by Matt Gibson
There’s no wonder why many gardeners are planting red flowers, and we don’t blame them one bit. Red is assertive, daring, romantic and powerful—perhaps the most striking color in the spectrum. The color of fire and blood, red is an eye-catching and breathtaking shade in the garden that is seductive and exhilarating. Red symbolizes love, passion, heat, joy, strength, desire, longing, courage, leadership, action, wrath, willpower, anger, and is even used to communicate danger. Crimson may be connected to danger and anger because it reminds us of seeing blood. Red is an intense color with equal doses of positive and negative energy. In the garden, however, red flowers evoke beauty and high drama: plain and simple.
It raises your blood pressure, increases your energy level, enhances your libido, and increases your confidence. In the garden, red is a natural fit. Because it pairs well with luscious greens and never fails to capture the attention of onlookers, there is no reason why red shouldn’t dominate the color palette of your floral selections. If you can’t live without a bit of variety, however, we recommend sprinkling in a trace of mysterious black flowers to keep it dark and inviting. Red flowers are also striking when planted along with high-contrast white or yellow shades. Though orange, pink, blue, and purple blooms are each attractive alongside red petals, these combinations can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if more than two colors are used. The vibrant mixture can take away from the intensity that a red flower garden, or red with a burst of one other high-contrast tone, creates.
The following list is a roundup of our favorite red flower choices to add a splash of crimson to your garden beds. These are not the most popular or most common red flowers we could find—on the contrary, they’re the most intriguing or the most remarkable red flower options out there. These red blooms will set your garden apart from the others in your neighborhood. They’re the ones we consider the show-stoppers. These plants are guaranteed to not only catch your eye but hold your gaze for a prolonged period of reflection, inspiring meditation on love and passion, thoughts that deserve an extended stretch of attentive marination. These seven red flowers are the ones that will add high drama to your garden, giving you the most bang for your plant-budget buck.
There are two distinctly different varieties of cockscomb (also called celosia), and both are strikingly beautiful and unique in their own right. The most common form has an open feathery cluster of upward reaching spires that are reminiscent of a rooster’s comb—from which the flower gets its name. The less common variety produces a glorious crest of twisted, curling petals. Whichever variety you choose, the cockscomb flower is a sure show-stopper, and installing these plants is a way to add a bright pop of color to your garden that will catch every eye that passes by. The only drawback to choosing the cockscomb flower is its tendency to attract spider mites if the weather is too hot. So if you live in a extremely hot climate area, you may want to unfortunately skip this beautiful bloomer. Otherwise, though, this is a great choice to add a handful or a couple of handfuls of red pigment to your garden beds.
Cockscomb thrives in zones 2-11 and loves full sunlight and well-drained soil.
Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) are bright summer flowers that come in many different pastel shades. The pinkish-red variety is especially pleasing and makes this list because the blooms last all summer long, during a time when many other flowers are dormant. The pentas flower’s large, star-shaped heads populate the stems in clusters and are known to attract butterflies to your garden throughout the summer months. If you live in a cool climate area, you may want to try your hand at growing pentas in containers, as they tend to perform better in a controlled environment.
Pentas appreciate moist, well-drained soil, full sunlight, and they prefer zones 10-11.
Every garden needs a flower that steals the show and awes the crowd. The red sunflower fills that role in any garden that focuses on the color red. Towering over every other flower in your plots, the red sunflower, when fully matured and in bloom, is a mesmerizing sight to behold. The red sunflower is a hybrid of its yellow sibling, producing giant daisy-like flower heads with massive centers that are chock-full of tasty seeds. Plant red sunflowers, and you can fight with the birds over who will get to enjoy them each year. Another plus to sunflowers is that they need very little attention to thrive. Sunflowers are naturally hardy in heat and drought resistant, so once they get going, all they need from you is admiration. Avoid overfertilization, however, as it can lead to stem breakage in the fall.
Sunflowers revel in full sunlight and well-drained soil. They thrive in zones 3-10.
Normally, we try not to highlight flowers that require a lot of extra care in these lists, leaning instead toward sturdy plants that are easier to care for. However, the red amaranthus is just too beautiful and exotic to leave this flower off the list, no matter the extra work that they demand. The amaranthus blooms are long, stalactite-like specimens that cascade downward from the plant’s rope-like vines. The extra care they require is not too demanding, either. Amaranthus needs monthly fertilization and regular watering, so make sure that its soil stays moist at all times, especially during warmer months.
Amaranthus loves partial shade to full sunlight and moist, well-drained soil. These plants prefer zones 8-11.
The lycoris flower is a strange-looking little bloom that resembles an upside down spider. Otherwise known as naked ladies, the lycoris’ showy petals curl around the center of the bloom, with pistils that shoot up around the outside like spider legs. Every garden you see is full of red roses, lilies, tulips, and daisies. A garden full of lycoris, though, is a rare sight to behold. Even a single lycoris bloom is a glorious sight, especially if you have never laid eyes on one before. Blooming late in the summer when most other flowers are at rest, the lycoris flower is sure to be the star of the show in your garden for years to come.
Lycoris prefers zones 5-10 and does best in full sunlight and well-drained soil.
Each red anemone flower blossom produces five soft round petals that surround tiny black pistils which emerge from the center. Because of their shared difference in color at the center of the blossom, anemones and hellebores work well aesthetically when planted side by side, as the blooms look strikingly similar. Next to one another, they make a glorious pair. Some anemones bloom in spring and some in fall, however, so if you want them to accompany the hellebores in your flower beds, be sure to select the spring variety. Pro tip: Only move anemones in the spring. Though they are slow starters, anemones are known to spread like wildfire once they get established.
Red anemones get along well in zones 3-9 and love moist, well-drained soil and partial shade.
The red hellebore flower, as mentioned above, pairs well with the red anemone. The blooms share a family resemblance but contrast each other due to the hue of the pistils emerging from the center. Black pistils shoot out of the anemones, and yellowish-white pistils pop out of the hellebores. Though the shape of the blooms and flower heads of the anemone and hellebore plants are similar, the color and texture of the red petals on each are noticeably different. The anemone has smooth, soft petals with vivid red color, while the hellebore has an almost pastel red tone. In some red hellebore varieties, the petals have a veiny, ridged appearance, while in others, pastel petals with dark red blotches open up in spring. Hellebores are also loved by gardeners with an eye for beauty because they make wonderful cut flowers in arrangements, as they tend to last a long time and lose very little color after being cut.
The red hellebore thrives in zones 5-9 and enjoys well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.
These seven red flower suggestions are loud and defiant. They will stand out in a crowded garden plot and force onlookers to pay attention. When grouped together, these flowers will leave a lasting impression on viewers, who are sure to do a double take, taking a moment to linger or adjusting their routes so they’ll pass by again and again to take in the beauty of your unique flower selections. These seven choices perfectly exemplify the color red to its core. They are loud, passionate, daring, even shockingly-beautiful flowers that will set your garden apart from those of other, less daring gardeners and their safe, everyday picks. These are wild, showy MVPs, and they can make a garden sing.
Want to learn more about growing red flowers in your flower garden?
Bourn Creative covers Color Meaning: Meaning of The Color Red
Flower Glossary covers Red Flowers
FTD by Design covers 40 Types of Red Flowers
Home Stratosphere covers 30 Most Popular Types of Red Flowers for Your Garden (A to Z)
ProFlowers covers 41 Types of Red Flowers
Stylecraze covers 25 Most Beautiful Red Flowers