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Rugosa Roses in Florida?

Posted by jenfm z10 Venice (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 27, 08 at 13:15

Hi, I haven't had much luck with roses in South Florida, even Nelsons on "florida-friendly" rootstock. I read about rugosa roses in an old out-of-print Florida gardening book. I researched them on the web and they are supposed to do well on sandy seashores, but it sounded like the sandy seashores of Maine, not Florida. I searched the roses forum and there's tons of info on how hardy they are, but nothing about heat-resistant. Any Florida rose gardeners have any experience or advice? I've ordered a couple of varieties to try. They're mostly single flowered and supposedly very fragrant. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rugosa Roses in Florida?

From everything I have read (and I read quite a bit), rugosa roses do not do well in hot climates. I wish they did, as they are so rugged and beautiful. But I think the info you have about them doing well on MAINE beaches is right. You'd probably have to order them from a catalog to even GET any down here, and my sense of it is that they would not last.

We do have many antique and heritage roses that DO fare well in Florida. Why not try some of those? Much less work than hybrid tea roses, and the flowers often have a really strong fragrance.

Just a thought...


RE: Rugosa Roses in Florida?

  • Posted by jenfm z10 Venice (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 27, 08 at 16:53

Thanks for the info. Darn, why does everything that sounds too good to be true have to turn out to be too good to be true? Well I have two little bushes that are going to be an experiment I guess. I do eventually want to try other more Florida-suitable roses. This old gardening book had all kinds of unusual advice, mostly about deadly pesticides and herbicides that are -- fortunately -- not available anymore. But I thought some of the plant ideas were quite unique and different, particularly related to bulbs.

RE: Rugosa Roses in Florida?

I got a rugosa as a gift and grew it for maybe 2 years before it died. I assume it was own root. I cared for a rose garden that had one (don't know the variety) in it and it was still growing when I stopped caring for the garden. I heard some one say recently that they were going to order some rugosas and have a friend graft them on fortuniana. I'm not sure that fortuniana will solve the whole problem. I think if it did someone would already be grafting them.

RE: Rugosa Roses in Florida?

Brings back memories of picking rose hips along the coast of Maine. Very tasty right off the bush. That was quite some time ago. Mashed and simmered made a wonderful tea. Good jelly too.

RE: Rugosa Roses in Florida?

Rugosas can be grown well in Florida. But you have to do it right. First, they don't do well on their own roots in hot climates, so it's important to graft them, and for Florida, 'Fortuniana' is the best rootstock for that.

Secondly, realize that unlike other roses, you MUST not spray them with anything, ever. They're mostly pretty disease resistant, so that's ok, but chili thrips can be a problem. We do use some soil-applied imidaclopryd for them.

Third, unless you don't mind once-flowering roses, be sure you get only those known to repeat-flower continuously. Those listed as "repeating" in a northern climate, but not strongly so, will be once-flowering here.

In Lakeland, we've had good success with these:
R. rugosa rubra
R. rugosa alba
Mary Manners
Sarah Van Fleet
F.J. Grootendorst
Grootendorst Supreme
White Grootendorst
Pink Grootendorst

I have not been happy with the repeat of Fru Dagmar Hastrup nor of Therese Bugnet.

Basye's Purple is a beautiful thing when it flowers, but it doesn't repeat well and is never a beautiful shrub. Nevertheless, I keep it for those amazing flowers.

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