Roses forum: Hardiness of various Rugosa cultivars

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Name: Rob
(Zone 4b)
Sep 28, 2016 7:49 PM CST
Probably a silly question, but nonetheless... :)

Here in Alaska we have an abundance of Rugosa rubras (rubrae?), commonly referred to around here as 'Sitka roses' because of their introduction to that area long ago. In my experience they are pretty much indestructible--I've seen them stripped by moose, burned in house and wild fires, run over with brush hogs, planted north of Fairbanks (as in above the Arctic Circle in -60F/-70F winters), you name it--and they inevitably come back. I love them for their scent, hardiness (go figure :)) and the fact that they make a fantastic organic barrier to anyone who thinks about climbing in an open window with one planted underneath...

Most of the greenhouses/big box stores carry only this variety; it's rare to see any of the albas or agnes varieties, but when you do they almost never seem to survive the winter in spite of being listed as hardy as others in the family. I once heard Rugosas in general referred to as "thriving on neglect" which they certainly seem to do, so long as they're the rubra variety. The others, not so much...

While I've no burning desire to lose my collection of rubras and their color and scent, is there any particular trick to cultivating the other varieties this far north and having them survive the winter, all else (soil, proximity to structures, shelter, etc.) being the same?


Rob in AK
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
Lilies Irises Daylilies Dog Lover Beekeeper Garden Ideas: Master Level
Sep 28, 2016 7:55 PM CST
Rob, I admired those roses while we were in Alaska, and always regretted not bringing back some hips to grow. They were beautiful. Friends of ours made jelly from the hips.
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Sep 29, 2016 1:39 AM CST
Rob ...

Alaska is a big state ! There is a nursery located in Chugiak called Chill Out! Roses run by a dynamite lady that has experience growing more than the Sitka roses. Here's a link to her web site:

Enjoy !
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.

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