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A Pop of Red Can Brighten Any Garden

Red flowers brighten up any landscape. Plant any of these options for a vibrant, beautiful garden.

Red creates attraction, draws attention, and is noted by experts as ‘emotionally intense’. Red is a passionate and exciting color, that's why it's popular for Valentine's day - but, it's also a great color for the garden any time of the year. Red roses and plenty of red-blooming annual and perennial flowers can tag-team for a non-stop red fix from early spring into fall.

Red garden roses

‘Mr. Lincoln’ is the classic red hybrid tea rose. ‘Olympiad,’ ‘Deep Secret,’ and ‘Darcey Bussell,’ are other good cutting roses, while ‘Altissimo,’ Dublin Bay®, and Ramblin’ Red® are three of the best red climbers.

For tough shrub roses, try the top-selling Knock Out® types, plus Home Run®, Kolorscape Kardinal®, True Bloom® True Passion®, and the compact varieties Red Drift® and Petite Knock Out®.

  1. These winter-hardy bulbs offer one of the season’s first garden reds and are second only to roses as Valentine’s Day cut flowers. ‘Red Emperor’ is one of the earliest and long-lived red tulips, while ‘Bastogne,’ ‘Rodeo Drive,’ ‘Red Impression,’ and ‘Apeldoorn’ are other good red varieties.
Red Roses

Red Roses © George Weigel


Lots of annual flowers give you red non-stop all summer. Geraniums are one of the most familiar. Four of the best reds are Calliope® ‘Dark Red,’ Caliente® ‘Deep Red,’ Pinto Premium Deep Red®, and Timeless® ‘Fire.’

Other annuals that offer red selections include petunias, zinnias, celosia, begonias, impatiens, and cannas. Many coleus varieties have assorted shades of red in their leaf color.


Red Geraniums

Red Geraniums © George Weigel


As summer winds down, dahlias produce their big, fluffy flowers on tall stems – in various shades of red as well as many other colors. Good reds include ‘Akita,’ ‘Arabian Night,’ ‘American Beauty,’ ‘Bodacious,’ ‘Spartacus,’ ‘Boom Boom Red,’ ‘Gallery Singer,’ and ‘Nick Sr.’


Red Dahlia Akita

Red Dahlia Akita © George Weigel

Other notable red flowers

Azaleas and rhododendrons. ‘Hershey’s Bright Red,’ ‘Girard’s Scarlet,’ and ‘Hino Crimson’ are three of the best red-blooming evergreen azaleas. ‘Nova Zembla’ and ‘Vulcan’s Flame’ are two of the best red-blooming rhododendrons.

Peony. This old-fashioned, bushy perennial has several red-flowered types that look a bit like old-fashioned rose blooms, including ‘Armani,’ ‘Scarlet Heaven,’ ‘Simply Red,’ ‘Red Magic,’ ‘Scarlet O’Hara,’ the dark-red ‘Karl Rosenfield,’ and the classic ‘Red Charm.’

Daylilies. Lots of these durable July-blooming perennials bloom in red or red blends, and many of them rebloom from late summer into fall. Some of the best: ‘Cherokee Star,’ ‘Chicago Apache,’ ‘Funny Valentine,’ ‘Pardon Me,’ ‘Ruby Stella,’ and ‘Red Hot Returns.’

Hardy hibiscus. These summer bloomers with huge trumpet-shaped flowers look like tropical bushes. Some excellent red-flowered ones include ‘Midnight Marvel’ (which also has dark foliage), Summerific® ‘Cranberry Crush,’ ‘Vintage Wine,’ and ‘Cherry Brandy.’

Some other good late-spring to summer-blooming red perennials are poppies, astilbe, crocosmia, red varieties of coneflowers (yes, they now come in bright colors), lilies, bee balm, and red hot pokers.

Mums. This fall-blooming perennial comes in all shades of red, from softer rosy-red varieties to fire-engine-red ones. Options include ‘Firedance Igloo,’ ‘Betty Lou,’ ‘Majesty Red,’ ‘Eternal Red,’ ‘Avalon Red,’ ‘Red Ryder,’ ‘Radiant Red,’ ‘Bonnie Red,’ and ‘Cynthia Scarlet.’

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