Rugosas are very healthy and winter hardy, sturdy shrubs. Almost all rugosas and hybrid rugosa varieties are extremely fragrant with few exceptions. They are generally identified by their foliage, which is usually bright green and heavily textured with deep veining. The flowers vary from single to double and most varieties are rather informal in shape. Most rugosas produce large, decorative hips that attract and feed birds in the fall and winter. Armed with extensive thorns, Rugosas tend to be one of the few rose varieties deer will leave alone. They are easy to grow, very drought tolerant, salt air tolerant, and do well in poor conditions.
Rugosas do well in almost all American climate zones and are hardy to zones 3 and 4. They are extremely disease resistant and do not like to be sprayed with chemicals making them perfect for an organic garden.