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.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
- Small shrub (3-5 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 2,
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- 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:
Shape or Form:
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.
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.
Blanc Double de Coubert Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa 'Blanc Double de Coubert'): Grows 4 to 5 feet high and wide. This vigorous grower is very resistant to black spot and powdery mildew. A sturdy shrub rose with stout, upright stems. Clean, glossy dark foliage and clusters of semi-double, white, highly fragrant flowers with yellow stamens. Plant rarely produces hips.
Charles Albanel (Rosa rugosa 'Charles Albanel'): A small, 2 to 3 feet high and wide mounded shrub with double mauve flower in summer, followed by bright orange-red rose hips. Fall color is a golden yellow.
Frau Dagmar Hastrup Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa 'Frau Dagmar Hastrup'): Grows 3 to 4 feet high and wide. This vigorous grower is very resistant to black spot and powdery mildew. Fragrant, silvery-pink, single blooms with showy yellow stamens appear in June. This prolific bloomer produces large, red hips in great quantity that color as early as July. The plant’s rich, dark green foliage turns an excellent yellow to orange color in the fall.
Hansa Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa 'Hansa'): Grows 4 to 5 feet high and wide with rounded habit. Fragrant, reddish purple flowers followed by showy red rose hips. The dark green, crinkly foliage turns a golden orange in fall.
Purple Pavement Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa 'Purple Pavement'): A 3 to 4 feet high and wide shrub with umbrella-like habit. Flowers are a ruffled purplish-red accented with yellow stamens. Attractive yellow rose hips contrasts well against the dark green foliage.