What is the Best TRUE red rose??

EllaRoseTNovember 4, 2012

So I'm very new to rose gardening.

I live in PA, zone 6b.

I really have enough roses to keep me VERY busy this spring; so I need to really limit my rose order this spring.

I know I definitely want at TRUE RED RED rose. I have Mr. Lincoln-- but my husband sees it as "Pink". He loves the red red roses. I'm a complete novice so I need something easy to grow.

What do you recommend for me/my climate! (must be bright blood red... no pink undertones!)

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I was just considering Erotica as a possible purchase for spring 2013. I don't have it so can't say whether it is a true red, but was considering it because I wanted a TRUE RED as well. HMF says it is very disease resistant. I'm assuming your want a HT?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:39PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

My favorite red hybrid tea is Liebeszauber. It hasn't been pink for me at all. I don't grow a lot of modern roses (ie: hybrid teas, floribundas, etc), but this one I really like!


    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Olympiad. Once used as a florist rose it is a non fading, low thorned, long lasting bright cherry red rose with a nice tea fragrance. I've had blooms last almost two weeks in the vase. I have a "thing" for red modern roses so have grown quite a few over the years (including Mr. Lincoln). For your climate this one is still one of the best. I'd sure give it some serious thought.....Maryl

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:58PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

oh, another one just occured to me if you don't mind a deeper red that doesn't have the traditional hybrid tea form: The Dark Lady. Really nice shaped plant, reblooms really well for me too. If you go to the Antique forum, another poster was just saying that she disliked it because it is "too red" for her....

I also forgot to mention Pied Piper which is one of my top 10 roses. Its a little harder to come by (I think it may be only offered by Vintage Gardens), but its an excellent plant, and fades to a deeper red, rather than lightening to a pink.


Here is a link that might be useful: Pied Piper

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:18PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Two of the best blooming/healthy deep red HTs I have are Ink Spots (deep rich velvety red with a loooong vase life and FB type growth) and Oh My! (which is what I said when I saw it in the autumn flush--more of a clear red but same FB type growth and looong vase life)
No disease, no leaf drop. Very healthy.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:29PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

Firefighter --smells delightful, is a good bloomer and is the true red you seek!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:22PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

If fragrance isn't important- there's olympiad.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:26PM
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Zone 10, Velvet Fragrance. Definitely NOT "pink", rich, velvety, large, lusty, healthy and intensely fragrant. Kim

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Ingrid Bergman, hands down. Believe me, I've spent many years and lots of money looking for a really good, fade-resistant true red rose. I've tried Liebeszauber, Olympiad, Oklahoma, Firefighter, and others. Liebeszauber is definitely pinkish. Olympiad is nice, but not quit as velvety-vibrant as Ingrid. Oklahoma is definitely more burgundy (beautiful in its own right, but not a true red).

Ingrid is very bright, true red, and she stays that way for a long time, only fading when the pedal finally drop. She is a vigorous plant, disease resistant, and fast growing. The blooms get really big and have a lovely, florist rose form. Frankly, I don't know why more red-lovers don't have her.

I know color can depend on climate and soil conditions, but here in the Pacific Northwest, Ingrid is a true star in the garden. I bought two from a local nursery and three from Palatine Roses. The ones from Palatine are doing the best. Very vigorous, and worth the import price from Canada. I highly recommend them.

I added this photo, but I don't feel my camera does justice to the vibrancy of the red. It's hard to capture reds on camera. When she blooms again this spring I will get more photos of her, so if you are interested in seeing the photos then, let me know.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:50AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Unless you are willing to spray regularly, you don't want an HT.

In general, I'd wait and ask this question again once the Jersey Shore gets back to kind of normal. The go-to person for this kind of question, DianeNJ, lives in an area that was pretty badly hit.

Understand that currently this thread has turned into a 'favorite red HT for where *I* am' discussion, and has absolutely nothing to do with what roses will even survive in eastern PA.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:30AM
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Sorry I can't speak to your climate, but for what I consider "bright" red - Veterans Honor. Huge, gorgeous, PERFECT blooms, last a really long time, no fragrance tho.

For a slightly darker hue - Ingrid Bergman - again, really perfect blooms that last forever, and no fragrance.

