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What is a Wood Rose?

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  • Written By: O. Parker
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2016
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Wood rose is a tropical climbing vine with yellow trumpet-like flowers that resemble that of the common morning glory. A native of Mexico and Central America, wood rose has since become naturalized throughout most of the tropical world. Wood rose is commonly called yellow morning glory, Spanish morning glory, Spanish arborvine, Spanish woodbine and Hawaiian wood rose. The species name is Merremia tuberosa, and it is a member of the Convolvulaceae family.

Left unattended, wood rose vines can reach heights of up to 80 feet (about 20 meters) tall when they have the support of a large tree or the forest canopy. In tropical areas where this plant has escaped cultivation and gone wild, it is considered a noxious and invasive plant able to quickly smother native shrubs, plants and trees. As a potted plant or controlled in a landscape or garden setting, this plant can be a fast growing and attractive addition to a landscape or interior space.

The yellow flowers bloom along the woody stem and are usually about 2 1/3 inches (about 6 cm ) across set against a backdrop of bright green, glossy leaves. The leaves are between 2 to 8 inches (about 6 to 20 cm). When the flowers fade, a brown seed pod forms in its place, containing about four seeds.

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Wood rose is easy to propagate, a trait that benefits the gardener but has also led to the escape and naturalization of the wood rose in tropical areas. Cuttings, seeds and sections of root carelessly discarded can quickly take hold in the right environment. In cultivation, propagation is most commonly done by rooting sections of the stem. The seeds, which are viable for several years, are also a fast and reliable method of propagation.

As a potted plant, wood rose thrives in sunny areas where temperatures remain above 55°F (about 12.7°C). A good quality, well-draining potting soil is used to prevent the roots from rotting in too damp an environment. Potted wood rose should be watered when the top 1 inch (about 2.5 cm) of soil feels dry to the touch.

Planted outdoors, wood rose can withstand some mild frost, though the vegetation may die back in cold temperatures. In areas that get mild frost, any dead plant material should be cut back in the spring before the growing season starts. It thrives in a sunny location but can also grow in partial or full shade.

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