What plants should I use to replace Rosa Rugosas in my landscape?


The former owners of our home had planted many Rosa rugosa plants, which faces southeast and gets plenty of sun. I’d like to replace these with more interesting plants and would love your suggestions. Maybe SHORT height hydrangea, some evergreens, peonies? I’d like it to be attractive through all seasons, and low maintenance.


Jonathan Foster, Special Projects Assistant

How exciting to have a new bed to plant and a new portion of your property to transform! The beginning is often the best part of a new garden design, as so many options are on the table–and you are already ahead of the game thinking about critical design features like height, color, texture, change through the seasons, and interaction among species. Kudos to you. That said, we are probably not your best source for help on mixed plant selection for the project. We can help with choices on mitigating problems in the garden and giving advice on specific plants (keep our page bookmarked for the future), but with what you’ve described, you really want to work with a garden designer on-site who can integrate the whole using multiple species to bring your aesthetic vision to life–we would wind up being generic and clinical, which is never a good thing with garden design.

However, I can offer a few resources that will hopefully get you pointed in the right direction. The Maine Landscape and Nursery Association (melna.org) can put you in touch with someone local who is familiar with environmental conditions and plants that will provide what you’re looking for. Local landscape outfits will often also provide design services, and independent garden designers advertise, as well, often with particular areas of expertise you might find enticing. You can also consult our UMaine Bulletin 2500, Gardening to Conserve Maine’s Natural Landscape, UMaine’s Plants for the Maine Landscape resource page, and the State of Maine’s Border Plant List book for information on species suitable for your area and conditions.

This should give you a chance to read up on possible plant species you are interested in before meeting with a design professional–the more they have to work with, the better they can help you design the bed you’re looking for.