Sweet briar (Rosa rubiginosa) is a shrub rose with prickly stems, fragrant foliage, and single, pink flowers, followed by red hips. The name sweet briar means "fragrant thorn". It's also known as the Eglantine rose.
Similar to, and often mistaken for dog rose (Rosa canina), sweet briar has sweet, almost apple-scented foliage, particularly after rain. Native to the UK, it's a common hedgerow plant. However, it's naturalised in North America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, where it's considered an invasive plant and is banned from sale.
Growing sweet briar
Sweet briar's dense, prickly habit makes it perfect for using against a boundary, and it's also suitable for using as part of a mixed wildlife hedge. It can grow in a variety of locations, including coastal regions. Plant in moist but well-drained soil.
Advice on buying sweet briar
This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.
Sweet briar is available to buy as bareroot hedging plants from November to March, or as potted plants throughout the year
Choose hedging whips if planting sweet briar as a hedge, or buy pot-growing plants if growing as a shrub
Always check plants for signs of disease or damage before planting
Rosa is known for attracting bees, beneficial insects, birds, butterflies/moths and other pollinators. It is a caterpillar food plant, has nectar/pollen rich flowers, provides shelter and habitat, has seeds for birds and makes a good wildlife hedge.