Two Dozen Wonderful Red Roses

In the words of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns,

O my luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June
O my luve is like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

Red roses have long been associated with love. It is hard to look at a deep red rose and not have it provoke some strong emotion. Every garden should have one good red rose – whether to enjoy on your own or to give to someone special when you want to say, “I love you.”

Red roses surely must be at the top of the list of favorite roses – even with color fads that come and go, reds remain a perennial charmer. The American Rose Society has two categories of solid red-colored roses – medium red and dark red. These span quite a range from very light red to nearly black. Many of the deep red roses have buds in that color range, then turn bluish as the bloom ages. In the heat of summer, the color can fade, and the blooms tend to bull nose more than other colors. All that said, there are lots of good choices to fill your garden, and your passion, with red roses.

One of the first popular modern red hybrid teas was ‘Chrysler Imperial’, the 1953 All American Rose Selection (AARS) and 1965 James Alexander Gamble Fragrance award winner. It was (and still is) a bloom with classic flower form, deep velvety red color, and an intense, spicy fragrance. This rose was an offspring of ‘Crimson Glory’, introduced in 1935, and has been used in the development of a long list of prize-winning reds.

The list below includes two-dozen terrific red roses, from old garden roses, to musks, climbers and miniatures. In addition to these, I have reds that do well in my garden but fall a tad short of the 8.0 or higher American Rose Society nationwide rating. One of the most scrumptious of these is ‘Papa Meilland’ (dark red HT), winner of both the James Alexander Gamble award for fragrance and the World Federation of Roses award in 1988. This rose produces huge flowers that are burgundy wine purple red with a heavenly fragrance.

‘Ingrid Bergman’ (dark red HT) is a sturdy plant that is always covered with blooms. It is the winner of the World Federation of Roses Award in 2000, the only red other than ‘Papa Meilland’ to win this prize. It’s an offspring of ‘Precious Platinum’ (dark red HT), another steady performer that has spotless foliage and lots of bloom. ‘Ingrid Bergman’ was used to produce ‘Opening Night’ (dark red HT), a 1998 AARS winner, and very prolific rose.

On the darker side of red is ‘Taboo’ (dark red HT) – a tall, vigorous plant with deep purplish-green leaves, with buds that are nearly black, opening to a full, ruffled, dark red bloom. One of my favorite floribundas is a gorgeous deep, velvety red that is always in bloom, and rarely bothered by disease, ‘Lilli Marlene’.  ‘Firefighter’, introduced in 2004, is a dark red hybrid tea with a powerful perfume – it received the James Alexander Gamble Fragrance award in 2017.

If you don’t have one or more of these glorious red roses now, it’s time to add one!

NameTypeColorARS RatingYear Introduced
Eddie’s CrimsonHybrid moyesiiMedium red9.11956
AlikaHybrid gallicaMedium red9.01906
DortmundHybrid kordesiiMedium red8.81955
Roseraie de l’HayHybrid rugosaDark red8.71901
LavaglutFloribundaDark red8.61978
RobustaShrubMedium red8.61979
TravemundeFloribundaMedium red8.61968
Peggy “T”MiniatureMedium red8.51988
AltissimoLarge-flowered climberMedium red8.41966
Dublin BayLarge-flowered climberMedium red8.41975
KardinalHybrid teaMedium red8.41986
La Belle SultaneHybrid gallicaDark red8.41795
OlympiadHybrid teaMedium red8.41982
Robin HoodHybrid muskMedium red8.41927
Super HeroFloribundaMedium red8.42008
Veteran’s HonorHybrid teaDark red8.41999
EuropeanaFloribundaDark red8.31968
Mister LincolnHybrid teaDark red8.31964
Etoile de Hollande, ClClimbing hybrid teaMedium red8.21931
Home RunShrubMedium red8.22004
Red RibbonsShrubDark red8.21990
Winner’s CircleLarge flowered-climberDark red8.22007
ShowbizFloribundaMedium red8.11983
Miss FlippinsMiniatureMedium red8.01997

By Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian

Photo ‘Europeana’

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