Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)

The Nootka Rose is named after Nootka Sound, a waterway on the west coast of Vancouver Island, named after the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nations. In sḵwx̱wú7mesh snichim, it is called ḵalḵ ay, and in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language, it is called quelá.

It is a resilient flowering shrub native to the Pacific Northwest, inhabiting a variety of ecosystems such as shorelines, floodplains, streambanks, meadows, and forests. Characterized by its pink flowers and bright red hips, the Nootka Rose is not just beautiful but also culturally and ecologically significant.


Did you know?

While we appreciate the beauty of the Nootka Rose, it is important to note the value of its medicinal potential and healing properties. Indigenous communities have long used the Nootka Rose for food, medicine, and ceremonies. Its vitamin C-rich hips can be eaten raw, dried, or made into jams, jellies, and syrups. The leaves and petals are boiled and used for tea or poultices, and the branches and roots have medicinal uses for ailments such as sore throats or as an eyewash.


Climate Resilience and Adaptation in Urban Settings

The Nootka Rose has the remarkable ability to thrive in diverse environments, including urban settings. Its deep roots and soil adaptability make it perfect for gardens, balconies, and urban greening projects. Its ability to withstand pruning makes it ideal for hedges, screening, or landscaping in tight spaces. It offers benefits such as supporting pollinators, providing wildlife habitat, and stabilizing soil.

Incorporating Nootka Rose into urban landscapes can enhance biodiversity and contribute to a more resilient and sustainable urban environment.

EYA’s wetland project at Strathcona Community Gardens is a testament to this belief, showcasing how native plants like the Nootka Rose can transform urban spaces into thriving ecosystems. By creating habitats for local wildlife and enhancing biodiversity, projects like these not only beautify our cities but also make them more resilient to climate change.

Program Coordinator Trisha holding a potted Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana) standing in the Strathcona Gardens

Program Coordinator Trisha holding a potted Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana) standing in the Strathcona Community Gardens.

“Youth participants pour their heart into growing these native plants and in the process, learn about their climate benefits. Projects like our wetland restoration mitigate the effects of extreme weather events, such as flooding, and create resilience in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for the benefit of the community.” – Trisha Barbarona, Program Coordinator

Easy to grow!

You can easily grow the Nootka Rose on your balcony or in your garden!


  • Choose a Spot – Nootka rose requires full or part sun, so pick a sunny to partly shaded area with well-draining soil. Keep in mind, it can grow from 0.5 m to 3 m tall!
  • Prepare the Soil – Nootka Rose succeeds in most soils and grows best in heavy clay soils and slightly acidic soil. Add compost to enrich the soil!
  • Plant – Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball, plant the rose, and water well. Nootka Rose requires a minimum spacing of 90 cm
  • Water – Water regularly, especially during dry spells. Keep the soil moist, as drought will reduce the number of flowers
  • Maintain – Low maintenance if planted where it can spread freely. If used in a small garden, it may require regular pruning to keep the plant from spreading. Prune in late winter or early spring
  • Enjoy the Benefits!


We invite you to join us in celebrating the resilience of native plants like the Nootka Rose that are made available each year during our Spring Fundraiser. By supporting our fundraiser and incorporating native plants into your own gardens or community projects, you can help build a more sustainable and climate-resilient future.


To learn more about native plants and the work that we do, sign up to be notified on our website.


Support our work and receive native plants, like the Nootka Rose, for the spring growing season by learning what is available through our native plant nursery.