Rosa californica planted in the San Marcos Growers garden.
Rosa californica, the California Wild Rose, is an attractive native California shrub that can eventually form large spiney thickets from suckering roots. It has compound dark green leaves (to 7 leaflets) and beautiful 1 1/2 wide fragrant bright pink flowers that open from long pointed buds. Flowering commences here in late April and continues on through mid summer. In the cooler bay area blooming can begin as late as June. Flowering is followed by bright red hips to 1/2 inch in diameter. In fall there are often both flowers and hips on display. Although native to cool shaded canyons this plant thrives and blooms better in full sun when given adequate water. Can be also very useful in dry light shade where it requires little to no suplemental irrigation. R. californica seems immune to mildew and rust, diseases that plague culitvated roses. Hardy to USDA zones 5-10. This is a variable species of rose that grows in the Western United States; our plants were selected for flower color and fragrance from wild stands in the Santa Barbara foothills where it is found in association with poison oak and coast live oak. We grow a selected form of this plant that we call Rosa californica 'Elsie'.