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Rugosa Roses, Anyone?

Karen Service
3 months ago
last modified: 3 months ago

Many years ago I went to visit a cousin in Ohio who had a magnificent herb garden. In it she had a couple massive rugosa roses that she grew for their fragrant petals and their hips. I was duly impressed! I thought of getting one while we still lived in Utah but we left before I got the chance and believed they wouldn't grow here in eastern Tn.

Fast forward to now- I had a chance to get a bare-root own-root rugosa this spring and decided to try one called Schneekoppe (Snow Pavement, I think). I planted it in a pot and moved it to a spot that was sunny from about 10 till about 3. This summer we had everything you could imagine weather-wise: drought, then buckets of rain with some memorable storms, then drought again. So far, so good. It has looked good throughout the summer and then through the fall. At one point in late spring it even had buds but thanks to some voracious deer, I didn't get to see them open.

So question #1: I plan on planting it in the center of a raised shrub bed which it will share with a couple sweet boxes, a tree peony, a sasanqua camellia, a native rhododendron minus and I think, an interspecies peony. My hope is that it will grow wider than tall and fill in the center of this bed. It will get maybe an hour less full sun than it gets currently and dappled shade for the rest of the day. Will it be OK with that? Will it stay under 6'? It seems like a YMMV kind of a rose and it's hard to get a straight answer.

Question #2- It's a far cry from potting soil to our soil. Although I'm constantly working to improve it, it is thin, rocky and very acidic. On the plus side, our drainage is great. I plan on adding compost, one of the 'Tones' and some mulch from time to time but for truly heavy feeders, they'll never be happy here. Is this a rose that can cope?

Question #3- Is this rose a once-bloomer? I'm fine with it either way. Will its leaves color up in the fall?

Thanks for any experience you can share.

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