Roses can look beautiful in almost any garden – red roses are a romantic classic that never goes out of style.
One of the most enduring symbols of love and romance in Western culture is the red rose. And rather than buying red roses for your loved one from a florist, you could have some in your very own garden.
Buying a living plant rather than cut flowers could be a wonderful reminder for your partner of just how much you care. Or it might just look wonderful in your garden – especially if you are going for that traditional cottage garden look.
But roses come in many shapes and forms, and are suited to different sites. It is important to think not only about the colour of your roses but also their form and growth habit, and the conditions that they like.
This list should help you work out what type of red rose you are looking for and help you find the right rose or roses for your own particular garden.
Red Shrub Roses
The first type of rose to consider is shrub roses. Shrub roses come in many colours, but you will certainly find that there are plenty with beautiful red tones.
Shrub roses can vary significantly from one another.
There are old-fashioned shrub roses and wild roses, and more modern types.
But the care of all shrub roses is more or less the same, and they tend to have the same physical characteristics.
They have an open and spreading shape, with arching and often prickly branches which flower along their length.
Most shrub roses like a sunny, fertile space with plenty of room to spread out. However some, including wild roses, are happy in poor, dry soil and some shade.
Most shrub roses will not tolerate deep shade or permanently claggy or waterlogged soil.
If a shrub rose is what you are looking for, here are some red varietals to consider:
- Benjamin Britten
- L. D. Braithwaite
- Red Blanket
- Rosa Isabella
- Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’
- Rosa spin. ‘William III’
- Scarlet Fire
- Tuscan Superb
- Will Scarlet
Hybrid Tea Roses
Hybrid tea roses are large-flowered bush-type roses that typically have an upright and vase-like form.
Their large flowers are usually born singly or in small clusters at the end of each stem.
These roses all tend to do best in a sunny site, with free-draining yet slightly moisture-retentive, fertile soil which has been liberally enriched with organic matter.
Hybrid tea roses have upright stems which can make them ideal for use as cut flowers.
Red hybrid tea roses to consider for your garden include:
- Alec’s Red
- Black Beauty
- Darcey Bussell
- Deep Secret
- Royal William
- Ruby Wedding
- Thinking of You
- Velvet Fragrance
Red Floribunda Roses
Floribunda (cluster-flowered) roses are loosely bush shaped, and bloom repeatedly with masses of flowers during the summer months.
Shorter Floribunda roses work well at the front of a border or in a large container, while taller varietals work well at the back of a border, or in dedicated rose beds.
Some interesting red Floribunda roses to consider are:
- Dusky Maiden
- Hot Chocolate
- Moment in Time
- The Times
Red Patio Roses
If you would like to grow roses but do not have much space in your garden then patio roses could be ideal for you.
They are ideal for containers and compact in form. But bear a multitude of blooms and will typically flower all summer long.
As well as working well in pots on a patio, these small roses which grow around 30-60cm high can also work well in mass planting schemes in a larger garden.
Some beautiful red patio roses to consider are:
- Peter Pan
- Red Hat Lady
Red Rambling Roses
Rambling roses have sturdy, arching stems and are vigorous plants which can work extremely well when trained to cover a large pergola, wall or other sturdy structure.
They can also be grown into the canopy of a large and well-established tree.
Ramblers produce clusters of small but bountiful and often fragrant flowers in early summer. And while they prefer well-drained, fertile soil in full sun, many can tolerate some shade.
Here are a couple of beautiful red rambler roses to consider:
- Crimson Shower
- Rambling Rosie
Red Climbing Roses
Most climbing roses are also extremely vigorous, and many also have wonderful scent. Many repeat flower right through from early summer into autumn.
Like ramblers, these are also wonderful for covering walls or fences, or growing over sturdy pergolas or arches.
Fertile soil is essential for climbing roses, however, there are varieties which can cope with both sun and light shade as long as they have sufficient water – especially over the summer months.
There are plenty of great red rose varieties of this type to consider. Here are a few examples:
- Crimson Glory
- Danse du Feu
- Etoile de Hollande
- Prince’s Trust
- Tess of the D’Urbervilles
How to Choose Red Rose Varieties
As well as thinking about which type of rose you would like to grow, choosing a red rose variety also involves thinking about the hue.
Red roses come in a huge range of different shades – so one key decision that you will have to make is which particular shade you are looking for.
Some of the options above are a true crimson red, some are more pinkish… you have burgundy roses, maroon roses, and some with an almost purplish-red colouration.
Of course, in large part, once you have narrowed down your choices to those that will work well in your soil, in a particular location in your garden, it will likely come down to personal preference.
Think about which shade of red really speaks to you. And, of course, about which shade of red will complement the other plants you have chosen to grow in your garden and other elements in the surroundings.
A permaculture garden designer, sustainability consultant and freelance writer, Elizabeth works as an advocate for positive change. She aims to inspire others to reconnect with nature and live in a more eco-friendly way. She also tries to practice what she preaches as she tends her own forest garden, polyculture beds and polytunnel. See her personal website here.