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Rugosa Rose

Rugosa Rose

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Lot Location: 6.1

Rosa Rugosa


Rugosa roses are known for their extreme hardiness, alluring spicy fragrance, attractive fruit and fall color. Rugosa roses are large, 4- to 6-foot-high shrubs, suitable for difficult sites and tend to have fewer disease problems.

All Common Names: 

Rugosa rose, hedgerow rose, saltspray rose, Japanese rose

    Landscape Uses: 

    • Hedge, 
    • Massing, 
    • Screen, 
    • Specimen

    Size Range: 

    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet), 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

    Light Exposure: 

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Hardiness Zones: 

    • Zones 2-7

    Soil Preference: 

    • Acid soil, 
    • Moist, well-drained soil, 
    • Sandy soil


    • Dry sites, 
    • Occasional flooding, 
    • Alkaline soil, 
    • Clay soil, 
    • Road salt

    Season of Interest: 

    • Early summer, 
    • Mid summer

    Flower Color & Fragrance: 

    • Fragrant, 
    • Pink, 
    • Purple, 
    • White

    Shape or Form: 

    • Multi-stemmed, 
    • Round, 
    • Thicket-forming

    Growth Rate: 

    • Moderate

    More Information:

    Size & Form

    4 to 6 feet high and wide.
    Upright, sturdy shrub with stout stems. The branches are often allowed to gracefully arch and develop a spreading form.
    Suckers and forms colonies.

    Tree & Plant Care

    Rosa rugosa is adaptable to many different soil types; including temporary wet, but avoid extremely wet conditions.  
    Salt tolerant.
    Grown on its own roots, making it more hardy than other roses. Winter protection is usually not needed.

    Occasional pruning is needed to remove dead canes.  

    Disease, pests, and problems

    Thick leaves are less prone to fungal problems, rust and  Japanese beetles.

    Disease, pest, and problem resistance

    Thorny stems deter rabbit and rodent damage.

    Native geographic location and habitat

    Japan, China, Korea

    Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

    Many species of birds are attracted to the fruit which ripens in August and often persists through winter.

    Bark color and texture 

    Stout, bristly stems are incredibly spiny, densely covered in 1/4 inch needle-like thorns. 

    Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

    Alternate,  pinnately-compound leaf is made up of 5 to 9 smaller oblong leaflets, slightly serrated, with heavily veined and wrinkled (hence the rugosa) texture. 
    The dark green leaves turn a beautiful orange-red fall color.

    Flower arrangement, shape, and size

    Clusters of mostly single, 2 to 3 inch wide, pink flowers with showy yellow stamens open in June and continue throughout the summer with sporadic blooms until frost. Flowers are sweetly fragrant.
    Hybrid colors include red, pink, lavender, and white and can be single or double flowers.

    Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

    Attractive, large, one inch, cherry-like fruits ( rose hips) can be bright red to orange-red.  Fruits ripen in August and often persist into winter.