Red Plants are Fab!

May 5, 2016

As a color, red has a serious fan club. Red shoes (to die for), red cars (go faster), red lipstick (no comment) and red roses. Which brings us to red in the garden. Red is the perfect foil to green, which is probably why we often paint the front door red. Or line the path with evergreen topiary balls growing in red-glazed planters. Or tie oversized red bows into the shrubbery come Christmas time. What follows is a quick look at some brilliant plants that pack a nice red punch…

easy care landscape plant

Coprosma Pacific Sunset

THE LUSCIOUS LEAF: It’s not always about the flower and one look at this coprosma – Pacific Sunset – proves that. Once you’ve planted a pair of these in pots to flank your entrance, or massed them against strappy foliage in a modernist garden, you can count on them to thrive. They will always look this delicious and the red will continue to wow.

Red colored Flower Carpet roses

Flower Carpet Scarlet (left) with its ruffles and classic shade, and Flower Carpet Red’s popping hue.

THE RED ROSE: There’s not much more traditional in a red flower than the red rose. The problem is, a traditional long stemmed rose tends to be a fussy thing to grow – the bush is often ungainly and the flowering season can be short. Luckily there are two red options where it comes to Flower Carpet roses, Flower Carpet being so easy to grow. Plant either the Scarlet or the Red and stand back. You’ll soon be sighing over the flowers for months.


CLASSIC GERANIUMS: Strictly speaking a geranium should be called a pelargonium but we all know what we mean when we describe a window box filled to overflowing with red geraniums. It’s a classic not only because it looks so fabulous but because this is a tough plant to kill. And here’s a trick: if you live where winters are serious, grow them in pots so you can trim them back, then bring them indoors to overwinter inside on the window ledge.


Geraniums always add a bit of joy to any balcony!

VOLCANO RED: Phlox are much loved – remember that scent? –  but many gardeners are a little wary given they have a reputation for being mildew-prone. Happily not Volcano Phlox, which is disease resistant and comes in many colors including a fabulous red.

mildew tolerant phlox

Volcano Red phlox


TROPICAL WARMTH: There is something very cheery and heartwarming about Tropicanna canna– one look and you feel like the party’s starting. Each leaf is an astonishing mix of hot colors, including red. Plant this where the sun can shine back-lit through the leaves to make the most of the joy.

tropical cannas

Tropicanna canna


RED LINE: Strappy foliage is every garden designers favorite tool and it’s an even better weapon when the long, linear leaves are burgundy red like those of Festival Burgundy. To use it like a professional think about planting it in chunky masses, or giving a long drive a punchy edging. It copes well beside a pool and is a great accent plant in large planters.

easy care plant

The strappy architectural foliage of Festival Burgundy cordyline looks good enough to eat.


If you’d like hi-res images to accompany this story starter from Tesselaar Plants, please contact Judie Brower at





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