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Rosa rugosa var. alba (Hedgehog rose, Ramanas rose, Japanese rose, Sea tomato)

Rosa rugosa var. alba Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of White Flower Farm


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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Botanical Name: Rosa rugosa var. alba ROE-sah roo-GO-sah variety AL-bah Common Name: Hedgehog rose, Ramanas rose, Japanese rose, Sea tomato Synonyms: R. rugosa 'Alba', R. rugosa f. alba Genus: Rosa
This variety has single, papery white blossoms that open from light pink buds and have contrasting yellow stamens. The heavily-scented flowers are followed by reddish-orange hips. It grows up to 6 feet high.
Noteworthy characteristics: Rugosa roses have thorny branches and attractive, distinctively wrinkled leaves. (The species takes its name from the Latin word rugosus, meaning "full of wrinkles".) They grow well in mixed borders, hedges, and as specimens. They are tolerant of harsh conditions, including salt spray, wind, and poor soil. 
Care: Grow in fertile, moist, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Provide good air circulation and remove fallen leaves to help prevent disease. In late winter or early spring, prune lightly or back by up to one-third, reducing side shoots by one-half to one-third. To renovate, prune one in four or five shoots at the base.
Propagation: Take softwood cuttings when bloom initiates in spring to summer; take hardwood cuttings in fall. Sow seeds of species in fall and bud in summer.
Problems: Aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites, scale, caterpillars, sawfly larvae, cane borers, Japanese beetles, rose stem girders, rose midges, rose slugs, rose chafers, leaf-cutting bees, black spot, rust, powdery mildew, crown gall, canker, dieback, downy mildew, viruses.
Height 3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread 3 ft. to 6 ft.
Growth Habit Clumps
Growth Pace Moderate Grower
Light Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture Medium Moisture
Maintenance Low
Characteristics Attracts Birds; Attracts Butterflies; Fragrant Flowers; Showy Flowers; Showy Foliage; Showy Fruit
Bloom Time Fall; Spring; Summer
Flower Color White Flower
Uses Beds and Borders, Cut Flower, Hedge, Naturalizing, Specimen Plant/ Focal Point, Waterside
Style Cottage Garden, Formal Garden
Seasonal Interest Spring Interest, Summer Interest, Fall Interest
Type Shrubs

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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This choice rose has single, gently cupped light-pink flowers that exude an intense, clove-scented perfume. It blooms in spring and sporadically throughout the season, and produces red hips. In autumn, the foliage turns deep maroon, which changes to yellow tinged with coppery highlights. It grows to 3 to 4 feet high and wide.   

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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This spreading rose grows to only 2 feet tall, making it an ideal groundcover for a steep bank or roadside. It produces fragrant, double, deep-pink blossoms from spring to fall.  

Rosa rugosa 'Henry Hudson' Rosa rugosa 'Henry Hudson'
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Henry Hudson' has flattened, symmetrical, semi-double, white flowers with a spicy clove scent. The dense and deep green foliage makes a fitting backdrop for this selection's reddish buds and ensuing cream-colored flowers. The blossoms don't drop cleanly, so deadheading is necessary. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121

Rosa rugosa 'Polar Ice' Rosa rugosa 'Polar Ice'
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Polar Ice' is one of the most vigorous and densely growing rugosa roses and features clusters of double, slightly nodding flowers. Green buds open to creamy white blooms with pink petals and deeper pink centers. The flowers smell lightly of baby powder, and the new lime green foliage smells like strawberries and sweet grass. In autumn, the foliage turns bright yellow. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121

Rosa rugosa 'Purple Pavement' Rosa rugosa 'Purple Pavement'
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Purple Pavement' has large, ruffled blossoms with a  purple-red color and strong fragrance. In the fall, the blossoms give way to large, handsome hips, and the foliage turns from green to shades of yellow and maroon. This shapely shrub with dependable repeat bloom it is especially good for a late display, when the hips appear alongside fall asters and other perennials with assertive autumn colors. -Suzanne Verrier, No muss, no fuss rugosa roses, Fine Gardening issue #121