History: Rosa rugosa is native to parts of China, Japan, Korea, and Siberia where it can be found on coasts, often on sand dunes. It has traditionally been used to make jams, desserts, and pot-pourri in China and Japan, and has been used medicinally. It was introduced to the US and European countries from Japan in the late 1700s to mid 1800s, although it has since become invasive in many European countries. Nonetheless, it is commonly grown as an ornamental plant and its resistance to salt spray has been of particular value.
Why We Grow It: Rosa rugosa is a friend of the bees and abundant producer of rosehips. Rosehips, small, seedy 'berries', are high in antioxidants and vitamin C. They can be eaten raw, but in our experience they are best used in tea or jam (in fact a blend of dried elderberries, peaches, apples, sumac, and rose hips make a nice herbal orange pekoe substitute!). The fresh petals make an elegant addition to salads.
Canadian Hardiness Zone: 5
Soil Preference: Prefers moist but well-drained soils, but is tolerant of many types of soils and conditions
Growth Habits and Disease Resistance: Shrub grows 1-1.5m tall
Sun/Shade: Full sun (approx. 8-10 hours of sun daily) is preferable but will tolerate partial shade
Flowering Time: July to August
Ripens: Late October for rosehips
Storage: Dried rosehips can last several months to a year