Rugosa rose Rosa rugosa

A rugged rose for difficult gardens

Known as the ‘hedgehog rose’ because of its prickly stems, the hardy rugosa rose is at home in gardens by the sea where sandy soil and salt air would defeat many other roses. It is also the ideal choice for gardens in cold climates.



Complete planting of bare-root bushes.

Cut out any dead or straggly wood on existing bushes.

If it is grown as a hedge, cut back 1-2 main shoots hard to encourage new growth from ground level.



Keep new plants well watered until they are fully established. Spray against any pests and diseases if natural methods do not control them.



Prepare planting sites by digging the soil deeply and incorporating compost or well-rotted manure. Plant container-grown rugosas at anytime, but take care not to disturb their roots.



Plant new bushes.

Bare-root plants from a nursery should be planted immediately.

Remove any clusters of hips on existing shrubs which have been damaged by foraging birds.


Many rugosas are grafted onto rootstock rather than their own roots. It is essential that the bud union (the knobbly join) is at least 2.5cm below the soil surface after planting to protect it from frost.

Rugosa roses flower repeatedly. Those with single or semi-double flowers produce huge red hips, but double flowers make none. They can all be grown as shrubs or hedges.

Rugosa roses come from a very hardy species that grows wild on sand dunes in coastal regions of Siberia and Japan. It now grows naturally along the coast of Britain, but only its hybrids suit growing in the garden.

Planting and care

Prepare a bare-root plant by trimming away dead or damaged roots and top growth. Then cut back the branches to about 10cm from the bud union (the knobby protuberances where the grafted rose branches stem from the root-bearing wood).

Make a planting hole at least 45cm deep and 60cm wide. Loosen soil at the bottom with a fork and scatter over a handful of bone meal. Add another handful to the rest of the dug-out soil.

Spread the plant roots in the bottom of the hole. Half fill it, then carefully tread in the soil around the plant. Shake it gently to work in the soil around the roots. Completely refill the hole and firm in the soil by treading around the stem.


Rugosas make a good dense thorny hedge if planted on their own.

They can also be combined with common hedgerow plants like hawthorn and field maple to make a colourful tapestry effect. The hybrids ‘Alba’ and ‘Scabrosa’ are especially good for this purpose.


Full sun is best Ideally, well-drained Rugosa is very hardy although the rugosa, medium soil that has, and needs little care.

Rose will tolerate, been deeply dug and, Each year, apply a partial shade mixed with compost or, layer of well-rotted , manure before plant-, manure or compost , ing. However, the, around the roots. , rugosa rose tolerates, Prune just to keep the , sandy and infertile soil, shrub or hedge to a , successfully tidy shape.


Sun or shade.


From late May until the first frost.

HEIGHT: 0.6-3.0m.


Any soil, including poor sandy soil.


Of all the roses, rugosa is the most disease-free. However, there are exceptions. A few hybrids, such as, ‘Sarah van Fleet’ and ‘Conrad Ferdinand

Meyer’ can suffer badly from rust (orange spots on the leaves). Remove and bum any affected leaves, and spray with a recommended fungicide. Aphids rarely attack rugosas. If they do appear, try blasting them off with a jet of water from a garden hose. If this fails, spray with a recommended insecticide.

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