Red Roses for Valentine’s Day

February 14th is the one day of the year that florists around the country are rushed off their feet filling orders for you guessed it, Valentine’s Day, which would not be the same without red roses. Red is still the most popular colour sold although I am told generally, white and yellow coloured cut flower roses are gaining in popularity. But red is still number one and let’s face it, roses would not be the same without red.

For rose breeders, red is by far the hardest colour to breed. That is a good, clear red not a pink-red or orange-red. Even harder is getting a decent scent to go with it. In that, having a highly scented, crimson red Hybrid Tea with all the other attributes required to make it a world beater.

Despite this, there are some good red roses out there that you can grow in your own garden and enjoy the beautiful blooms either inside or out. Or maybe give them to someone special. There is a red rose for almost any situation. Here are a few of my favourite red roses out there on the market in New Zealand.

Good for picking

Crimson Bouquet IMG_2456 (1)‘Crimson Bouquet’ (pictured left) is one of the best new red roses on the market. Super healthy, this one is easy to grow even for the most novice gardener. The crimson red blooms appear in profusion on a compact plant.

‘Lasting Love’ is another fairly new red rose well worth growing – the name alone sells it. Super healthy with probably the most glossy foliage I have seen on a rose variety. The blooms are more of a dusky red in colour and have a powerful scent which makes it one of the most fragrant red roses around. Medium growing bushy plant.

‘Loving Memory’ is one more for bereavements but deserves a mention as it has been the best red rose sold in New Zealand for many years. The large cherry red blooms come on long stems and there is a little bit of scent to enjoy Tall growing, it is one for the back of the garden.

‘Ingrid Bergman’ is a popular variety with large crimson red blooms produced on thick, long stems. Not much scent to be had with this one and some of the more modern varieties offer better disease tolerance, but still widely grown. An entrant into the World Federation of Rose Societies Rose Hall of Fame in 2000

‘Black Magic’ is a cut flower variety that performs well outside in the garden. Long stems are a feature of this variety as too is the dark red blooms of excellent form. A medium to tall upright grower and one you may have to hunt a little for, but it is worth growing.

Garden display

‘Millennium’ also known as ‘Everlasting Love’ has blooms of scarlet red in clusters. Medium growing and very healthy.
‘Opulence’ has smaller blooms of dark red opening to show the yellow stamens. A compact growing plant that is right at home in smaller gardens.

Trumpeter‘Trumpeter’ (pictured right) is a well known rose with clusters of orange scarlet blooms, almost never without flowers. Compact, short to medium growing plant that looks great en masse as well as grown as a standard.

Vertical colour

‘Dublin Bay’ has been the most popular climbing rose in New Zealand for many years with its crimson red blooms. Not scented but a good all round rose.

‘Red Flame’ is a very promising new red rose which is actually a climbing sport of ‘Lasting Love’ mentioned before. It has the same dusky red blooms, great scent and shiny disease tolerant foliage but as a climber. Makes a wonderful display but can take a year or two to really get going.

Love Knot 1‘Love Knot’ (pictured left) has smaller well formed blooms of rich red. Train this one horizontally and you will be rewarded with blooms along the stems. Would make a nice button hole rose

Small wonders (bloom size, not the plant)

‘Dusky Dancer’ is a very versatile rose and can be grown as a small climber, shrub or patio rose. Large clusters of a deep crimson blooms open from perfect little buds. A very popular variety that creates a fantastic display and repeats well.

‘Patio Jewel’ has blooms of crimson scarlet which have good form. They are a little bigger than you would expect from a patio rose but it still retains the compact habit and free flowering nature of these roses.

In the Rose Garden for January/February:

  • Water, water, water and more. If it is dry, keep your roses well watered. One, good deep soaking a week is preferable to a light flick with the hose every few days.
  • Keep up the deheading (removal of spent blooms) as it encourages new blooms to be produced and keeps the garden tidy too.
  • February is about the last month to feed your roses before the weather starts to cool down. Any rose fertiliser will do at the recommended rates on the packet.
  • Evaluate how your roses have done and start thinking about any new ones you wish to purchase in the winter.
  • Believe it or not, many garden centres would have already done their winter rose orders so it pays to get in early with yours or you can miss out.
  • Take some time to enjoy your roses and bring some blooms inside to enjoy in a vase.

By Hayden Foulds. Read more here.