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Rugosa rose

Flowers of Frau Dagmar Hastrup rugosa rose.

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.


Botanical name:

Rosa rugosa

All Common Names:

Rugosa rose, hedgerow rose, saltspray rose, Japanese rose

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

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:

  • Zone 2,
  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 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.

Cultivars and their differences  

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. 



Location of Rosa rugosa (Rugosa rose) at the Arboretum