Content Detail

Prairie rose, also called Illinois rose, is a wide spreading, native shrub or climbing rose with arching stems. The large, pink, slightly fragrant roses bloom in June and fade to white, followed by bristly red fruits. Fall color is a kaleidoscope of red, orange, purple, and yellow. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, White
  • Shape or form Arching, Multi-stemmed, Open, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast

Native geographic location and habitat:

C-Value: 7. Typically occurs in moist soils along streams, in prairie thickets, along roads, and fence rows. Native in the lower Midwest and into Texas.

Attracts birds & butterflies:

Small fruits attract birds.

Bark color and texture:

Twigs are green to red tinged with tiny white lenticels. Pairs of recurved prickled thorns are scattered along the stems.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Alternate, pinnately compound leaves with three leaflets. Upper surface is dark green with a paler lower surface. Leaf margins are single or doubly serrated.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

The mostly pink, slightly fragrant, fve-petaled flowers are 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The sepals curve backward during the flowering period. It is one of the last roses to begin blooming from mid-June through July.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Small, 1/3 inch diameter red fruits mature the in fall.

Plant care:

Prairie rose does best in full sun to part shade in well-drained soil. Cut stems back in spring to promote branching. Long canes can be trained on a trellis.

List of pests, diseases, tolerances and resistance:

Susceptible to leaf spots, mildew, rust and twig blight. Not tolerant of heavy salt spray or black walnut toxicity. Tolerant of dry conditions once established.


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