The Robusta Rugosa Rose Thrives on Neglect

In retirement, I made the mistake of planting hybrid tea roses because these roses are easily always found in nurseries.  They are sold in boxes every spring, and if you aren’t selective about your roses, you will end up with some pretty common roses that happen to be grafted.

It turns out that hybrid tea roses need more care because they are prone to disease.  They also throw out worthless suckers that won’t give you roses.

I discovered this robusta rugosa rose online.  Advertised as a newer wild rose, I bought a 5″ slip and planted it.  Since then, the rose has been growing along the concrete fence in my backyard.

The rose, like all of my roses, blooms most of the year.  But since it is a wild rose, it doesn’t need any care from me.  As a rule, I don’t baby my roses.  This rose is ignored.  I don’t even remember to water it.  I’ve pruned it back once.  But only because it had taken off and was growing into our fruit trees.  Robusta rugosa has plenty of thorns, so I use it as an extra barrier.  I don’t know of anyone who would like to get tangled in those thorns.

If you think of roses as weeds that need 6-8 hours of sunshine, as a gardener or rosarian, you will do just fine.  To me, any garden is incomplete when it doesn’t have roses.


  1. marlenebertrand · April 9, 2013

    Roses are so pretty. I never thought of them as weeds. Years ago, I was so nervous when I purchased a home that had a dozen and a half rose bushes. At the time, I knew nothing about how to take care of them. Then, an old friend visited and said, just as you said, “Roses are just like weeds…” She said, “They’ll just keep growing and growing.” She was speaking from experience as she went on to explain that her roses have a tendency to take over if she doesn’t do anything. She told me not to worry about the roses. She was right. Those roses just kept growing and growing.

  2. Arlene Poma · April 9, 2013

    Marlene, many gardeners are intimidated when it comes to roses. No need! I will always make room for “just one more rose” on my 1/4 acre lot. But I’m a farm girl who is also practical. If the rose takes too much time or is easily prone to diseases, I will talk to it. If it doesn’t give me roses, I think nothing of planting it somewhere else, giving it away or permanently pulling out of the ground and into the green waste container for the county to haul away. I love deadheading my roses so that I make way for others. It also gives me a chance to check for aphids, disease and dead canes. Out of all the plants, shrubs and trees that I have raised throughout my lifetime, roses give me the most satisfaction. I wouldn’t mind being that bulletproof!

    • marlenebertrand · April 9, 2013

      Ha! I’m glad to hear you say that you have no problem getting rid of your rose bushes. I feel the same way. When a rose bush is giving me too much trouble, then I want to just get rid of it. I have no desire to fuss with plants. I have too many rose bushes that give me pleasure to maintain and enjoy. I don’t have a problem yanking a problem bush out, wrapping it up, and discarding it. But… my husband also has a say. He can’t stand to rip anything out. So, we have an agreement. If a rose bush begins to become a problem, then that rose bush becomes his rose bush. Works for me!

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