How to Grow and Care for Rugosa Roses

  • jack Officer
  • May 26, 2023

Rosa rugosa

I really like roses, I actually do.

However from time to time, as I’m battling a silly black spot an infection, I begin to consider ripping all my roses out and planting one thing simpler. Possibly some fairly sedges or a handful of decorative alliums.

A close up vertical image of pink rugosa roses growing in a container. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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However then I see and odor these attractive flowers, and I resolve to maintain pushing on. And to check out rugosa roses. These beauties might be each bit as visually interesting because the extra fussy varieties, however they’re extremely robust and disease-resistant.

Do you reside in an space that will get exceptionally chilly and figured roses weren’t going to be part of your life? Are you continually coping with powdery mildew? Swear you’ll scream in case you see yet another rose aphid? Rugosa, rugosa, rugosa!

This species has earned a legendary repute for its illness resistance. You virtually wouldn’t know they’re associated to tea or antiques.

Excited to get to know these sturdy however showy vegetation? Right here’s what we’ll speak about to assist make that occur:

Relying on the precise cultivar or hybrid, these roses can develop in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 to 7.

There are even a couple of hybrids that may survive as far south as Zone 9. Meaning nearly everybody in North America can develop one in all these robust however fairly vegetation.

What Are Rugosa Roses?

Rugosa roses are vegetation of the rugosa species within the Rosa genus. They’re also referred to as seaside, Japanese, or seaside rose, letchberry, and seaside tomato.

That final identify ought to clue you into what the hips on this plant appear to be. They’re massive and juicy with a reddish-orange hue.

A close up horizontal image of a single pink Rosa rugosa 'Hansa' growing in the garden, with foliage in soft focus in the background.

These hips are a part of what make this rose stand out from different species, and we’ll chat all about them in only a bit.

Native to jap Asia, together with components of Siberia, northeastern China, Japan, and Korea, this species has naturalized all over. You’ll generally discover it rising close to the ocean in Europe, New England, and the Pacific Northwest.

As you may need guessed from the widespread identify “seaside rose,” it’s a fan of sandy areas reminiscent of seashores. If you happen to’re in search of a rose that may tolerate salt spray, that is your man.

A horizontal image of wild rugosa roses growing on a sand dune leading down to the ocean.

Whereas the hips are fairly distinctive, that’s not the one factor that makes seaside tomatoes distinctive. This plant has dramatically wrinkled, thick, leathery leaves, which is the place the precise epithet “rugosa” comes from. Rugosa means wrinkled in Latin.

Whereas the flowers are much less dramatic than a number of the showier roses like, say, a tea, they persist on the plant from spring till the primary frost. The hips stick round from late summer time by way of the winter.

In different phrases, they give you a great quantity of decorative excellence for a big portion of the yr.

The arching branches can develop as much as 5 toes lengthy and are coated in lengthy prickles and alternate leaves. The solitary flowers are single, with 5 petals that may be white or pink, and pale or vibrant. Some cultivars have pink petals and double flowers.

Cultivation and Historical past

Seashore tomatoes have been launched to Europe from Japan within the late 1700s, they usually traveled to North America a couple of a long time later. They’ve accomplished perhaps too good of a job of their new house.

A horizontal image of a large rugosa rose shrub with pink flowers growing in the garden.

By 1899, the species had naturalized in Massachusetts, and it has develop into invasive in some locations, reminiscent of New England.

In some areas, it’s such a typical sight that many individuals don’t understand that it’s not native to North America. Not solely does it unfold by way of suckers, however birds carry the seeds far and large.

Examine native laws to be sure you can legally buy and plant this species in your neck of the woods.

If you happen to’re afraid the vegetation will develop into overly aggressive, take coronary heart. Rugosa roses have been used to make all types of hybrids which might be rather less enthusiastic of their spreading conduct.

Since this species is of course illness resistant – particularly to black spot and rust, two illnesses that always plague rose growers – it’s a superb choice to hybridize with.


Rugosa roses might be propagated in plenty of methods, and all of them could also be equally profitable. That is one plant that’s desirous to reward your reproductive efforts.

Cuttings are a typical methodology, and we have now guides to stroll you thru propagating cuttings in water or in soil.

In fact, you can too go the previous dependable route of buying a plant and placing it within the floor. If you happen to decide to go in that route, learn our information for some tips about planting.

A close up horizontal image of an open palm holing a single rosehip.

If you happen to’d fairly go the seed route, you possibly can harvest and save seeds from the hips or purchase some. First, learn our information on find out how to harvest and save rose seeds, then come again right here.

The seeds must be stratified earlier than you plant them, so place the seeds in moist sand or sphagnum moss in a sealed plastic bag and toss the bag within the fridge for 60 days. Examine the medium every now and then to ensure it stays moist.

Plant the seeds a half-inch deep in four-inch pots full of a seed-starting medium.

You should use customary plastic pots, after all, however I really like CowPots.

These are made out of cow manure, which suggests they may biodegrade into the soil, and also you don’t should disturb the rose’s roots as a lot if you plant. Plus, the seedlings get a bit nutrient increase from the poop.

