Rosa rugosa originated in Asia and looks more like a tea rose plant than a traditional rose bush. The shrub is called by many names, including salt spray rose, hedgehog rose and Japanese rose. Unlike the traditional rose, this plant will tolerate many types of soil and planting locations; it’s even been found growing freely along beaches on the East Coast. Rosa rugosa flowers range in colors from yellow to pink to red and are very fragrant. You will love this deciduous shrub for its easy maintenance, quick growth and awesome beauty. They are hardy in zones 2 through 9.
Dig a hole at least 1 foot deep and a 1 1/2 feet wide in the spring. Replace half the dug out soil with compost and then mix in a 1/2 cup of bone meal. Mound the bottom of the hole with the amended soil so the root ball, when inserted, will be at the same level in the ground that it is in the container.
Remove the Rosa rugosa from the container you purchased it in and gently knock off the soil from the root ball. Spread the roots out and carefully drape them over the mound on the bottom of the hole.
Fill in 2 inches of soil and then water to compact the soil around the roots. Add 2 more inches of soil and water again. Continue until the entire root ball is covered and the plant is at the same level as it was in the container.
Water generously after planting and keep the soil moist for at least 3 months after planting to encourage root growth. Then only water the Rosa rugosa when the top of the soil starts to dry out. This may be once a day during hot, dry periods.
Spread mulch around the plant with 2 inches of wood bark mulch. This will help to retain the moisture around the Rosa rugosa's roots and keep them cooler in the heat of the summer.
Prune off any dead or damaged branches right after planting. Do not prune back to shape the Rosa rugosa if the bush is not dormant at the time of planting. If there are any signs of budding or foliage growth, prune to shape in the winter.
Fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer made for rose bushes a week after you start to see growth on the bush. Then fertilize once a month through late summer or early fall, depending on your climate. If the plant is still producing buds in the late summer then it is alright to fertilize through early fall. Refrain from fertilizing from then until the following spring. Follow the manufacturer's directions regarding what amount to use.