A new colour in a thuggish perennial
Black Tuscan kale in the garden (and the oven)

Powerhouse Plant For All Seasons: Rosa rugosa

The flowers and hips of Rosa rugosa bring us two valuable features at different seasons. Image © GardenPhotos.com
Powerhouse Plants, Plants For All Seasons, are individual varieties which provide color and interest for at least two seasons of the year and not just a fleeting flush of flowers. I feature over five hundred of them in my latest book, Powerhouse Plants, and every month in Gardener’s World, Britain’s top-selling garden magazine (and also available in the US, from Barnes & Noble stores for example) I focus on one very special Plant For All Seasons, highlighting three features which bring color to the garden at different times of the year. This month, in the magazine, I feature Hydrangea aspera subsp. sargentiana.

And every month here on my Transatlantic Gardener blog I bring you details of another. Last month it was a recently introduced shrub, Kolkwitzia amabilis Dreamcatcher (‘Maradco’). This month it’s the old favorite Rosa rugosa.

One of the toughest shrubs you’ll come across, Rosa rugosa (above, click to enlarge) features a long season of large single flowers overlapping in season with large, long-lasting red hips. The deeply veined foliage is attractive too, most forms have a lovely fragrance, and they rarely grow taller than 8ft/2.4m, usually less.

And yes, this is a tough plant. It grows naturally in areas of China and Siberia where the sea freezes over so it takes ferocious winters as well as salt spray. It flowers well in a wide variety of soils, including almost pure sea sand, and needs little pruning except perhaps to shorten an occasional long shoot. And that’s just as well because the stems are exceptionally thorny – so it’s ideal as an informal hedge to keep out the neighbor’s dog.

As well as the wild type with its purplish pink flowers and large, flattened red hips there are some fine selections and hybrids, all with excellent hips:
‘Alba’ – single white flowers
‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ – double white flowers with an especially good scent
‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’ – silvery pink flowers
‘Robusta’ – bright red flowers

But avoid ‘Roserie de l’Hay’ which rarely produces any hips at all.

Please take a look at Plants For All Seasons in Gardeners World magazine each month. And check back here for monthly posts about other Powerhouse Plants – the Plants For All Seasons.

You can order my book, Powerhouse Plants in Britain from amazon.co.uk

You can order my book, Powerhouse Plants in North America and the rest of the world from amazon.com

Or you can find out more about the book at the Powerhouse Plants webpage.

Subscribe to Gardeners' World magazine In North America,Gardeners' World magazine is also available in Barnes & Noble and other good bookstores.