Hybrid Rugosa Roses

If any roses ever deserved the label "easy", surely it is the hybrid rugosa roses. Indeed, in the northern half of the United States, these roses set the standard against which all others are measured. The ancestor of this class is a central Asian species, Rosa rugosa. This is a rose that can withstand Siberian winters and temperatures as low as -50°F (-45°C). In addition to its tolerance for cold, this shrub is also extraordinarily tolerant of salt and dry soil and has escaped from cultivation to colonize beaches throughout New England.

The best rugosa hybrids have inherited not only their wild ancestor's hardiness but also its glossy, furrowed foliage. This is almost completely immune to fungal diseases, and because these roses are notably pest resistant, they are perfect for those who hate to spray.

These roses bloom throughout the summer, bearing clove-scented midsize flowers that commonly run 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 in (6.4-8.9cm) across, though a few may spread to 4in (10.2cm). This display is followed by a fall show of enormous, tomato red hips that contrast boldly with the yellow, reddish, or purplish foliage.

These dense, suckering, thorny shrubs make excellent hedges and are ideal landscape shrubs for windy and exposed sites. The compact cultivars integrate easily into a flower border and when massed serve as a handsome ground cover. Carefree and reliable throughout Canada and in the Northeast, Midwest, Rocky Mountain West, and Northwest regions of the United States, hybrid rugosas are less satisfactory in the Southwest and Southeast, where they thrive only at higher altitudes or in less humid coastal regions.

'Belle Poitevine' Roses (Introduced - 1894)
The flowers of 'Belle Poitevine' are fragrant and semi-double, with twirled petals. Their coloring is somewhat dependent on weather, ranging from rose pink to magenta pink, with lighter colors more prevalent under sunny skies. In fall, the plump orange-red hips create a colorful display against the deeply veined, leathery, dark green foliage.
The vigorous plants are nicely shaped, often as broad as they are tall. This rose makes a good choice for a large hedge. Like other hybrid rugosa roses, this rose is very hardy, disease resistant, and easy to grow. This rose also tolerates seaside conditions.

'Blanc Double de Coubert' Roses (Introduced - 1892)
This hybrid rugosa blooms heavily early in the season, with scattered blossoms in summer and fall. Flowers are semi-double, 2 to 3 inches wide, and very fragrant. Petals are pure white with a delicate tissue-paper-like texture that contrasts with the crinkled, dark, leathery leaves. Canes are gray, and in fall large orange-red hips are produced.
Plants are typically as broad as they are tall and require a lot of room. Extremely vigorous, they often send out suckers several feet from the plant base. The rose is effective as a hedge, in large beds, and as a specimen. One of the best hybrid rugosas, 'Blanc Double de Coubert' is extremely hardy, resistant to both diseases and insects, and tolerates sandy soil and salt spray, making it a good choice for seaside gardens.

'Delicata' Roses (Introduced - 1898)
The bright pink to mauve flowers of 'Delicata' rose are semi-double, containing 18 to 24 petals, and open to a width of 3 to 3 1/2 inches. Scented like cloves, the blooms appear in abundance early in the season and repeat until fall. Large orange-red hips follow the blooms and are present at the same time as later flowers-which may create an objectionable color combination for some.
Plants are low growing compared with other hybrid rugosas, and they have a compact, well-branched habit. Rarely over 3 feet in height, they are useful garden shrubs. Like other members of this class, 'Delicata' rose is extremely hardy, disease resistant, and tolerant of seaside conditions.

'Fimbriata' Roses (Introduced - 1891)
The blossoms of this shrub do not look like those of the typical rugosa; in fact, they do not look like roses at all, but instead resemble pale pink carnations. But 'Fimbriata' is a typical rugosa in its toughness, for this shrub tolerates not only extreme cold but also poor soils and light shade. It isn't just disease resistant; it's virtually disease free.
The spicily perfumed blossoms, clean foliage, and dense, relatively compact growth make 'Fimbriata' an excellent accent in a perennial border. Its hardiness and adaptability make this shrub a good choice for the northern gardener with a challenging site.

