Common Red Leafed Plants: Growing Plants With Red Foliage

Red Foliaged Plants
red foliage
(Image credit: Gratysanna)

Seeing red? There's a way to incorporate that regal color into your landscape. Plants with red leaves add a pop of color with maximum impact and can really brighten up the garden. Red foliage plants come in all shapes and sizes, some even keep that color year-round. Continue reading for some suggestions on red-leafed plants that will add that "pow" to your garden.

Why Choose Plants with Red Foliage?

Red is a color that indicates passion. Our ancestors saw it as the hue of fire and blood, key primal-and-life-giving forces. Bringing plants with red foliage into the garden provides a tie to the most primitive elements in our lives. Plus, it's a bright, cheery tone that is the perfect foil for standard green-leaved specimens.

Small Plants with Red Leaves

You don't have to be big to make a big impact. Small plants with red leaves to work into your garden include:

  • Coleus: Coleus plants come in many hues and may even have delicately frilled leaves. There are several varieties having red-hued leaves.
  • Begonia: Begonias not only provide amazing flowers, but some varieties have red leaves as well.
  • Ajuga: Ajuga are red-leafed plants and add even more effect with little spikes of purple flowers.
  • Euphorbia: Euphorbia comes in tones of red, is easy to grow, and is very hardy.
  • Coral bells: Coral bells are small plants with delicately scalloped and often red foliage.

Other small-plant ideas to try for their red leaves include caladium, canna, heucherella, and sedum.

Bushy Plants with Red Foliage

Firebush is a classic example of how red leaves can impress. Its green leaves turn red as the weather cools and the plant is easy to shear to keep to any height. Weigela comes in forms with not only deep purple-red leaves, but also elegant spring blooms. Smoke bush has a red-leaved variety and develops flowers that look like puffs of smoke.

More bushy, red-foliage plants to consider include:

Grass and Grass-Like Red-Foliage Plants

Grasses are easy to care for and add motion, along with vertical beauty. There are hundreds of cultivars from different genera to use as red accents. Some are evergreen, while others are deciduous. You can choose from diminutive species up to those that are taller than a person.

Just a few to consider are:

Every year a new variety of plant comes out from almost every species. Botanists are tinkering with DNA and breeding to bring gardeners a vast selection of plant colors. If you haven’t found a red-leafed plant in the species you desire, wait another year, and it will probably be available.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.