"The best known and most loved type of rose in the family of roses is the beach rose. The Rosa Rugosa has it all, including a "FRAGRANT" flower that is hard to find today in the rose garden. As the flower fades, a one inch diameter orange red tomato-like fruit develops at the base of the stem where the flower once was. The fruit will color up in late July to early August and last well into the fall. You can eat the fleshy part of the rose fruit, as it is rich in vitamin E.
The Rosa Rugosa is a shrub rose and, unlike the typical rose bush you plant in the garden, has its own root system. The typical rose bush is grafted to a different root system, to make it strong enough to survive the winter where you live. Because the beach rose has its own roots, it is able to spread with underground stems that form from those roots to start new plants away from the main plant.
The beach rose has rough-looking deep green leaves that are shiny, with rounded teeth on the edge of the leaf margin. Each leaf is thick and will have from 3 to 7 individual leaflets making up the leaf. Older leaves have higher leaflet count and the leaf just below the flower always has 3 leaflets. The veins on the leaf are sunken into the foliage and very noticeable. The plant develops into a rounded mound of stems, and each of those stems is covered with flowers in June. You can grow the plant as a single mound-type rose bush if you remove the suckering branches that develop continuously around the plant.
The flowers are 2 to 3.5" in diameter and mostly single blossoms. Single flowering types have a single row of petals that are flat and number 5 petals--like a rosette. Today you can find new hybrids that are double-flowering and often resemble a carnation bloom. The flower color will range through white, pink, red and mauve. The center of the flower is filled with many yellow stamens, giving it additional color. Each flower will bloom for 2 weeks or more on the plant. If you cut a fresh bloom just opening and place it in a bowl or brandy snifter filled with water, it will float easily and bring fragrance to your kitchen table. It will last several days.
The Rosa Rugosa will grow 4 to 6 feet tall but with pruning you can keep it at any height you want. When planted on 3 foot centers in a row, they will make a wonderful hedge planting. Make the planting bed 3 feed wide to allow room for the new shoots to develop and in just 2 to 3 years your individual plants will fill in the entire bed with new shoots, creating a solid hedge. Your only maintenance will be removing the shoots that develop in the lawn area from the hedge. Cover the bed with 2 to 3 inches of compost or bark mulch to keep the weeds out.
Rosa Rugosa, or beach rose, will grow "ANYWHERE," even at the beach in the sand. If you have a sunny, well drained place in your yard that where nothing seems to grow, think about planting a beach rose. When planting, use the same method as any other plant in your garden by conditioning the hole and surrounding soil with animal manure and compost to get the plant off to a good start. I always use a soil conditioner like Soil Moist in sandy soil to help hold moisture around the roots. Soil Moist will hold 200 times the moisture in the soil that peat will, and only a couple of tablespoons are needed per plant. Think about this, two tablespoons of Soil Moist will hold 400 tablespoons of water around the roots of a plant that is growing in a sandy soil. Less watering is necessary, and once it is established it can take care of itself. Fertilize in the spring and again in June with granular organic rose fertilizer and enjoy a garden of roses all summer long. One last thing about this rose is disease resistance, unlike most other roses. Enjoy!"