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How to Grow Rosa Rugosa

By Willow Sidhe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Rosa rugosa tolerates a wide variety of growing conditions.
Hagebutte – Rosa Rugosa image by Marem from Fotolia.com

Rosa rugosa, known as the most trouble-free rose, produces abundant purple, pink or white blooms in early summer. Gardeners often use the hardy, resilient plant in areas where other specimens fail. Tolerant of salt spray, poor soil and drought, Rosa rugosa requires only minimal care to thrive once established in the home landscape. In addition to its attractive flowers, Rosa rugosa also produces the rose hips used commercially for herbal teas and cosmetics. Native to China, Korea and Japan, the plant thrives in temperate areas of the United States and survives winter in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 7.

Plant Rosa rugosa during spring or early summer in a location that receives at least six hours of full sunlight throughout the day and consists of moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the planting site and use a tiller to incorporate it into the soil before planting.

Dig a hole at the planting site of equal depth and twice as wide as the plant's root ball. Place the entire root system into the hole and cover with soil. Water thoroughly to initiate growth, compact the soil and collapse any air pockets.

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch over the ground surrounding the plant to increase moisture retention, deter competitive weed growth and insulate the soil. Start the layer at least 3 inches from the plant's crown to allow air circulation and reduce the risk of disease.

Water Rosa rugosa once every five to seven days, or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. Soak the soil to a depth of about 6 inches at each watering to ensure the plant receives moisture to grow. Reduce watering frequency to once every 14 days during winter.

Prune the plant with hedge clippers during spring, just before active growth resumes. Remove any damaged or diseased growth and cut back any overgrown canes to keep the plant aesthetically pleasing and healthy.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Tiller
  • Mulch
  • Hedge clippers


  • Rosa rugosa has naturalized in most of the United States and does not require fertilizer to thrive and flower.
  • Shredded cedar mulch, wood chips and gravel all make suitable mulches for Rosa rugosa.

About the Author


Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.