Rugosa roses are starting to become naturalized in non-native areas and could potentially become a nuisance. Use caution when adding rugosa roses to your landscape.
Common Name:Rugosa Rose
Leaves: The Latin name Rugosa means ‘Wrinkled’ and refers specifically to the crinkled, serrated leaves with pronounced veins. Rugosa rose leaves occur in leaflets of 5 to 7 leaves.
Flowers: Rugosa rose flowers were often single (a circle of petals with a center disk), but double flowers have been hybridized. They tend to be only about 2-3" wide. Colors include pink, red, lavender and white. Many have a slight to strong clove fragrance.
- 'F.J. Grootendorst' - Clusters of cranberry red flowers.
- 'Hansa' - Double, fragrant lavender-pink flowers and orange hips.
- 'Henry Hudson' - Smaller growing with white flowers.
- 'Sandy' - Developed specifically for sand dune stabilization.
- 'Terese Bugnet' - Reliable old variety with deep red stems for winter color.
They are known as rugged roses because they can be virtually maintenance free. Rugosas can handle light shade, salt air, frigid temperatures, drought and high humidity.
Soil: Rugosa roses prefer a rich, well-draining soil with slight acidity of around 5.6 to 6.5 soil pH. However rugosa roses are very forgiving and can tolerate poor soil, clay and all kinds of abuse.
Planting: Rugosas roses establish best when there is little competition from weeds and nearby plants. They adapt best if planted in the spring and kept well watered.
Maintenance:Fertilizer: I’ve never fed my rugosa roses anything but a foliage feed of fish emulsion. Some varieties have a sensitivity to chemical fertilizers and seem to fair better if they are watered well before feeding.
Pruning: How much to prune rugosa roses depends on how large your want them to be. You can prune them to almost ground level in the spring, if you want to keep it small or you can do minimal pruning of old wood and suckers, if you want a large, natural looking bush. To encourage new growth and keep the plant full, it helps to prune at least 3 – 10 inches from the tips in spring. As with all roses, don’t prune if a frost is anticipated within 6 weeks, to avoid winter dieback.
If you don’t deadhead the flowers, you will get wonderful rose hips in the fall that will persist through winter. The rose hips are similar to their cousins, the crab apples. They are high in vitamin C and can be used for teas, jams and jellies.
Some varieties will send out suckers that run and spread. Removing the suckers early will keep the shrub from becoming a nuisance.