20 Stunning Plants with Red Stems

If you’re in search of plants that boast captivating red stems, look no further than this extraordinary list. These plants will add a dramatic burst of color to your garden, even during the winter months. With their vibrant red branches, they create a stunning visual display that can rival the beauty of Japanese gardens. Master Horticulturist Peter Lickorish describes the combination of vivid greens and bold reds as a powerful design feature. In this article, we will explore twenty of my favorite plants with red stems that can thrive in the UK, along with tips on how and where to plant them.

Purple Bergenia

purple bergenia plant

Botanical Name: Bergenia purpurascens
Hardiness Rating: H5
Plant Type: perennial
Foliage Type: evergreen
Flowering Season(s): spring
Size: 0.1-0.5m in height, 0.1-0.5m spread

Kicking off our list is the exquisite Purple Bergenia. This perennial boasts thick red stems adorned with beautiful pink, trumpet-shaped flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Once established, these bergenias are low-maintenance and can be used in various garden displays.

Common Dogwood

common dogwood shrub

Botanical Name: Cornus sanguinea
Hardiness Rating: H6
Plant Type: shrub
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): summer
Size: 1.5-2.5m in height, 1.5-2.5m spread

Known for its colorful foliage, the Common Dogwood is a hardy shrub that reveals its fiery red branches during the winter months. These vibrant stems provide excellent shelter for wildlife, making it an ideal choice for low-maintenance gardens and informal hedges.

American Pokeweed

american pokeweed shrub

Botanical Name: Phytolacca americana
Hardiness Rating: H7
Plant Type: perennial
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): summer / autumn
Size: 2.5-4m in height, 1-1.5m spread

American Pokeweed is a unique shrub with pinky-red stems that bear large oval leaves and racemes of pink and white flowers. This eye-catching plant also produces black berries on its striking red stems, making it a splendid addition to any garden.

Japanese Barberry

japanese barberry shrub

Botanical Name: Berberis thunbergii
Hardiness Rating: H7
Plant Type: shrub
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): spring
Size: 1-1.5m in height, 1-1.5m spread

The Japanese Barberry may be small in size, but its red woody stems and rounded leaves make a bold statement in any garden. This low-maintenance shrub is perfect for edging or creating a bushy hedge. The ‘Midwinter Fire’ cultivar is particularly recommended for a stunning display.

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Christmas Berry ‘Red Robin’

photinia shrub

Botanical Name: Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’
Hardiness Rating: H5
Plant Type: shrub
Foliage Type: evergreen
Flowering Season(s): spring
Size: 2.5-4m in height, 2.5-4m spread

The Christmas Berry, also known as Photinia ‘Red Robin,’ is a shrub renowned for its bright red leaves that turn green as they mature. Its red stems add to the vibrant display. This shrub is ideal for hedging, but it requires acidic to neutral soil pH. Its creamy-white flowers in spring are an additional treat.

Purple Amaranth

purple amaranth plant

Botanical Name: Amaranthus paniculatus
Hardiness Rating: H2
Plant Type: annual
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): summer / autumn
Size: 1.5-2.5m in height, 0.1-0.5m spread

Amaranthus paniculatus, also known as Purple Amaranth, is a frost-tender annual with arching red stems and purple flowers. This floriferous plant thrives in sheltered, sunny positions. It adds a touch of charm to traditional cottage gardens, flower borders, and beds.

Bromeliad

bromeliad plants

Botanical Name: Aechmea triticina
Hardiness Rating: H2
Plant Type: houseplant / perennial
Foliage Type: evergreen
Flowering Season(s): spring / summer / autumn / winter
Size: 0.1-0.5m in height, 0.1-0.5m spread

Bromeliads are popular houseplants because of their evergreen foliage and long-lasting flowers. Aechmea triticina, native to Brazil, boasts bright red flowers, stems, and leaves that bring vibrant color to your displays. Whether grown indoors or outdoors, this plant is sure to captivate.

Elephant Bush

elephant bush shrub

Botanical Name: Portulacaria afra
Hardiness Rating: H1B
Plant Type: shrub / succulent / houseplant
Foliage Type: evergreen
Flowering Season(s): summer
Size: 1.5-2.5m in height, 1-1.5m spread (IN NATIVE CONDITIONS)

Portulacaria afra, also known as the Elephant Bush, has thick red stems adorned with tiny waxy green leaves. This shrub thrives indoors and can reach a height of 2.5m in its native conditions. Ensure it has well-drained soil and avoid overwatering.

Winged Spindle

winged spindle plant

Botanical Name: Euonymus alatus
Hardiness Rating: H6
Plant Type: shrub
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): spring
Size: 1.5-2.5m in height, 1.5-2.5m spread

The Winged Spindle is a medium-sized shrub with woody red stems, green and red leaves, and yellowish-green flowers in spring. This low-maintenance plant also produces colorful berries in autumn. It thrives in various settings, but it looks particularly stunning near water where its reflection doubles the impact.

Bronze-Leaf Begonia

begonia plant

Botanical Name: Begonia x benariensi
Hardiness Rating: H3
Plant Type: annual / perennial
Foliage Type: evergreen
Flowering Season(s): summer
Size: 0.5-1m in height, 0.1-0.5m spread

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Bronze-Leaf Begonia is a half-hardy evergreen that produces red and pink flowers on dark-colored stems throughout summer. With its H4 hardiness rating, it can tolerate cooler temperatures. This begonia thrives in containers and looks lovely when planted with other annuals.

