Rugosas are very healthy and winter hardy, sturdy shrubs. They have so many wonderful attributes that they should be included in every garden. Almost all rugosas and hybrid rugosa varieties are extremely fragrant with few exceptions. They are generally identified by their foliage, which is usually bright green and heavily textured with deep veining. Their elegance makes them look like they’re all dressed up for company. The flowers vary from single to double and most varieties are rather informal in shape. Most rugosas produce large, decorative hips that attract and feed birds in the fall and winter. Armed with extensive thorns, Rugosas tend to be one of the few rose varieties deer will leave alone. They are native to the coasts of Japan and Korea and are very tolerant of salt air. They are easy to grow, very drought tolerant and do well in poor conditions.
Rugosas do well in almost all American climate zones and are hardy to zones 3 and 4. They are extremely disease resistant (virtually immune to blackspot and mildew). Rugosas do not like to be sprayed with chemicals nor do they need them, therefore they will fit perfectly into an organic garden. Their decorative hips are a wonderful source of vitamin C and since they would not be sprayed they can be used for many culinary purposes. Hardy through zones 3 - 9 with exceptions as noted.