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ROSA rugosa 'Alba'

Image of Rosa rugosa 'Alba'

Jessie Keith



Botanical Name

ROSA rugosa 'Alba'

Plant Common Name

Rugosa Rose, White Rugosa Rose

General Description

Highly fragrant, single, clear white roses don the branches of the white rugosa rose. Flowering can occur all season but is most prolific in the first flush of spring. The rugose leaves of this tough shrub rose are brighter green than those of pink forms and quite resistant to fungal disease. Very large pomegranate-like hips of deepest orange grace the branch tips later in the season. This naturally occurring variety has been in cultivation since the late 19th century and has received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit for its high performance and beauty.

Cold hardy, beautiful and tough, rugosa rose is a dense, thorny shrub rose native to eastern Asia. It is admired for its beautiful flowers and fruits as well as its resiliency to cold, high winds, ocean salt and drought. It has been introduced to North America and has naturalized across a large area of the northeast and Alaska.

The canes of rugosa rose are thickly covered with small, sharp thorns and compound rosaceous leaves with coarse, green leaflets that turn yellowish gold or bronzy shades in fall. Strongly fragrant, single, pink flowers with yellow stamens appear from early summer through the end of the growing season. White and deep pink flowered variants are also available. Once pollinated by bees and other insects, large, conspicuous, globose rose-hips follow. These turn bright orangish-red and are edible. In fact, they are rich in vitamin C and good for making rose hip jam.

Rugosa rose prefers full sun and average well-drained soil. It is amazingly cold hardy and tolerant of dry sandy soils, salt spray and wind. Plant as a large accent shrub in the mixed border or cottage garden, or use as attractive flowering hedge.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4'-8' / 1.2m - 2.4m (6)

  • Width

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m (6)

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Russia/Siberia, China, Japan, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color


  • Fruit Color

    Orange, Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)


  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Green

  • Bark Color

    Green, Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing