Rose Variety Alecs Red

By David Marks
Alec’s Red was bred by Alexander Cocker in Aberdeen and introduced in 1970. It was his first big commercial success as a rose breeder and is still one of the best roses for the small to medium sized garden.Beautiful, large deep red flowers, a strong delicious scent and deep glossy greenleaves with well serrated edges.Ideally suited to smaller gardens not only because of its size but also because it produces large, full flowers which it holds well above the foliage even in wet or windy weather.


Alec’s Red has won many awards over the years some of which are shown below:

Edland Fragrance Medal 1969
Royal National Rose Society President’s International Trophy 1970
Belfast Fragrance Prize 1972
Anerkannte Deutsche Rose 1973

Rose variety Alecs Red
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Alec’s Red rose variety


By all standards Alec’s Red is a very beautiful rose bush. Under most conditions it grows to somewhere between 1m (3ft 4in) and 1.2m (4ft) high with an average spread of 1m (3ft). It grows upright with no sign of spreading or drooping. This is a typical Hybrid Tea rose with one flower per stem

The flowers are large for a rose bush of this size, they are fully double andand deep true red, fading slightly as they age. They withstand wind and rainwell. They make excellent cut flowers with medium length stems. The foliage is adeep glossy green and they are a very attractive foil to the roses.

Alec's Red rose strong flower stems
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Flowers held high on strong stems, Alec’s Red rose

Alec’s red is a repeat flowering Hybrid Tea from mid June through to early October.

The flowers have a strong, delicious, sweet scent to them. Four or five in a vase is more than enough to impart their fragrance to a medium sized room.


Alec’s Red is a very healthy and quick growing rose. Resistance to
black spot and mildew is impressively good.We still suggest however that you follow our instructions on controlling black spot which can be found here.



Prune Alec’s Red rose as follows:

  • Remove all stems which show any signs of disease or damage. Cut them back to ground level or back to a main stem.
  • Remaining stems should then be pruned back to 15cm / 6 in from ground level. This will allow you to get a good view of the structure of the rose bush.
  • Now prune the rose bush so that it has four or five stems arranged equally apart roughly in a circle from the centre of the plant. These stems should ideally be growing out from the centre of the bush.
  • Compromise may be required but the idea is to keep the centre of the rose bush open and have the branches growing outwards. This is to allow air circulation to the centre of the plant and avoid infections.
  • When selecting stems, make sure that you remove stems which are touching or nearly touching another stem. Where stems are touching, they will rub off the outer bark and allow infections to enter.
  • Green stems are healthier and younger than browner stems so remove the browner stems and leave the green stems which are more vigorous.
  • When selecting the stems to remain, don’t leave spindly stems. Your are looking to have four or five stems which are at least the thickness of a pencil, hopefully thicker.


Bought online from Jacksons Nurserieson 24 January 2020 with another rose at a total cost of £29.97 including posting costs (so £14.99 perrose).

It was delivered with the other rose on 30 January 2020, extremely quick delivery time. The rose was supplied in a 4 litre pot as a containerised rose.

See our page on comparing
online rose suppliers here.

Containerised Alec's Red rose from Jacksons Nurseries
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Containerised Alec’s Red rose from Jacksons Nurseries

The rose was planted in our rose bedon 3rd February 2020. We will update you below throughout the life of this rose.


4th April 2020
Sprayed with Roseclear. Looks to be establishing well.Surrounding ground covered in cardboard and mulched with very well compostedwood chip. Watered twice after planting because of the unusually dry weather.

1st June 2020
Sprayed with Roseclear.

5th July 2020
First full flower appeared. This is one of the last three out of our trial of roses in 2020. But what a beautiful shaped red flower and one of the strongest scents of all roses.

2nd August 2020
Flowering well with several large, classic shaped, true red blooms. The one rose from our trials where I could not resist taking a rose stem for indoors. A very few lower leaves are showing signs of blackspot, nothing serious at all but time for another spray of Roseclear.

This is our favourite rose for a single stem to keep indoors. True red, unlike any others in this trial, beautifully formed with glossy green foliage and long stems. See the picture below (click it to enlarge it) and you will understand why.

A single stem Alec's Red rose

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23rd August 2020
A second flush of flowers has begun with several blooms appearing. Withstood Storm Ellen with no problems, flowers are held high with no drooping. Free from pests and disease.

A stunning true red Hybrid Tea rose for the small garden. The flowers are full, beautifully formed with deep green glossy foliage which has proven to be resistant to black spot until very late in the year. No signs of mildew at all.

The very full flowers have been held high and proud during this 2020 year, resisting some very high winds and heavy rain. As a cut red rose flower from a small garden, it has no equal.

Scent is very strong and delicious, extremely strong in the first half of the day.


Where 2021 produces similar results as previous years we will not comment.

This year the number of flowers produced has been slightly higher compared to the previous year.


HEIGHT: 90cm (3ft) to 1.2m (4ft)

SPREAD: 75cm to 150cm (30in to 5ft)

ROSE TYPE: Hybrid Tea, repeat flowering over the summer andearly autumn

FLOWER COLOUR: Deep, true red

FRAGRANCE: Sweet, strong

LEAVES: Deep green, very glossy, well serrated edges

THORNS: Average


USDA ZONES: 8b to 4b


GROWING CONDITIONS: Full or partial sunlight (four hours ormore sun)

SOIL CONDITIONS: Almost all soil conditions except dry or water-logged soils

CONTAINER GROWING: Well suited to growing in a container

BREEDER: Cocker 1970

AWARDS: Many awards although, surprisingly, not an AGM



Click here for more in depth reviews of our recommended rose varieties.