Guelder Rose Hedge Plants
- Good country hedging or specimen shrub.
- Grows on chalk and very damp sites.
- Not actually a rose
- Max. Height: 4m
- Bareroot Delivery Only: Nov-Mar.
Viburnum opulus: Bareroot Hedging Plants
Delivered by Mail Order Direct from our Nursery with a Year Guarantee
Guelder Rose, Viburnum opulus, is one of Britain's most beautiful native shrubs, often used in a mixed country hedge. The flowers are quite unique, with a ring of dainty little smooth star shaped flowers rising above a bed of even smaller, bud-like blooms. The smaller flowers will ripen into blood-red fruit in time for the autumn display. The large, three lobed leaves (like a maple, which has more lobes) colour up in autumn with a jumble of pink, yellow & red tones (depending on the soil) that bleed together in a rough, rustic manner. It can grow to about 5 metres high.
It is a natural companion to Viburnum lantana in a mixed hedge, and we grow two more ornamental varieties that can also make good hedges, Viburnum bodnantense Dawn and the evergreen Viburnum tinus Eve Price.
Browse our selection of native hedging or see our full range of hedging plants.
Guelder Rose hedge plants are only delivered bareroot, during winter (Nov-March).
Choosing a size: When you are ordering plants for a hedge, we recommend smaller plants if you are not in a rush. They are cheaper and easier to handle than large plants, and will give you a bushy hedge with little effort.
- Good for mixed country hedges.
- Almost any soil, happy in quite wet conditions.
- Very shade tolerant, but needs sun to flower well.
- White flowers in May-July
- Red fruit & nice warm autumn colours.
- Height: To 5m
- Excellent for wildlife.
- Bareroot Delivery Only Nov-March
Growing Guelder Rose
In the wild, it is often found in dappled woodland shade, but it needs full sun to give you the best show of flowers. It will grow pretty much anywhere, including shady sites under large trees and chalky soils. It prefers a moist soil and will tolerate periods of waterlogging.
As a specimen shrub, it will need little attention, just prune out the oldest stems from time to time.
Spacing a Guelder Rose hedge:
Standard country hedging: plant at 3 per metre, 33cm apart in a single row, or 5 per metre in a staggered double row, which has a W shape viewed top-down.
Viburnum opulus in your Garden
It makes an excellent mixed hedge plant, typically with hawthorn to provide thorns and more strength.
Given full sun, it is a fine, low maintenance ornamental shrub for any garden.
Did You Know?
It isn't a rose at all, it is closely related to the elderflowers. The name probably comes from the Dutch region of Gelderland.
Other common names include Water elder, Cramp bark, Gatten, Whitten, and the European cranberry bush.
Their berries were one of the secondary food sources that our ancestors depended upon in hard times. Although it is possible to make jam with them, we don't recommend eating them fresh, as even slightly unripe fruit will cause stomach upsets.
When civilisation collapses again, and you find yourself living in the woods with nowhere to charge your phone, you could certainly feed yourself by boiling up them up into a soup. Until then, we would leave the berries for the birds: bullfinches and mistle thrushes (which have the most charming scientific name: Turdus viscivorus) are especially partial to them.
In parts of Eastern Europe and Russia, the berries represent the beauty of a young woman and are a standard subject for Khokhloma painting. There is a song traditionally sung at weddings that begins:
Guelder rose, guelder rose, guelder rose mine!
In the garden there is raspberry, raspberry mine!
Under a pine, under a green pine
Lay me to sleep!
Four of its cultivars hold an RHS Award of Garden Merit, so in our eyes it does as well.
Bees: It is on the RHS list of Plants for pollinators, beloved by bees and butterflies.
Growing Guelder Roses:
Guelder Rose will grow well in pretty much any conditions, although it will look best as an ornamental plant in sheltered gardens. It prefers a moist soil and will grow in soggy ground, but not in a fully waterlogged marsh. It prefers alkaline soils, including shallow chalk, but it will also be happy in slightly acidic soil. It will not grow well if the site is very dry or sandy.
Prepare your site before planting:
It is good to dig over the area where you plant a hedge several months in advance. Destroy the weeds first: nettles, brambles and ground elder are tough and a Neudorff WeedFree Plus based weed-killer is the best way to remove them. Then dig the soil over; remove rocks, roots and other rubbish. Mix in well rotted compost or manure down to the depth of about 2 spades.
Watch our video on how to plant a country hedge for full details. The instruction to cut the plants in half after planting only applies to thorny native hedging and plants in the conservation hedge mix: this isn't necessary for Guelder rose.
Hedge Planting Accessories:
You can buy a hedge planting pack with sheets of mulch fabric and pegs to hold it down.
If you are planting in an area with rabbit and/or deer, you will need to use a plastic spiral guard for each plant, supported by a bamboo cane.
We recommend using mycorrhizal "friendly fungi" on the roots of all new plants, especially if your soil is poorly fertile.
You can also improve your soil with bonemeal organic fertiliser and National Growmore.
After you plant a hedge, the most important thing to do is water it in dry weather. If you didn't use mulch of some kind, you will also need to weed around the hedge. Both of these will be necessary for at least a year after planting.
Trimming Country hedge plants: From the winter after planting onwards, your young hedge should be trimmed lightly every winter, until it is mature. When it is fully grown, you can clip it at anytime.
Special notes on caring for Guelder Rose hedges:
Guelder Rose is a very tough hedge plant that shouldn't need special attention once it has established. If you didn't use a mulch fabric, it is beneficial to mulch around the base of the hedge each year with well rotted manure or compost.
Hygiene & Diseases:
Dead, damaged or diseased wood can be pruned off as soon as it appears.
Disinfect your pruning tools between every cut if there is any sign of disease.
Burn or dispose of any diseased material, do not compost it.