'F.J. Grootendorst' Roses (Introduced - 1918)
'F. J. Grootendorst' rose produces clusters of up to 20 small, scentless, crimson flowers throughout the growing season. Individual blooms are double and have a carnation like appearance with fringed petals. The abundant foliage is somewhat coarse, leathery, and dark green. This rose has given rise to several sports, including 'Pink Grootendorst', which has soft pink flowers; 'White Grootendorst', whose white blooms are borne on a considerably smaller plant; and 'Grootendorst Supreme', whose blossoms are lightly scented and a deeper red than those of its parent.
This rugosa hybrid is a vigorous grower with a bushy, upright habit. This rose is easy to grow, tolerant of seaside conditions, and disease resistant.

'Frau Dagmar Hartopp' Roses (Introduced - 1914)
This compact rugosa is an ideal candidate for a smaller garden. Its clove-scented, light pink, single flowers open to reveal knots of golden stamens at their centers, and they recur throughout the summer. Indeed, this rose is seldom out of bloom through the warm-weather months and usually is heavily laden with flowers. In fall, the flowers give way to large, tomato red hips as the leaves rum orange or yellow. To ensure a good crop of hips and the best autumn display, plant another rugosa rose such as the species type Rosa rugosa alba or R. rugosa rubra nearby, as cross-pollination increases the fruit production of 'Frau Dagmar Hartopp'.

'Hansa' Roses (Introduced - 1905)
'Hansa' is a large, vigorous rugosa with very thorny canes. It creates an effective barrier hedge, but you may find it too attractive to relegate to the edges of the garden, for this rose also makes a fine specimen in the herb garden. 'Hansa' is particularly compatible with herbs because, unlike most roses, it thrives in the dry, sandy soils that most herbs prefer. Yet 'Hansa' doesn't object to a richer soil, and it flourishes well in the perennial border. Its large, double, reddish purple flowers have a strong, spicy scent, bloom freely through the season, and in fall are followed by large, orange-red hips. The foliage is typically wrinkled and glossy green.

'Henry Hudson' Roses (Introduced - 1976)
One of the many fine roses introduced by Agriculture Canada, 'Henry Hudson' can be counted on for hardiness and color. Its flowers are large, semi-double, and white with a tuft of golden stamens at the center throughout most of the summer, though fall's cooler weather may stain them with a touch of pink. The fragrance of the flowers is classic rugosa: a spicy clove perfume. The foliage is also typical of the class -small to midsize and deeply furrowed.
This dense, low-growing shrub is a perfect choice for a long blooming hedge that requires no trimming, but it also holds its own quite successfully as a specimen shrub. Like all the Agriculture Canada introductions, 'Henry Hudson' roots readily from cuttings and grows well on its own roots.

'Jens Munk' Roses (Introduced - 1974)
Another hybrid from Agriculture Canada, 'Jens Munk' has the same toughness and recurrent bloom as 'Henry Hudson', but with large, double blooms of a clear medium pink. Gilding the center of each rose is a knot of threadlike golden stamens. As an additional attraction, 'Jens Munk' offers a strong, spicy perfume. The foliage is medium green and clean. This rose is quick to establish itself after transplanting, soon forming a substantial, well-rounded shrub even in a challenging site. Its only flaws are a susceptibility to stem girdler and a paucity of hips. Despite these drawbacks, 'Jens Munk' makes a fine specimen plant as well as a tall and sturdy hedge.

'Linda Campbell' Roses (Introduced - 1990)
This compact shrub was created by crossing a hybrid rugosa with a miniature rose; fortunately, 'Linda Campbell' inherited its rugosa parent's disease resistance and cold hardiness. Unlike most red rugosa roses, whose flowers generally tend toward mauve or purplish, 'Linda Campbell' has pure red blossoms. Borne in large, impressive sprays throughout the summer and into the fall, these flowers are cupped and double; their only defect is a lack of fragrance. The foliage is dark green and semi-glossy, and the shrub is bushy and upright. This is a first-rate rose for a hedge or for use as a landscape shrub, foundation planting, or specimen shrub.

