Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
If I only had room for one red rose in the cutting garden I would probably choose the Chrysler Imperial. An award winning variety, this classic hybrid tea has long been recommended as a cut flower. Very popular over the years this is known for the rich colors and heavy fragrance. The deep red, glossy petals look velvety. Around 50 in number, these look frilly. The blooms are very fully double. These have the beautiful classic rose shape, and open on strong, sturdy stems. The flowers are quite large—up to five inches wide. A repeat bloomer, this provides very long stems that are perfect for cutting from spring to fall. It blooms very heavily.
The color tends to fade somewhat as the blossoms age, becoming magenta. Cold temperatures can cause them to develop blue tinges. The blossoms are borne singly.
This is a very good rose for warm climates, and is one of the easiest ones to grow. The deep green, shiny foliage is relatively resistant to disease. But it can get mildew, especially in cold, wet climates. It prefers hot summers. The vigorous, compact, upright plants are about four to six feet tall and around two to four feet wide. These are recommended for zones four through eleven. The plant can be somewhat picky compared to some other roses.
The parents were Mirandy and Charlotte Armstrong. This was bred by Dr. Walter Lammerts in California, and was introduced in 1952.
There are different stories concerning the name of this rose. According to some sources, the breeder wanted to name it after the Chrysler car, but due to trademark infringement issues decided to select a similar name. In any case, early ads showed the rose with Chrysler cars, and the breeder did receive a car as a free gift from Chrysler.
This plant has received numerous awards over the years. It received an All-American Rose Selections award in 1953. It was named a Gold Medal winner in 1951 in Portland, Oregon. The American Rose Society John Cook Medal was awarded to it in 1964. It also received the American Rose Society James Alexander Gamble Fragrance Medal in 1965.