I Love Rosa Rugosa…in the right location

Sep 20, 2019 | Love This!

Name: Rosa rugosa aka the beach rose,

Type of Plant: This thorny rose is well known in this area for being tough, having fragrant flowers in the summer, and large, pretty rose hips in the fall.

Why I Love/Hate this plant: I love this plant when it grows on the dunes of the beaches. I hate this plant when it’s in a landscape, unless that landscape is very sandy and dry.

This plant is native to Asia, not the USA, but because it grows in nutrient poor, dry soil and tolerates salt spray it’s come to be associated with beaches in this area. But in a landscape it allows weeds to grow in and around the thorny stems, and spreads fairly aggressively when given water and fertilizer.

A Word to the Wise: Only plant this rose if you have areas of pure sand and are willing to periodically cut the stems down hard so you can pull out weeds. Even better, go to the beach to appreciate this plant!

If you want to eat the fruit know that you can’t  bite into the entire hip – the inside is filled with hairs and seeds. You can nibble the flesh off the outside, however. To cook with this fruit break it up in a food processor, cook it in some water for a little while, and then strain out the hairs and seeds by putting the cooked mush into a jelly bag or other cloth. Squeeze the fruit juice out and toss the seeds that remain.

I think I love this plant most for the hips in the fall. Use them to make rose hip jelly or syrup for cocktails.

Cut off the old, dried calyx before cooking.


  1. trish conti

    I bought my house with established rugosas. I was told I should cut them back, down to the ground in the fall. Is this true? I hesitate because I don’t see anyone at the beach cutting back those rosa rugosas.
    Thank you!

    • CL Fornari

      You don’t have to cut them every year. I always advise cutting them back in the spring not fall, every other year or every three years. At that point you can also get in and pull weeds…which, if you look when you go to the beach, LOVE growing in with Rosa rugosa.


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