A Garden Dressed In Red

Red is a very powerful color. Hummingbirds love the color red, too. 
Red is exciting, passionate, sexy and emotionally-charged. It is not, by any means, restful. 
Because of that, I wouldn't use it as my main color scheme in my meditation and zen gardens, except for a few lilies or potted plants placed among the others. I would, however, use it in my other Asian designs, Buddha Gardens, Hindu Gardens, and Japanese Gardens. Reds are featured in almost all Asian style design. It's a color you can't ignore, and is always a good focus in a planting. 

A totally red garden might sound over-whelming, but the addition of foliage plants, vines and berries, and shots of color within the planting make it a show-stopper. The accessories and seating you choose will bring it all together beautifully. A red bistro set or red-painted bamboo bench, a red arch or trellis placed in different areas of the garden... it just adds to the beauty of a red garden, and ties it all together. Mixing a little black and metallic golds is very classy, too.

Red plants in red planters are gorgeous. The contrast is the green foliage and soil or pebbles. Black is also a great color for planters in a red garden (many have red, black or gold designs on them). Large metallic-look gold planters for dwarf trees puts that plant over the top.

I grow Hardy Giant Hibiscus in a deep red color, and it's an incredible sight along my fence facing the street. An awesome daily photographic opportunity, as well. Red makes a statement, and it can't be ignored. You can't ignore 6 ft. tall dark green stalks with 10-12" tropical-looking blooms with yellow centers, growing all along the stalk, now can you? Hummingbirds and butterflies can't ignore them, either.

There are many plants - annuals, perennials, shrubs, bulbs, trees, ornamental grasses and evergreens with red berries.... that can fill your red garden with gorgeous color spring through late fall. Sometimes, into winter.

Deadheading your red flowers prevents that wishy-washy reddish-pink color you get when red flowers get old.

All red with shots of bright yellows and whites makes a big statement, as well. I mixed plantings of bright red chrysanthemums, and added Butterfly Weed (asclepias). The tall and narrow Butterfly Weed comes in a deep yellow, as well as a mixed red and yellow variety. Stunning when seen together. And you get Monarch Butterflies visiting all day long.

Red is fun to work with in the garden. all reds are not the same and some look better together than others. There are reds ranging from fire engine reds, to cherry reds, sunset reds, purply-reds, and all shades of dark burgundies and blood reds. There are even red flowers so dark, they're almost black. I like that in a foliage plant. If you make teas and potpourris, as I do, the petals of most of these plants are a treasure trove. The hips from the red roses will keep you in vitamin C all winter.

Fabulous Red Perennials

Included plants that are ornamental shrubs featuring red twigs or branches in fall and winter.

Feel free to add a little color depth by adding plants that bear deep orange berries or fruits that are very close to being red.

Some of My Favorite mostly Red Perennial Plants and flowers (flowers and foliage)

Red Peonies


Penstemon (Penstemon ‘Cherry Sparks’)
Tubular red flowers from midspring through late summer; hummingbird favorite
Size 8 to 20 in. tall, 14 to 16 in. wide
Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9

Red "Knockout" Shrub Roses
I have several, and they bloom their heads off from May until winter kills them. Fast growers with a beautiful fragrance.


Climbing Red Roses
"Double Delight" Rose - A combination of red, carmine, cream and pink.

Red Hardy Giant Hibiscus "Luna Red"
I grow these along my fence in the front yard, and they're stunning
2 to 3 ft. tall and wide
8-10" blooms
Cold hardy in USDA zones 5 to 10
Stunning along a fence line and as a backdrop for other perennials in the garden.
Blooms all along it's stem in rotation mid-summer through fall.

Butterfly Weed

Red Coneflowers
Cardinal Flowers

Red Wild Columbine

Bleeding Heart - Red and White, and White and Red

Red Fuchsia

Vines - There are vines with red flowers, red berries, or red variegated foliage
Red varieties of Clematis


Red and Red-ish Fruits
Strawberries -
Always beautiful plants with big red berries, little white flowers and bright green leaves. I plant mine in tall raised garden beds. The "daughter" vines with little plants hanging over the tall boxes is just beautiful.

Dwarf Pomegranate Tree

Dwarf Apple




Ornamental Trees With Lots of Red - Grow the dwarfs as focal points in big pots in the centers of the garden beds, or on either side of a structure.

Red Japanese Maple "Emperor 1"
Dark red foliage that turns brilliant scarlet in fall, interesting red-black bark
15 to 20 feet tall, 12 to 15 feet wide
Cold hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8

Other Red Japanese Maples

I grow several dwarf varieties in pots. They're all gorgeous and have incredible fall colors, including bright and dark reds. Potted Japanese Maples look awesome wherever they're planted. Some have unusual leaves and branches, many have a weeping habit. They're not as finicky as you might think. Japanese Maples make excellent focal points in the center of a garden bed, in the center of your front yard,  or on the side of doors and arches. They grow slowly, and pruning is not necessary, unless you want to shape it.

Red Crabapple




Ornamental Grasses
Japanese Bloodgrass
"Fireworks" Fountain Grass


Red Groundcovers

Red Berries
Dwarf Holly

Check out our Winter Garden design to learn about ornamental evergreens that bear red berries or flowers. Our Autumn Colors Garden design also has a list of reds and near-reds for your garden plan.





Add some potted Red annuals that play well with other plants in sun and shade, sitting in a garden bed, on steps, and in hanging baskets. Begonias, impatiens, geraniums, coleus



Park Seed Co.

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