Rugosas are the hardiest and the most disease resistant of all of the repeat blooming roses. Rugosas typically have rugose, wrinkled leaves.
Rugosas will start to bloom early - sometimes even before Memorial Day here in Ohio, and continue until the hard freezes on late October and November. Many will also set hips the size of cherry tomatoes to give additional color through the early winter. Their foliage can also go through some of the same spectacular color changes as the deciduous trees - changing yellow and shades of soft red.
Rugosas typically show 1 of 2 growth habits. Some will grow to be rounded shrubs - as wide as they are tall. These tend to have a more woody branching growth pattern. Ohers will send up long canes resulting in a shrub that has more of a vase shape, more of a cascading fountain form - narrower at the bottom. Both styles come in all sizes from 2 1/2 feet tall to over 6 feet tall. There is a Rugosa that can fill any niche in your garden and thrive on benign neglect. Just keep it well watered for the first year, and then ignore it. They will not tolerate any fungicidal sprays. The leaves will turn yellow and may even fall off, but then, Rugosas do not need any spray.
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