You'd have to research both for your zone.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:02AM
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I'd agree thoroughly on Olympiad and Ingrid Bergman. Of the two, Ingrid is more vibrant with better flower form. Both are great roses.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:44AM
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Terry Crawford

Another vote for 'Ingrid Bergman'. My neighbor grows her, and she is absolutely stellar for non-stop blooming and form. Very winter hardy without any protection and comes through like a champ...her Ingrid is from Palatine and is grafted on multiflora.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:00PM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

Opening Night -- assuming you want in your face fire. engine red, with no turning blue or pink as the bloom ages. Has no fragrance though.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:51PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Veterans' Honor is the truest red in my garden. The blooms are huge and last for ages on and off the bush. It does black spot some but has been very winter hardy for me.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:07PM
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jktx55(8a TX)

I agree with the Olympaid group however it does get Blackspot in my zone. Good luck with your research, either way I'm sure you will love the one you get.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:14PM
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Oh wow! Where do I find Opening Night?-- where did you buy it?

I see the parents are Olympiad and Ingrid Bergman!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:15PM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

S & W Greenhouses

or Regan's Nursery

both carry Opening Night, and both are reliable mail order resources.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 4:41PM
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Seil, your photo is stunning.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:58PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Thanks, Harmony!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:50PM
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mike_in_new_orleans(9a/ coastal LA)

EllaT, I've never grown roses in your region, but for what it's worth, I second (or third) Opening Night. I grew it in Mobile, AL, and it didn't much care for our hot humid summers but was a standout in the garden in spring and autumn. Every bit as vibrant and rich red color as its parent, Ingrid Bergman, it was a much bigger plant with bigger blooms, and, for me at least, better form. Neither had any fragrance for me, though some people have sworn Ingrid Bergman is "very" fragrant. Fragrance is one of those inconsistent things. Different noses, different growing conditions, etc.
IF you want some fragrance, Veterans Honor is not only the most robust red rose with consistently BIG blooms with exceptional form, it also has a moderate but definite raspberry fragrance. Never mind someone above insisted it is scentless. It is true red, though the petal backs are paler and it is not as intense as Olympiad, Ingrid B., or Opening Night. It would be my pick because of its overall health and productivity with some fragrance.
If you want intense fragrance, you generally pay for it by sacrificing vase life of the blooms. Generally, fragrant blooms wilt much quicker than scentless ones; that's a major reason most florist roses have no scent. For your climate, Erotika (aka Eroica or Erotica) might be a great choice. Intense red and intensely fragrant. It was frustratingly inconsistent with its bloom form in my Gulf Coast climate but even here occasionally produced the most stunning beauties of deep deep red.
A couple reds I've been meaning to try are both available through Heirloom Roses as own-root plants: Royal William and Pride of England. Both have very good reputations but aren't all that commenly grown. You might want to research them more. Maybe someone reading this thread has some experience with either? I always want to grow every red hybrid tea out there, but like you, I only have limited space. What to do! lol

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:15AM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

I have Royal William. There are better roses. It's on the short list for removal soon. Not enough blooms, and the ones I do get are not worth the wait.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:11PM
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I second some of the comments about "wanting to try every red HT." I have this weird urge to grow them all. But at this point, I have only a small amount of space allotted to more red roses, and I'm happy with my Ingrid B's. Although, Opening Night sounds intriguing to me now...

I know I am not in the same climate as you, but where I live we have a lot of moisture, and tend to get a ton of backspot problems. My Ingrids have proven to be among the most resistant of my HT's. I have a purely organic garden, never use chemical sprays. Spring here is blackspot season, and all through spring I spray my roses weekly with "rosepharm." It's an organic mixture of biodegradable soap and essential oils. What constitutes high maintenance is a matter of personal opinion, but in my opinion a weekly spray of soap during the springtime is not that big of a deal. I dilute it in a pump weed sprayer, and cover all 30 of my rose bushes pretty quickly. In my neck of the woods anyway, nothing is maintenance free.

I have noticed some fragrance from Ingrid. Not the strongest of fragrance, but she does have a cherry-like smell when the weather is sunny. Of course, like others have said, fragrance depends on a lot of conditions, sometimes beyond our control. Also, different people have differing olfactory sensitivity. Some people notice some smells, and other people notice others. In my personal experience, the better the red and the more perfect the bloom form, the lighter the fragrance.

Anyway, like I said before, I have Olympiad as well, and it is also a nice healthy plant. But the blooms are somewhat smaller than Ingrid, the red is not quite as bright, and I haven't noticed any fragrance from it. I like it well enough, though.

