How to Grow Rosa Rugosa in Poor Soil


The Rugosa Rose is a tough, cold-hardy shrub that will flower for anyone who can give it space in well-drained garden soil, no matter how sandy or lean. Native to northern China, Korea and Japan, it usually has single mauve pink flowers, though varieties are available with single or double white, pink and red flowers.

Buy and plant your rose

Step 1

Choose a place to plant that has room for a large shrub and has soil that is slightly acid and allows water to drain through quickly. Seaside areas and those with salts in the soil are fine. If your soil is heavy clay or drains poorly, mix lots of organic matter with it and create a mound to plant into.

Step 2

Decide what color and shape of flower you want. Single roses have lovely yellow stamens, double have a showy presence. Choose a plant that is well branched with a round even shape.

Step 3

Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the roots of your shrub. If your soil is alkaline, mix in peat moss. Add a quarter cup of bone meal to the soil at the bottom of the hole, place the rose with the soil line on the trunk at the same height as the top of your soil and fill the hole around the roots. Water well. If you are mounding the soil to create good drainage, cover the roots well up to the soil line.

Step 4

Give ordinary watering the first year to promote good root growth. Water occasionally the second year and ignore after that.

Step 5

Check occasionally for insects or disease. Rugosas are resistant to many problems so don't spray unless you see damage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Rugosa roses often spread underground from the roots, making a thicket of stems. Give them room or dig out the runners before they can take hold.

Things You'll Need

  • Well-drained soil
  • Shovel
  • Bone meal


  • Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa)
  • Rosa rugosa
Keywords: Rugosa, seaside rose, poor soil

About this Author

Over the past 30 years, Mara Grey has sold plants in nurseries, designed gardens and volunteered as a Master Gardener. She is the author of "The Lazy Gardener" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flower Gardening" and has a Bachelor of Science in botany.