CowPots Biodegradable Pots

If you happen to don’t have some already, you should buy packages of 12 four-inch pots from Amazon.

Place the pots on a warming mat below develop lights for a minimum of six hours every day. As soon as the seedlings emerge, transfer the lights a bit additional away.

When the seedlings are about 4 to 6 inches tall, you possibly can harden them off.

Hardening off entails placing your plant outdoors in a protected location for an hour or so the place it could actually get used to the daylight. Then, deliver it again inside.

On the next day, take it again outdoors and go away it out for 2 hours. Add an hour every day for every week. Now you possibly can plant the seedling within the floor.

Set your vegetation 5 toes aside. If you wish to know extra about find out how to plant rose bushes, go to our information.

Some roses must have their bud union buried to thrive, however that’s not a fear right here since we aren’t coping with grafted vegetation. Simply plant it on the similar depth because it was rising initially.

Tips on how to Develop

Usually, the prep required for a rose might be, let’s assume, concerned. Growers do their finest to make the soil completely good for his or her new plant. However you might be way more relaxed in case you plant this species.

It’ll thrive in sandy, clay, gravelly, chalky, or loamy soil. Until your soil appears extra like concrete or quicksand, don’t fear an excessive amount of sound making an attempt to make it good.

A close up horizontal image of a pink flower growing in the garden pictured in bright sunshine on a dark soft focus background.

It by no means hurts to work in some well-rotted compost or manure although. And well-draining soil is finest.

Whereas the rugosa rose is adaptable sufficient to outlive in partial shade, give it full solar for the perfect flowering. Simply don’t plant one close to your walkways or house entrances.

Many roses will attain out and seize you as you stroll by, however particularly seaside tomatoes. They’ve plenty of canes, and people canes are coated in plenty of lengthy prickles.

These vegetation shall be advantageous even with a bit an excessive amount of water or by way of a brief interval of drought, however attempt to preserve the soil persistently moist. You don’t need to push it, so in case you can stick your finger within the soil and it feels dry, seize the ol’ hose.

Or, in case you’re out there for a brand new one, try our roundup of the perfect backyard hose choices.

There’s no must fertilize these vegetation except you’ve examined your soil and you recognize it’s poor in one thing.

If you happen to’re already feeding the remainder of your backyard, be happy to toss them a bit gentle, balanced fertilizer. It gained’t harm something, as long as you solely do it a couple of times a yr, however don’t overfeed them.

Rising Suggestions

  • Work some well-rotted compost or manure into the soil earlier than planting
  • Plant in full solar
  • Preserve the soil persistently moist

Pruning and Upkeep

Rugosas unfold through suckers, so if you wish to include them, you’ll want to remain on high of eradicating these. The plant will type a dense thicket if left to its personal units. That’s nice if you would like a pleasant hedge or pure fence, not so nice if you would like a specimen.

Dig up or minimize down any suckers to the bottom if you see them.

Don’t deadhead the spent flowers. This species will proceed flowering with none assist from you, and in case you deadhead them, you’ll take off the hips and deprive your self of the attractive winter shade they provide.

Prune to create a pleasant form. You don’t must prune these as fastidiously as you’ll customary shrub roses. Simply trim them again to a leaf node to encourage branching and to maintain the vegetation from rising too massive.

Cultivars to Choose

There are a lot of, many hybrids bred from seaside roses as a result of they’re so proof against issues they usually can deal with such an enormous vary of situations.

Combining a bit of their great things with varieties which might be a bit extra delicate can create an distinctive shrub.

However if you would like the unique, there are some implausible cultivars that look simply as showy as your common tea rose. Listed below are only a few standouts:

Alba Plena

If you would like one thing that appears quite a bit like the unique wild species, ‘Alba Plena’ is a superb selection.

A vertical image of white rugosa roses growing in the garden pictured on a dark background.

However there’s nothing plain about this rose. It’s extra floriferous than the species, with double, pure white flowers fairly than the standard single blooms. They usually develop in massive teams, including to the influence.

The flowers are aromatic and the plant can survive as far north as Zone 2b.

Bayse’s Purple

If you would like a hardy plant that may stand up to the chilly in Zone 3, try ‘Bayse’s Purple.’

Bred by hobbyist Dr. Robert E. Bayse in Texas, he aimed to create robust, disease-resistant roses, and he discovered success with this hybrid.

The cherry reddish-purple blossoms are semi-double and strongly aromatic with a touch of clove. This can be a prolific bloomer with a vigorous development behavior.


One of many drawbacks of rugosas is that the blossoms could be a little much less attention-grabbing than a number of the frilly, double flowers you’ll discover on different species. Not ‘Hansa,’ although.

The double blossoms are deep, daring fuchsia, they usually stick round all summer time lengthy. A feast for the senses, the flowers are additionally intensely aromatic with a daring, spicy scent. Attain out and contact them: they’re velvety smooth.

A close up square image of pink 'Hansa' flowers growing in the garden pictured on a green soft focus background.


