How to Grow Rosa rugosa Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Rugosa Rose / Beach Rose

The Rosa rugosa plant is a shrub that is commonly known as the Beach Rose or Rugosa Rose. It typically takes about two to five years of growth for it to reach its full potential height.

The plant is a native of Eastern China and is often found on the beaches and sand dunes of Siberia, Japan, China, and the Korean peninsular.

Rugosa Rose

Kartoffel Rose photograph by Andreas Rockstein; CC.

Plants often grow in thickets; this is because it naturally produces new plants from its roots.

Common Questions

Should I prune Rosa rugosa?

Yes, as a rose plant it is best to prune it to keep it tidy and to remove any decaying or diseased tissues. As it produces attractive eddible hips it is probably best to prune towards the end of winter or at the start of spring.

How do you care for Rosa rugosa?

This is a medium maintenance plant, it requires regular deep watering, twice yearly fertilizer, pest control, mulching, and light pruning. See the Growing and care section below for further information.

How do you propagate Rosa rugosa?

Chip Budding (summer); Hardwood cuttings (Autumn). As a suckering shrub this rose also produces new plants from its roots.

When should I prune my Beach roses

Dependent upon if you want hips or not. Normally you would prune them in late winter or early spring upon the appearance of new growth returning.

Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Rosa rugosa
  • Common Name (s): Rugosa rose, Beach rose, Japanese rose, Ramanas rose, Letchberry, Kartoffel-Rose. Potato Rose, Wrinkled Rose
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 2 to 7 / H7
  • Invasiveness: This plant is considered an invasive species in many northern seaside state parts of the USA: See for more details.

Plant Details

  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Deciduous shrub.
  • Plant Height: 2 to 6 feet (60 cm to 180 cm).
  • Plant Spread: 3 to 6 inches (90 to 180 cm).
  • Blooms: Late spring through to mid-summer or later.
  • Flower Details: Scented. Single or semi-double. White to dark pink. Five petals. Showy. ~ 6 to 9 cm (2.5 to 3.7 inches) wide. Wrinkled.
  • Hips: Edible. Tomato-like appearance. Red or Purple.
  • Leaf Foliages: Pinnate. Elliptical. 8 to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches) in length. Hairy veins. Top dark green and leathery. green-grey beneath. Wrinkled.

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight for best results; can tolerate partial shade.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Humus rich. Well drained fertile loams for best results, can tolerate poor soils.
  • Suitable Soil pH: Slightly acidic for best results.
  • Soil Soil Moisture: Moist. Very good drainage required. Do not let soil get overly wet.

  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Propagate in the summer by chip budding (see: this page for further information on chip budding), or from hardwood cuttings in the autumn.
  • Sowing: Can be grown from seed but it is a tedious drawn out process. First collect fresh hips. Once collected cut in half and remove the seeds into a glass of water containing about 5 ml of bleach (this sterilizes the seeds). Discard any floating seeds. Wash the remaining seeds a few times in water. Mix the seeds in peat (within a container) and stratify in a fridge in the dark for about two months. Prepare a seed tray consisting 50:50 peat: Perlite mixture. Sow the rose seeds about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, and cover with more soil mix. Mist the soil, and keep moist from now on. Place the tray in the greenhouse under lights with long-day growth conditions (16h light: 8h dark). Seeds should germinate after about two or three weeks. The Rose seedlings can be transplanted to small 3 inch (7 to 8 cm) pots or outside to a seedling bed once they have four true leaves.

  • Care: Takes a little looking after, but not too much (medium maintenance). Do not water from overhead. Water deeply in the mornings. Fertilize towards the end of winter or in early spring with specialized rose fertilizer; follow up with a mulch of rotted manure or organic matter. Fertilize again in the summer. Do not prune following the rose bloom as the plant produces hips. If you do not require hips then deadheading following flowering sometimes results in a second bloom. Prune to keep Plant tidy,remove any decaying or diseased tissues; towards the end of winter or at the start of spring. Do not use a Hoe to weed around roses as they have shallow roots. Mulching helps to prevent weeds.
  • Rose Pests: As a Rose species it is susceptible to numerous pests, especially aphids, leafhoppers, scale insects, sawfly, and red spider mite; treat accordingly. Growing in full sunlight tends to lower pest incidence. Rose plants are also attractive to rabbits and deer. This species is resistance to many common rose diseases.
  • Container Grown Rose Care: If growing roses in containers then fertilize every two weeks from the middle of spring until the end of summer. Use a general-purpose fertilizer for container grown plants until buds have formed. Then use a high potassium tomato feed.

Further Information

  • Best used for: Butterfly gardens, Hedges, Borders, Coastal gardens. Erosion control. Salty soils.
  • Family: Rosaceae; the Rose family.
  • Closely Related Species: Dryas, Roses (Rosa), Prunus, Alchemilla, Aronia, Aruncus, Pyrus, Sanguisorba, Sorbus, Acaena, Crataegus, Rubus, and Waldstenia.
  • Miscellaneous: Rugosa is Latin for wrinkled. Attracts butterflies and birds. Tolerant of sea spray and clay soils.
  • Further Reading and References used for this Rosa rugosa growing guide: Missouri Botanical Garden; RHS

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Rosa rugosa plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Alchemilla mollis and Acaena microphylla plants.