting rules

To trim your Rosa rugosa, you will need sharp, clean pruning shears and protective gardening gloves. When cutting, the following rules must be observed:

  • Start cutting about 0.5 cm above a healthy bud
  • Always cut at a 45° angle

Cutting Sylt roses: instructions

How to cut a Rosa rugosa

First decide what shape you want to give your potato rose and use it as a guide when pruning.

1. First look at the individual branches of the rose to assess the strength of the shoots. The strong shoots are pruned a little differently than thin ones.
2. Leave about 5 buds on strong branches and cut off the rest of the branch.
3. Cut thin shoots down to 2 to 3 buds.
4. If you spot branches that are dead, damaged, or just annoyingly growing, you can remove them close to the ground. You can usually recognize dead shoots by their brown colour.

tip: If necessary, you can use some cut branches for the propagation of cuttings of this rose.

How to cut a rose hedge

A hedge of Sylt roses requires different scissors than solitary plants. Above all, it should grow dense and high, which is why the scissors are attached to old shoots in order to achieve new growth.

1. From each Rosa rugosa plant, select three of the oldest shoots.
2. Cut each of these branches close to the ground. All other branches are not cut.

Hedges should be trimmed annually so that they grow densely and tall and thus optimally fulfill their privacy function.

tip: You can create an entire hedge free of charge from a single rose plant by separating the numerous stolons from the mother plant and planting them separately.

Avoid thickets

This paragraph is about pruning measures that you should avoid in good time. We are talking about a so-called thicket that this wild rose species forms if it is not prevented from doing so.

  • Rose naturally forms many offshoots
  • these sprout in the spring
  • Rose takes up an ever larger area
  • between the wild rose and the new little plants it will soon be impossible to get through
  • again and again a tedious pruning is necessary
  • or even more laborious digging up the foothills

A root barrier should already be integrated when planting, so that the growth of the wild rose does not get out of hand and is difficult to control.

tip: If you can find a sufficiently large pot for the Sylter Rose, the problem of runners is inevitably solved by the limits of the dwelling.

Do not cut flowers

If you cut faded flowers of the potato rose, it will not harm the plant. However, they are not doing themselves any favors, because rose hips in a decorative shade of orange soon follow after flowering. However, these are at least as beautiful to look at as the flowers.

tip: Rose hips from the Sylt roses are not only edible, they are also delicious. A large shrub provides enough of it to conjure up delicious jams or teas.

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