Spring blooms, autumn hips (redleaf rose)

Rosa rubrifolia Redleaf Rose Plant Select

If you’re looking for an outstanding xeric shrub that will provide year-round interest and require very little effort, look no further. redleaf rose (Rosa rubrifolia) is an exceptionally hardy blooming shrub that grows just about anywhere and provides many outstanding ornamental features. The single petal blossoms open pastel pink in May to June and fade to white as the season progresses. The deep purple foliage throughout the growing season provides an excellent contrast to the silvers and greens that dominate our landscapes and make this shrub standout.

Unlike its more glamorous rose cousins, the stunning visual display Rosa rubrifolia offers doesn’t end with summer. Gorgeous red-orange hips remain on the bushes through fall and winter, framed by the graceful reddish-green canes. This very hardy, and drought resistant shrub is native to the mountains of southern Europe and will thrive in a wide range of areas along the Colorado Front Range and mountain elevations. The beautiful foliage of redleaf rose is especially nice when planted as an individual specimen in a shrub border or when planted in mass as a background. This dense, spreading shrub would be an excellent choice for every xeriscape landscape.

View the plant profile here.



Redleaf Rose (Rosa rubrifolia, R. glauca)

Medium-sized to large shrub
Height: 6 to 8 feet
Width: 4 to 6 feet
Blooms: May to June
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Soil Moisture: Moderate to xeric (Little to no irrigation needed once established.)
Hardiness: USDA zones 3-9
Culture: Clay, sandy soil or loam

Thanks to Dr. James E. Klett, Colorado State University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, for writing this piece.

11 responses to “Spring blooms, autumn hips (redleaf rose)”

  1. Joanie Robinson says:

    Do you know where I can buy this red leaf rose bush near Westminster? The local stores don’t have this kind.
    Thank you.

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      Shelly’s Garden Country is probably closest, but Harlequin’s in Boulder definitely carries it.

  2. Tee says:

    Have had a red leaf rose for 3 years and it has never bloomed. I haven’t pruned it; it was a small plant that I let grow to see what would happen. It’s now 5’ tall, rangy, no flowers. Advise please.
    Thank you,

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      It probably needs more sun to thrive. You might also have lots of other plants around it and this rose seems to prefer being away from any competition. You can move this rose to another location before it leafs out this spring.

  3. April Love says:

    What are some good companion plants for this rose? We are xeriscaping our yard and are looking to place this rose on top of our retaining wall to block the view of some electrical boxes. Are there some perennials we can place in front of it that wouldn’t bother it?

    • April Love says:

      Also, we can’t have any roots that would interfere with our retaining wall or electrical boxes.

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      This is a perfect plant for that spot if it is in full sun. Be sure to give it supplemental water for several years to get it established. Great companion plants would include any of the shorter North American native plants. You can download that list from this page linklist from this page link. Plants that come to mind first are Chocolate flower, Silver Blade primrose, Tenessee coneflower. SteppeSuns sunset glow penstemon and there are so many more!

  4. Karen Smullen says:

    I live on Long Island in NY. I would like to purchase a “red leaf rose.” Rosa Glauca … do you have any information on a source?

  5. Cindy says:

    White The ‘Iceberg,’ is a five-foot-tall noted for its prolific, repeating flowers and spicy scent. For a shorter plant, try ‘Gourmet Popcorn.’ This well-perfumed, dwarf rose bears hundreds of miniature blooms from late spring through fall.

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