Mountain Pepper

mountain pepper shrub

Botanical Name: Tasmannia lanceolata
Hardiness Rating: H4
Plant Type: shrub
Foliage Type: evergreen
Flowering Season(s): spring
Size: 2.5-4m in height, 1.5-2.5m spread

The Mountain Pepper is an evergreen shrub with bright red stems that exude a cinnamon-like aroma. It bears clusters of yellowish-pink star-shaped flowers, adding to its allure. Plant this shrub in acidic soil, ideally in shaded areas. Its fragrant foliage makes it an excellent choice for garden borders near paths and entrances.

Crimson Glory Vine

crimson glory vine plant

Botanical Name: Vitis coignetiae
Hardiness Rating: H5
Plant Type: shrub / climber
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): summer
Size: 12m in height, 2.5-4m spread

The Crimson Glory Vine, or Vitis coignetiae, is a hardy climbing shrub that reaches impressive heights. Its bright red stems and large leaves turn red in autumn, providing a fiery display. This vine thrives against walls, adding a splash of vibrant color to any garden.

Coral Bark Willow

coral bark willow trees

Botanical Name: Salix alba ‘Chermesina’
Hardiness Rating: H6
Plant Type: tree
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): spring
Size: 12m in height, 8m spread

The Coral Bark Willow is a medium-sized tree with red and orange stems that add brightness to your garden during darker periods. This tree is ideal for hedging and wildlife-friendly gardens, providing shelter for small animals and spaces for bird nests. Pruning in early spring ensures a profusion of highly colored stems.

Bloody Stromanthe

bloody stromanthe plant

Botanical Name: Stromanthe sanguinea
Hardiness Rating: H1B
Plant Type: houseplant / perennial
Foliage Type: evergreen
Flowering Season(s): winter / spring
Size: 1-1.5m in height, 0.5-1m spread

Bloody Stromanthe is a houseplant with red stems that contrast beautifully with variegated cream and green leaves. It produces lovely orange flowers during winter and spring. This evergreen requires slightly acidic soil and indirect sunlight when grown indoors.

Wings Of Fire

wings of fire shrub

Botanical Name: Weigela florida ‘Wings of Fire’
Hardiness Rating: H6
Plant Type: shrub
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): spring / summer
Size: 1-1.5m in height, 1-1.5m spread

Wings of Fire is a smaller shrub that packs a punch with its red, orange, and bronze leaves. This shrub, reaching 1.5m in height and spread, adds a dramatic touch to beds and borders. Plant it with other foliage plants to create a vibrant display.

Castor Oil Plant

castor oil plant

Botanical Name: Ricinus communis
Hardiness Rating: H2
Plant Type: shrub / annual
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): summer
Size: 1.5-2.5m in height, 0.5-1m spread

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The Castor Oil Plant is an annual shrub that produces unique spiky seed pods. Its red stems provide an interesting contrast to its star-shaped red leaves. This frost-tender plant thrives in sheltered, sunny positions, making it an excellent choice for potting against walls and entrances.

Virginia Creeper

virginia creeper shrub

Botanical Name: Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Hardiness Rating: H6
Plant Type: shrub / climber
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): summer
Size: 12m in height, 4-8m spread

Virginia Creeper, also known as American Ivy, boasts slender leaves that turn a fiery red in autumn. With its red stems, this plant adds a stunning backdrop to any garden. It thrives in various conditions and is perfect for growing against walls or trellises.

Red Osier Dogwood

red osier dogwood shrub

Botanical Name: Cornus sericea
Hardiness Rating: H7
Plant Type: shrub
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): summer
Size: 1.5-2.5m in height, 2.5-4m spread

Red Osier Dogwood is a medium-sized shrub with red and brown stems that bear white berries in autumn. This fully hardy shrub is excellent for creating hedges or natural screens. The ‘Cardinal’ cultivar is especially known for its vibrant red stems.

Sorbaria ‘Sem’

sorbaria shrub

Botanical Name: Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’
Hardiness Rating: H5
Plant Type: shrub
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): summer
Size: 1-1.5m in height, 1-1.5m spread

Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’ is a deciduous shrub with thick red stems that produce colorful leaves with a delightful red flush. This low-maintenance shrub thrives in flower borders, beds, or informal planting schemes.

Wineberry

wineberry shrub

Botanical Name: Rubus phoenicolasius
Hardiness Rating: H5
Plant Type: climber / shrub
Foliage Type: deciduous
Flowering Season(s): summer
Size: 1.5-2.5m in height, 2.5-4m spread

The Wineberry is a low-maintenance climber with red fuzzy stems and frilly red flowers during summer. This plant can spread underground up to 4m, making it a versatile addition to any garden. Its bare stems add color and provide shelter for wildlife during the winter.

These twenty plants with red stems offer a remarkable array of colors, shapes, and sizes for your garden. Whether you’re looking for a show-stopping centerpiece, a stunning backdrop, or vibrant foliage, there’s something on this list for everyone. So go ahead and add a touch of drama and captivation to your garden with these extraordinary plants.

For more information on these plants and how to cultivate them, visit the Ames Farm Center.