Hansa Rose


Hardy Rugosa Rose

I almost didn’t buy the Hansa rose, but I was looking for a tough survivor to weather the worst of our Ohio winters, a plant that had disease resistance and -as always- good fragrance. What is a rose without its sweet perfume?

Why are many gardeners afraid of magenta?

Almost overlooked because of the color of the flowers, I went ahead and planted the ‘Hansa‘ Rugosa rose under a pink flowering crabapple along with the ‘Bowl of Beauty’ peony and the softly blue-toned ‘Sum and Substance‘ hostas. The color isn’t at all harsh the way I initially feared. And as far as I am concerned, its intense and beautiful fragrance is one of the primary reasons to grow it. Why are many gardeners (including me) afraid of strong color like magenta or orange? Bold colors can create a wonderful feeling and I often think of how lovely the orange of Oriental poppies against the mahogany red of purple-leaved a Sand cherry shrub was on a summer’s day.

Hansa Description, Bloom and Form

Introduced by  Netherlands breeder, Schaum & Van Tol, in 1905
Rosa Hansa Bud

Rosa Hansa Bud

The flowers are irregular looking and loose in a sharp magenta color, the leathery foliage is normally a healthy green color, and the rosehips are rather large. Like many rugosas, Hansa is so hardy that it will withstand the worst weather without protection;and so thorny that care should be taken to plant it away from where it will snag passers-by. Cold climate gardeners should definitely take note of this rose for their collection.

In fact, its tolerance for salt, sand, wind, and cold makes it a plant you should consider for streetside, urban, and seaside gardens. Those who like to make rosehip tea and flower arrangements will value the hips.

An unsung trait which always surprises me is the lovely autumn color it brings to the garden in fall. We don’t usually value roses for their autumn foliage, but this one is a golden hued beauty.


Why Grow This Rose?

  • Hardiness, as cold as zone 3
  • Fragrance
  • Healthiness of plant and foliage
  • Use of rosehips
  • Good shrub for landscape use

 Features of the Hansa Rose

Description and  Details


Phases of bloom


  • Very bright violet red pink (Magenta), semi-double flowers
  • Highly fragrant, rated 8-10, exceptional on the fragrance scale
  • Very hardy, Zone 3-8
  • Healthy mid-green foliage, of the typical rugosa type. Strongly textured, corrugated look.
  • Thorny, as most Rugosas are, use rose gloves or long sleeved shirt when pruning.


The blooms are medium sized, 4″  in diameter, and somewhat loose, like a discarded hanky. Makes a pretty addition to Cottage look flower arrangements or a group of Antique roses in a vase.

Dimensions and other features:

  • Vase Shaped when mature, it grows to about 6-8 feet in height and width (reportedly larger, but this is the size in my garden)
  • Fragrance described as sweet clove aroma, definitely a sweet spice and rose.
  • Tolerates shade, but loves sun.
  • Tolerates salt and wind.
rose and peony

Hansa with single pink peonies on bright sunny afternoon.

The description of the fragrance is “strong rose and spicy clove”. Some say it is repeat blooming, some say recurrent. For me there is one large burst of flowers in late May, with occasional remontant  flowering. That seems to explain the conflicting reports of blooming performance.

How To Grow

The usual rose advice:

  • Give the plant sunshine from at least a partly sunny aspect
  • Water regularly and deeply during morning hours, if possible, but make sure drainage is good
  • Fertilize during the growing season to ensure bloom production
  • Stop feeding in mid-July, to prepare for dormancy
  • Prune as needed to control shape, take out any dead branches.
  • This is a sustainable rose, no spraying should be necessary

In The Garden

The Hansa Rose makes a good hedge, its thorny barrier is formidable. Stop the neighbor’s dogs from trespassing!

A fairly large shrub rose (between six to eight feet high and wide), it is tolerant of difficult conditions. I grow it under a weeping crabapple tree. In this situation it seems to be a bit leggy, but still well clothed with good looking foliage. Grown out in the open in a sunny border it can develop into a canopy-like umbrella.

Mixes well with purple foliaged plants and trees, accents pastel pink associations, and goes with all the heirloom old roses.  Has a free and natural look that will mix into wild gardens, cottage gardens, and at the back of borders. I like dames rocket with it, which blooms at the same time in my garden.

Bluish and gray-toned foliage pick up the blue-red tones of the petals, so I like glaucous leaved hostas such as the Sum and Substance hosta I matched with it. Artemisias and Russian sage would look well, and surprisingly accents of golden yellow or chartreuse would be a bold association to try. Geranium maculatum varieties come with magenta colored flowers that might meld well at the feet of this rosebush. It depends on the effect you are aiming for, soft and harmonious or attention seeking contrasts?

Pruning A Rosebush

Prune in early spring, removing any old or winter damaged canes. Cut back canes by about one third to encourage new growth, if desired.

Golden fall foliage of the Hansa Rose

Golden fall foliage of the Hansa Rose

Buy Hansa Today

Rose – Hansa – Hybrid Rugosa
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

rosa rugosa Hansa

Hansa Rose

Interested in Growing Rugosas?

Colorful Addition To A Pink Garden Scheme

An “All-Pink” color scheme is pleasing and easy to accomplish. This shrub would be a perfect addition.

An all pink garden plan
More Info on Other Websites

Rugged Rugosas
U of I Factsheet
Missouri Botanical Profile

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author


I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.