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Lawn & Garden

Plant of the Week: Rosa Rugosa



The sweet smell of summer: Rosa Rugosa


I have to say there is absolutely nothing that evokes the glorious feelings of summertime like the sweet scent of the Rugosa rose mingled within a salty breeze.


Recently I had the opportunity to visit and hike along the marginal, cliff walk, at Portland Light, Portland, Maine.


As soon as I open the car door the fragrance of the Rugosa wafted in, the misty morning air was saturated with the calming fragrance, the air was so heavy with moisture it made it seemed as though the slightest breeze carried a lovely spritz of the summer scent across my face.


In a home garden roses like to have a defined space, a little garden bed all their own, with great drainage and definite sun. The Rugosa rose can grow prolifically among the course rocks, within the nooks and crannies and out of the tiny crevices of soil along the rugged, salt sprayed shoreline.


The Rosa Rugosa was first introduced into the United States in, 1845 from Eastern Asia; the rose was discovered years later naturalized in 1899 on the island of Nantucket, off the coast of Massachusetts. The Rugosa rose now dominates, and is present on the entire Northeast seashore, and across the United States.



Rosa Rugosa blooms heavily in the spring but will continue to bloom throughout the summer months. It is hardy to in zones 3-9, can withstand intense wind, drought, heat, and is virtually pest free.


The growth habit of the Rugosa rose is in a basic thicket…they can mound and become quite dense; the branches have intense hair like thorns. All of this should be taken into consideration when planted in a home landscape; it is a great boundary hedge plant especially where trespassing is a problem, even deer don’t like to mess with Rugosa roses.


The rose prefers a sunny location, but it will also grow in a shaded area, new plants need to be water while it adjusts to a new planting, but after a few seasons nature’s irrigation is sufficient.


The deciduous Rugosa rose has bright green leaves that resemble corduroy. The plant can grow 4-8 feet tall and spread 4-6 feet wide. Pruning can be done yearly with heavy armored gloves, sleeves and pants….it really is a tough plant and has the spines, thorns, to prove it!

The autumn brings amazing orange-bronze rose hips to the Rugosa rose, the hips can be harvested and made into teas, jellies and jams.


I do not have the space to dedicate to this fabulous rose, so I will leave it to the seashore to nurture and cultivate the rose for me. It is not just the whole action of going to the beach that I enjoy…… It is the appeal of every sense that lures me to the shore: the sight of the ocean, the sound of the surf, the feel of the sand beneath my feet, the taste of the salt in the spray of the ocean, and the intoxicating perfume of the Rugosa rose.


Heighten your summer awareness, navigate yourself to your local Home Depot…. follow your nose to the Rugosa rose! If you have the perfect spot for this summer marvel pick one up and plant it in your landscape……. then enjoy the scent of the summer shore at your house!   Maureen


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Posted 2016-07-12T17:41:33+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS Maureen_HD_BOS