'Max Graf' Roses (Introduced - 1919)
Although the single pink flowers of 'Max Graf' are somewhat modest-looking, they are borne in large clusters rather late in the season, when most other roses are past the peak of their first flush of blooms. 'Max Graf' has been widely used as a low-maintenance ground cover along highways and in urban areas, where it thrives in the most miserable growing conditions. Given the more friendly conditions found in the average garden, the large, dark green, slightly glossy leaves provide an elegant backdrop for other plantings or the shrub's own blossoms.

'Roseraie De L'Hay' Roses (Introduced - 1901)
The long, pointed, scrolled buds of 'Roseraie de L'Hay' open to deep crimson blossoms with cream-colored stamens and age to a magenta pink. Flowers are 4 1/2 to 5 inches across and semi-double, with loosely arranged, folded petals. The blooms are very fragrant. Few hips are produced. Foliage is dense and apple green, with vibrant color in the fall.
Like other hybrid rugosa roses, this vigorous rose is a tough plant with good disease resistance, and it tolerates a wide range of soils and seaside conditions. Its repeating blooms and attractive foliage make it an excellent choice for mixed shrub plantings or hedges.

'Rotes Meer' Roses (Introduced - 1984)
Whether as 'Rotes Meer' or 'Purple Pavement', this new rugosa is winning an increasing following. It refutes a long-standing criticism of the rugosa hybrids that however hardy they might be, they are simply too large to fit into smaller gardens or even the more intimate areas of larger landscapes. 'Rotes Meer', however, makes a dense, neat dome just 3 ft (0.9m) high and wide and is compact enough for even a postage-stamp garden. This rose serves equally well as a border accent, a compact landscape shrub, or material for a low hedge. The foliage is dean and crisp, and the fragrant, double, deep violet-crimson flowers with contrasting golden stamens are borne more or less continuously throughout the summer and into the fall. Indeed, its autumn display may be its most remarkable, for new flowers continue to open even as the red hips fatten and ripen.

'Rugosa Magnifica' Roses (Introduced - 1905)
The deep red-purple to lavender petals of repeat-blooming 'Rugosa Magnifica' rose surround golden yellow stamens. The fragrant blooms are double and are followed by abundant large orange-red hips. Foliage is dense.
This shrub is a very vigorous grower with a wide-spreading habit. This rose is good in mixed-shrub plantings, as a specimen, or as a hedge. Like other hybrid rugosas, this rose is extremely hardy and disease resistant, adapts to a wide range of soils, and tolerates seaside conditions.

'Snow Owl' Roses (Introduced - 1989)
'Snow Owl' is the fragrant, white-flowered sibling of 'Rotes Meer'. It has the same compact growth, and it is well covered with foliage, dense and spreading. It produces flat, 3 in (7.5cm), semi-double (10-15 petals) blooms freely throughout the season. In autumn, the blossoms give way to attractive orange-scarlet hips.
Both 'Snow Owl' and 'Rotes Meer' belong to a series of roses called the "pavement roses", which were developed for roadside plantings. To succeed in such a situation, these roses had to demonstrate a tolerance for both heat and intense cold, as well as for drought, poor soils, and salt spray. These characteristics make the pavement roses outstanding choices not only for planting along a sidewalk or driveway but also for seaside gardens and for the demanding climate of the Upper Midwest and southern prairies and high-altitude regions of the Rocky Mountain West.

'Thérèse Bugnet' Roses (Introduced - 1950)
This Canadian rose has the hardiness one expects of a rose that thrives practically up into the Canadian North. But 'Thérèse Bugnet' offers much more than just persistence. This rose bears clusters of pointed, deep pink buds in spring that open into bouquets of large, ruffled, double flowers of bright lilac-pink. After a prolonged first flush of flowers, this rose reblooms at a more modest pace, but reliably, until the end of the growing season. Its crop of hips is sparse, but 'Therese Bugnet' offers as consolation a fine fall foliage show, as its blue-green foliage turns a rich red. This rose is incredibly hardy, flowers for weeks, and is friendly as a cut flower because the upper part of the stems is almost thornless.


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