Species rose's for USDA Zones 1, 2, and 3?

Hi all,


I don’t want to say things that I don’t know – but I would guess that Rosa arkansana (and maybe some other native N.Am. tetraploids) would be hardy to zone 3??? And what about Rosa glauca, I think it’s supposed to be super cold-hardy. I know it’s one of the last to leaf out here in zone 6/7.

I used to live in zone 3 in a cold pocket in Northern WI. I can add that straight rugosas were usually hardy to the tip (not watered down hybrids with less hardy other parents). My plant of R. virginina was tip hardy and William Baffin had little dieback. R. palustris was tip hardy. R. eglanteria had some dieback (foot or two of tips), but still was impressive and rebounded well.


Take care of putting down which laxa… there’s the rootstock used in europe, and the one that Buck used to breed Applejack…

R. laxa = european rootstock…

R. laxa (Retzius)= the found Siberian rose used by Buck to create many hard roses.

This question got me looking at my Botanica rose book species section. The lowest they list is zone 3. Of which some of them struck me odd—californica, brunonii and xanthina. I wonder how true that is. Glauca was listed as zone 4.

The hardiness of californica might depend on where you collect it. It can grow high in the mountains, where it gets very cold in the winter. It also grows near the coast where there is little or no frost. I’d guess that plants from the mountains would be more hardy than plants from the coast.

Id assume so as well with so much variation it seems capable of. Just struck me odd is all. I was expecting more “Rosa burrrrritscoldii’s”

I live in zone 6. last winter we had some record lows of around -20F. Xanthina took a lot of damage, while glauca was fine.

Also, I believe Therese Bugnut is listed to zone 3.

Here are a few more.

Zone 1

Rosa spinosissima altaica. (Rosa acicularis and Rosa woodsii are also hardy to Zone 1. The other Northern Great Plains native rose, Rosa arkansana, is hardy to Zone 2.

Zone 2

Rosa spinosissima

‘Beauty of Dropmore’ (Rosa spinosissima x Rosa spinosissima altaica)

‘Madeline’s Choice’ (OP Rosa spinosissima altaica)

‘Louis Riel’ (Rosa spinosissima altaica x Rosa


Zone 3

Rosa alpina

Rosa beggeriana

Rosa davurica

Rosa fedtschenkoana

Rosa nitida

Rosa rugosa kamchatica (Rosa davurica x Rosa rugosa)

‘Carmenetta’ (Rosa glauca x Rosa rugosa)

‘Corylus’ (Rosa rugosa x Rosa nitida)

‘Mrs. John McNabb’ (Rosa rugosa x Rosa beggeriana)

I don’t know how strict you want to be about F1 species hybrids. For example, I would also include the Rosa rugosa x Rosa acicularis hybrids 'Carlos Dawn’and 'Lac la Nonne’that are hardy to Zone 2. ‘Carlos Dawn’ had ‘Hansa’ as the pistillate parent and possibly also did ‘Lac La Nonne’. I regard ‘Hansa’ as pure Rosa rugosa.


Wow, this in an interesting one to stumble across since I hope to breed a hardy repeater and plan on using the species to create a ‘breeding line’. If I can get a good breeder I will pass it on since there can never be enough roses!!

I was also wondering if it is possible to get seeds (Not a cutting or plant) from less hardy ones and try them up here or if they are doomed? I was thinking I might try that with one like Rosa chinesis (spelling?) since I love that look! Has anyone tried doing it from seed and how did it go?


Another from my cold part of the world is Rosa pisocarpa (sp?). It is not that diferent from our R. woodsii but grows in the Rocky Mountains. I am in Zone 2a and can attest for the Paul O. list

A few more.

Zone 3

Rosa dumalis

Rosa glutinosa

Rosa paulii (Rosa rugosa x R. arvensis)

Rosa hibernica (Rosa spinosissima altaica x R. canina)

Note: Rosa hibernica is not readily available in North America but is listed by nurseries in England.

I was also wondering if it is possible to get seeds (Not a >cutting or plant) from less hardy ones and try them up >here or if they are doomed? I was thinking I might try >that with one like Rosa chinesis (spelling?) since I love >that look! Has anyone tried doing it from seed and how did >it go?


No direct experience with this, but have done some reading. First I don’t know the hardiness of ‘chinesis’, nor where ‘up here’ is. If you wanted to select seedlings for hardiness to go from say a zone 6 to 5, I’d say go for it (I’d say an example of this kind of breeding/selection are some of the new Crape Myrtles). But if you’re trying to jump many zones, I’d say you’d be in for a tough road. First plants employ different methods to ‘winterize’ themselves. The moderately hard remove water from between their cells, the very hardy also remove some water from the cells themselves to make them very hardy. And hardiness is not a simple measure - is something hardy with or without snow cover? Is it hardy without/with winds (low winds more late/early frosts - high winds more dessication)? Is it very hardy mid winter to low temperatures, but buds out too early and gets hit with frosts (ex: kiwi, apricot)? And theres alot of variance from year to year in weather, so a plant that survives one year in an area, may not be hardy long term in an area. I did see an interesting study done between Concord grapes (Vitis lambrusca or probably more properly Vitis lambruscana) and a variety (or two) of wine grape (Vitis vinifera). It harvested cuttings of each, throughout the winter and tested them for hardiness, by lowering the temperature, until the first detect the intracelluar fluids freezing and then the intercellular fluids freezing (‘death’). Well the study determined that mid-winter the vinifera was almost as hardy as Concord, but that the grape rapidly lost its dormancy as Spring came and became much less hardy (and therefore vulnerable to freezing) as winter progressed. And of course since this was a lab test, it could not know how directly the study’s results translated into the field.

You could protect ‘chinesis’ and use it to breed to other species to introduce the look you want with the hardiness you want. The only problem with this, is that hybrids are ususally are more vigorous (hybrid vigor), so I think the influence tends toward less hardiness (more vigor, more green tissue going into fall). But I think it could be done. Good luck!!!

Chris Mauchline

SE PA, zone 6