Good luck, and I hope you find one that is just perfect for you and does well in your climate.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 1:02PM
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I garden in the NYC suburbs, and believe that our climate is similar. The truest red in my garden is Cinderella Fairy Tale. It is a grafted plant from Palatine, and shows very good disease resistance. The flower is small and quartered, with little fragrance. The plant is very compact, which I really like.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 1:20PM
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I Prefer Ingrid Bergman - it always has a good raspberry rose fragrance to my nose - though not very strong at all.

But I agree with Seil and others - I have seen Veterans Honor in American gardens doing really well.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:41PM
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Veteran's Honor and Liebeszauber are my favorite reds. Both are excellent roses. I used to grow Opening Night and Olympiad too, but when I needed to reduce my number of HTs I gave them away.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:36PM
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The reddest red rose that I've ever seen was OLYMPIAD at a rose show more than twenty years ago. I remember my jaw literally dropping at the intensity of the hue, and the perfect high centered flower formation. Perfect is a good description because that bloom was literally flawless. Since then I've seen Olympiad in a garden setting and continue to be impressed by the brightness of the red color.

The problem I have with bright reds like Olympiad, Ingrid Bergman and Opening Night is that all of them have little or no fragrance. Scentless blooms are a deal breaker. Call me crazy but red roses should not only be fragrant but should pack a wallop when sniffed, inducing olfactory ecstasy.

I've heard very good things about VETERAN'S HONOR. It is supposed to produce bright true red blooms possessed of a medium fruity fragrance with near perfect exhibition quality high centered flower form on a nicely branching shrub.

But the red Hybrid Tea I have my eye on is FIREFIGHTER because it is not only supposed have a strong fragrance but according to HelpMeFind Roses has thornless or nearly thornless canes. I'm always looking for fragrant roses with lightly thorned shrubs and this one looks very promising.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:54AM
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dove_song(WA State Z6b)

Hey, Patrick,

I think you should try growing FIREFIGHTER & also try growing VETERAN'S HONOR. Both have been really wonderful in my garden.

Best wishes. :-)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 9:43PM
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Here is Liebeszauber. I would not call it pinkish, but it is not quite so brilliant as VH. It is vigorous and extremely hardy. In the fall, it throws long, almost climbing-like, canes.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 10:50PM
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Here is Veteran's Honor taken by the same camera. It is not so saturated as some other pics here, but camera depictions vary. My VH still blooms even though winters have taken their toll. I should get another one.

Do I dare say this after all the accolades? In its first year, Firefighter was a good bloomer, but I was disappointed that the color was muddy and the blossoms not so well formed. That could entirely be a result of weather or first-year blooms.

This post was edited by mantis__oh on Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 23:41

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Here is Liebeszauber picked.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 11:06PM
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Here is a picture of Firefighter by the same camera under overcast conditions (like the others). To me, it has magenta shades.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 11:11PM
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Opening night. Its a lush perfect velvet red. Exquisite shape and dark foliage. No scent but its worth the trade off for its color, texture and disease risistance. Its hard to capture the richness in the color with my camera but you get the idea. :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:46PM
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alameda/zone 8

I saw a Legends bloom - it was huge and bright red - and had to have it so its on order. I don't grow the rose, but recall seeing Kardinal in a garden, with loads of blooms, and would like to have that one day.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 11:22PM
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Here's a picture of Kardinal. I used to have it, the blooms were always perfect and a true red.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 7:11AM
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the_morden_man((Z4-Z5) Ontario, Canada)

Grand Amore.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:31PM
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One of the best red roses I've come across over the past decade is Thinking Of You. It's similar in its blood-red colour to Ingrid Bergman, but has more pointed petals and a better scent. I don't think it's available yet in the US. It's bred by Fryer Roses in the UK

This post was edited by bendipa on Sun, Jun 29, 14 at 12:26

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 4:16PM
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the_bustopher z6 MO

The red hybrid teas that I have thought about have all been mentioned in the previous notes. If you will consider a couple of floribundas, I would nominate Glad Tidings and Lilli Marlene.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:11PM
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My vote is with Ingrid Bergman as well.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 3:16PM
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charleney(8a PNW)

OMG! Now I have to buy Ingrid too.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 12:13PM
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How about Crimson Bouquet, a grandiflora? It's a true, warm red, leaning more toward orange than pink, so I think your husband would approve.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 1:57PM
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