This cultivar will develop six toes tall and large at maturity, so when you’ve got the correct spot, snag your self one in a #3 container at Nature Hills Nursery. It’s really useful for Zone 3b and hotter.


‘Rugelda’ is a hybrid cross between ‘Bonanza’ and ‘Robusta’ bred by famous rose breeder W. Kordes & Sons in Germany.

A close up horizontal image of a single yellow flower pictured on a soft focus background.

It’s a shocking, clear yellow with pink alongside the sides. The small flowers are double and mildly aromatic. Plant it in Zones 5 and up.

Therese Bugnet

One of many prettiest rugosa hybrids on the market, ‘Therese Bugnet’ is a stunner.

It was bred by Georges Bugnet of Alberta, Canada. He was recognized for utilizing native and wild roses in his breeding program to create some extraordinarily robust vegetation.

A close up horizontal image of a cluster of pink 'Therese Bugnet' flowers growing in the garden.

However you’d by no means know that this beautiful girl is hiding a troublesome inside.

The big, totally double, aromatic pink blossoms look as enticing as probably the most elegant damask. This cultivar is hardy all the way down to Zone 5.

Managing Pests and Illness

If you happen to water on the soil stage, preserve the vegetation appropriately pruned so that they have good air circulation, and don’t overwater, it’s unlikely you’ll expertise pest or illness issues.

A close up horizontal image of a rugosa rose bush plant with hips developing in autumn. In the background is a red weatherboard fence.

Some roses are devoured by herbivores, however the prickles on this species preserve deer and rabbits away. I can hardly blame them. These prickles might be vicious!

Rugosas are proof against most illnesses, although you might need to familiarize your self with the checklist of widespread illnesses simply in case yours comes down with one thing.

Crowded vegetation rising in moist areas usually tend to have points like rust and powdery mildew.

Pests have a tougher time feeding on the thick, robust leaves, however preserve an eye fixed out for aphids and scale.

Greatest Makes use of

As with all roses, you possibly can develop these as specimens in your backyard. The much less aggressive hybrids and cultivars work finest for this objective.

In any other case, use them as a hedge, residing fence, or display screen. They’re additionally helpful in areas that want some erosion management.

A horizontal image of a rambling rugosa roses growing on a sand dune near a beach.

Bear in mind how I promised to debate the hips? Right here we go!

These vegetation have arguably the perfect hips if you wish to use them for meals, cosmetics, house items, or drugs. They’re a number of the finest for decorative makes use of, too.

The hips are enormous and considerably juicy, whereas most species have mealy, small hips. They’re additionally tart, like different species, however they’ve extra fruity sweetness than any others I’ve tasted.

As a lot as I really like foraging and utilizing rose hips, I’ve to confess that a few of them don’t style all that nice except you physician them up with some sugar or one thing. These style scrumptious all on their very own, type of like a tart apple – they’re associated, in spite of everything.

A close up horizontal image of a jar of rose hip jelly with fresh hips scattered on a wooden table.

Like all fruits in the Rosaceae household, the seeds include compounds often called cyanogenic glycosides. These produce poisonous hydrogen cyanide that may make you fairly sick in case you eat sufficient, so don’t eat too lots of the seeds themselves.

They’re robust and bitter anyway, so I’m undecided why you’d need to. If you happen to occur to crunch on a couple of, you don’t must stress. You’d should eat quite a bit to develop into ailing.

As a result of the hips are so massive, you possibly can pick the seeds pretty simply. If you happen to don’t really feel like doing the work, simply boil the hips to separate the flesh from the seeds.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort: Woody perennial shrub Flower / Foliage Shade: White, pink, pink/inexperienced
Native to: Jap Asia Water Wants: Average
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 2-7 Upkeep: Average
Bloom Time/Season: Spring, summer time, fall (flowers)/winter (hips) Soil Sort: Sandy to clay
Publicity: Full solar Soil pH: 5.0-7.0
Spacing: 5 toes Soil Drainage: Effectively-draining
Planting Depth: 1/2 inch (seeds), similar depth as container (transplants) Attracts: Bees, butterflies
Development Charge: Quick Makes use of: Border, cottage backyard, edible, erosion management, hedge, residing fence, specimen
Time to Maturity: 5 years Order: Rosales
Top: 6 toes Household: Rosaceae
Unfold: 20 toes Genus: Rosa
Widespread Pests and Illness: Aphids, powdery mildew; rust, scale Species: Rugosa

Fairly on the Exterior, Robust as Nails Inside

If in case you have a good friend that longs to develop roses however doesn’t need to cope with a number of the illness challenges, level them to rugosas.

Their standing as robust vegetation which might be tolerant of chilly is completely legendary.

A close up horizontal image of a pink rugosa rose growing by the side of a pathway.

Are you turning to rugosas since you’ve given up on the extra delicate varieties? Or are you planning to reap the hips? Simply need to strive one thing new? Tell us within the feedback.

If you happen to’re in search of extra methods to nurture your rose backyard, we have now plenty of guides that you simply may discover useful. Listed below are only a few:

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