Rosa glauca hips - winter

Rosa glauca Family: Rosaceae
(roe-SAH GLOK-ah)
syn. Rosa rubrifolia

Common name: red-leaf shrub rose
Zone: 5 – 9
Height: 6 ft (1.8m) Spread: 5 ft (1.5m)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: fertile; moist; well-draining
Water: regular

Description: A vigorous-growing species rose with an arching habit of red stems. Leaves are blue-grey to reddish-mauve in colour. Unscented, single-petalled, delightfully bright, almost hot-pink flowers with white centres and golden yellow stamens appear in late spring to early summer followed by deep brownish-purple hips that turn red in winter.


Special Notes: Introduced in 1789. Grows best in full sun. Drought tolerant once established. Prune out old growth periodically. Reliably pest and disease resistant although there may be the occasional rose gall which should be pruned out. Propagate by fresh seed; softwood cuttings in early spring; hardwood cuttings in late summer.

RHS Award of Garden Merit 1993; Great Plant Pick 2002


In our Zone 7a garden: For a bullet-tough, no fuss, no muss rose this is IT! The shape of this shrub rose combined with the colour of its foliage and the glorious hips it produces are its real charms.

Did I happen to mention it is not susceptible to the standard rose problems? Just one year out of 15, our mother plant did get some black spot on its leaves but that was an exceptional growing year. The mother plant has also had a couple of rose galls in its later years which were quickly pruned out and bagged for the garbage. Not sure if it is weather or age related. Have not seen galls on any of our other Rosa glauca shrubs. John has taken the mother plant out now as he was changing that bed around to accommodate his increasing collection of tree peonies. But I still have the daughter of the original shrub in my garden.

And when I say bullet-tough, this rose will thrive in poor and/or sandy soil, drought (once established) and compete against mature trees. Granted, given those conditions, the shrub will not perform to quite its full magnificent self but it is still capable of lending its delightful vase-like form and dark foliage colouring to a landscape design in an incredibly tough, hard-to-garden area such as my front border bed.

Sadly, for a rose, the flowers are the one disappointing factor, even with their lovely splash of colour brightening up the garden. They are devoid of all scent and do not last long…just barely two weeks.


Posted on May 8, 2013