The vibrant colors of flowers and leaves can add a stunning visual element to any garden. Amongst the lush greenery, it’s the plants with red leaves that truly stand out. While we often admire the oranges and reds of autumn, there are plants that flaunt their red leaves throughout the year. Let’s explore some of our favorite crimson and maroon plants that can transform your garden into a captivating paradise.
Japanese Maple Varieties
One tree renowned for its red leaves is the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum). With delicate leaves and a mesmerizing range of autumn colors, this tree is a true ornamental treasure. Some cultivars, such as Acer palmatum ‘Emperor One’ and Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, even display their red leaves at bud break. These beautiful trees can be planted in gardens, pots, on balconies, or patios, as they are adaptable and winter hardy.
Chinese Fringe Flower ‘Black Pearl’
The ‘Black Pearl’ variety of the Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense) not only boasts striking red leaves but also showcases beautiful pink flowers. From March to April, these pink flowers create a stunning contrast against the dark red leaves. Also known as loropetalum or strap flowers, these plants thrive in sheltered and sunny or partially shady spots in the garden.
Coral bells (Heuchera) are perennial herbaceous plants with evergreen foliage that adds a touch of elegance to any garden. Available in a variety of colors ranging from light green to deep purple, coral bells also offer numerous options with red leaves. Some notable varieties include Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’ with pink to bright red foliage, Heuchera micrantha ‘Molly Bush’ with dark red to purple foliage, Heuchera micrantha ‘Cappuccino’ with red-brown foliage, Heuchera micrantha ‘Obsidian’ with deep red, almost black foliage, and Heuchera micrantha ‘Purple Petticoats’ with purple underneath and brown on top. These plants are frost-tolerant and thrive in sunny to semi-shaded locations with well-drained soil.
Red Barberry Species and Varieties
If you’re seeking a bush with year-round red leaves, barberry plants are worth considering. The Berberis thunbergii var. Atropurpurea cultivar showcases purple-red leaves, while the Berberis thunbergii ‘Bagatelle’ cultivar displays red-brown leaves. The Gagnepain’s barberry (Berberis gagnepainii var. lanceolata) features both green and red leaves. Barberries are known for their resilience, adaptability, and ability to thrive in somewhat dry locations. They can even be utilized as hedges.
Forest Pansy Redbud
The forest pansy redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’) is another exquisite woody plant with red leaves. Its heart-shaped leaves begin as bright red when budding and transition to a deep purple shade while retaining their color throughout autumn. These trees grow up to 8 meters tall and bear purple and pink butterfly-like flowers from April to May. Forest pansy redbud trees flourish in nutrient-rich soil with ample sunlight.
Japanese Cherry ‘Royal Burgundy’
The ‘Royal Burgundy’ cultivar of the Japanese cherry (Prunus serrulata) is a sizable shrub with captivating red leaves. Its pointed elliptical leaves are dark purple and transform into shades of red and bronze during autumn. Additionally, these small trees bloom with stunning pink double-petaled flowers from late April to early May, adding to their ornamental value. Japanese cherry trees thrive in locations with full sun, whether they are planted in the garden or in large containers.
Photinia ‘Red Robin’
The red tip photinia (Photinia fraseri ‘Red Robin’) is an evergreen shrub with eye-catching red leaves that remain vibrant even during mild winters. Unlike plants that transition from green to red throughout the year, the leaves of ‘Red Robin’ photinia change from red to green. These shrubs grow to a size of 2 to 3 meters and are suitable for hedge planting, adding a touch of elegance to any landscape.
Black Cherry Plum
The black cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’) is a standout plant with its dark red leaves, pink flowers, and delicious fruits. These large shrubs can reach a height of 4 meters and are known for their hardiness and undemanding nature. After flowering in March and April, they produce sweet and juicy cherry plums, which are typically ready for harvest in July.
For a plant that offers both ornamental and edible value, consider purple basil (Ocimum basilicum). Adding some purple basil to your garden bed or balcony during the summer months will introduce lovely red hues. Perennial varieties of purple basil can grow quite large, making them a worthwhile addition to any garden. When planting purple basil, use nutrient-rich and structurally stable substrate, such as our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost. This well-structured compost retains moisture even after drying out, reducing the need for frequent soil renewal.
With the addition of these captivating red-leaved plants, your garden will radiate natural color and beauty. Remember, it’s not just outdoors that can benefit from the allure of red leaves, as there are also various indoor plants that can enrich your home with pops of vibrant color.