Red flowers are a great way to add color and interest to a flower bed. Heavily laden with symbolism, red flowers are also used to display love and compassion. When planted in the garden these eye-catching blooms color and warmth to a space.
Many red flowers also have other benefits, such as attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to the garden. Hummingbirds are particularly drawn to them. This is because the hummingbird sees in ultraviolet light, meaning that red shades are brighter in their field of vision.
The red flowers on our list have a range of different growth habits and requirements, they also flower at different times of year. This variety enables you to choose a range of plants to add color and interest to your garden throughout the year.
Easily one of the most iconic red flowers, roses are also one of the best plants for novice gardeners. Easy to care for, these long lasting blooms will, with a little encouragement and regular deadheading, flower from spring until the fall.
Perennial plants, most varieties are hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9 and do best in full sun positions. Roses come in a range of different varieties, from small, low growing plants to tall, flowering shrubs and climbing specimens. This versatility makes rose plants the ideal option for a range of different planting situations. Small, miniature roses can also be grown indoors. If you want blooms to appear throughout the year, knockout roses are both low maintenance and prolific.
Roses are prized for their romantic, red flowers.
Spring flowering azaleas are a great way to introduce early season color to the garden. Easy to grow, many varieties of these colorful, heavy flowering shrubs are also suitable for container planting. In the right conditions an azalea shrub can reach 8 ft in height.
Azalea plants (Rhododendron) come in a range of colors, including many that produce red flowers. A versatile plant they are pleasingly shade tolerant and suitable for growing under trees. Thriving in a range of conditions, most varieties are hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 9. Easy to care for, these shrubs appreciate regular deep watering. In return they reliably flower from spring until late summer.
Spring flowering Azalea blooms.
A reliable summer bedding plant, you can also grow begonias in water. Thriving in full sun positions and with just a little regular water, the large begonia blooms last throughout the summer only fading when the first frosts hit.
Hardy in USDA Zones 9 and 10, in cooler climates growing in pots or protecting with a Reusable Frost Protection Blanket can encourage these plants to return the following year. Versatile specimens that are also easy to grow, you can also plant begonias in hanging baskets or cultivate them as houseplants.
One of the most attractive begonia cultivars is the Rex Begonia. As well as colorful foliage, this variety also produces masses of interesting, variegated foliage.
Versatile begonias bloom throughout the summer in a range of growing conditions.
The poppy is a common symbol of remembrance, flowering across the European battlefields of World War One. Popular with pollinators, and a good choice for bee gardens, poppies may not be the most showy plant on our red flowers list but their simplicity adds elegance to the flower bed.
Annual and biennial varieties of poppies are available and the plants can also be grown from seed. Most poppy varieties are hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9. A resilient plant, the poppy grows best in well draining soil in either partial or full sun positions. Once established, ongoing poppy care is minimal.
Fields of open poppies are a common symbol of remembrance.
Another one of the many inclusions on our red flowers list that can be grown as houseplants or outside, either in pots, planters or flower beds, geraniums are a versatile, reliable plant. Instantly recognizable, geraniums (Pelargonium) are both easy to grow and care for. Simply plant in full sun to encourage lots of red flowers to form.
An ideal choice for planting in the gaps left when spring blooms fade and before summer plants reach their best, geraniums are both fragrant and colorful. Hardy in USDA Zones 10 and 11, in cooler climates the plants can be overwintered or cuttings taken and propagated for fresh plants the following year. A good companion plant, Geraniums repel many pests and insects. This makes them a good choice for including in a vegetable garden.
Geraniums are a great choice for pots and planters.
6 Bleeding Heart
One of the most distinctive of all the red flowers on our list, bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) blooms add eye-catching interest to any space. Spring flowering plants, bleeding hearts produce attractive arching stems from which distinctive heart-shaped blooms drape. These eye-catching red flowers sit above masses of blue-green foliage.
Bleeding heart’s distinctive open blooms are particularly popular with pollinators. Preferring partial sun positions, as the summer arrives these herbaceous perennials tend to cease flowering, becoming dormant in the heat. Some varieties, such as the fringed-leaf bleeding heart cultivar, are more heat tolerant and may flower throughout the summer in certain areas. Mulching the soil above the roots and keeping the soil moist helps to keep plants cool and prolong flowering. For more on growing bleeding heart plants, this is a good guide.
Bleeding heart blooms hang delicately from arching stems.
One of the most distinctive plants on our red flowers list, dahlias were first discovered growing wild in Mexico. Hardy in USDA Zones 8 to 11, in colder areas the plants are best grown as annuals. Alternatively, growers in cooler climates can over winter these tuberous plants in pots or by lifting and storing the bulbs, replanting them the following spring.
Plant the tubers in well draining soil to prevent rot. Flowering from July until early fall, dahlias are ideal for a range of planting schemes and cut flower gardens. These attractive plants thrive in full sun and are pleasingly low maintenance. Water your dahlias regularly to prolong flowering.
Ruffled, pom-pom like dahlia blooms.
A popular choice in flower beds and as part of a cut flower garden, carnations are reliable, low maintenance perennials. Thriving in full sun positions, these colorful, fragrant plants add interest to a range of planting schemes.
The carnation’s red flowers, sitting on long stems above rich, green foliage, are both large and colorful. Some varieties have a low growth habit, making them a good choice for low growing ground cover. Hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9, water a few times a week and plant in full sun to encourage profuse flowering.
Carnations are popular cut flowers.
Also known as Echinacea, these attractive perennials can reach up to 4 ft in ideal conditions. Most varieties tend to grow to about 2 ft before starting to produce their distinctive red flowers. These unusual blooms are popular with butterflies and pollinators.
Coneflowers can flower from midsummer until the first significant frost hits. The plants are hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9. Water regularly after planting. As soon as they are established coneflowers are pleasingly drought tolerant and low maintenance. Quick to grow from seed, dried coneflower petals can be used to make a herbal tea.
Popular with bees and butterflies, the distinctive coneflower.
One of the most recognizable flowers, typically daisies (Bellis perennis) are white in color. However these dainty plants actually bloom in a range of colors, including varieties that produce attractive red flowers. Painted Daisies come in a series of bright hues while Gerbera Daisies are popular for their eye-catching jewel tones.
Long lasting plants, most varieties of daisy bloom from early spring until the fall. Typically treated as an annual flower, many varieties are perennial. Daisies are hardy in USDA Zones 8 to 10. Thriving in full sunlight positions, the plants appreciate regular watering.
These colorful, low maintenance blooms are great for mixed flower beds and containers. You can also grow daisies as part of a natural planting scheme while larger varieties, such as Gerbera Daisies are also ideal for container gardens.
Large gerbera daisy blooms sit on improbably thin stems.
An old fashioned favorite, the snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) adds ornamental interest to the garden as well as texture, height and a spicy fragrance. Named snapdragon because the bloom is said to resemble a dragon’s jaws, gently squeezing the sides of the flower causes the jaws to apparently open and close.
Reaching up to 4 ft in height, keeping the soil consistently moist is the key to long lasting snapdragon blooms. The plants are hardy in USDA Zones 8 and 9.
Reliable plants that happily grow with just a little care in most conditions, snapdragons bloom in a range of colors. The red flowers can be particularly dramatic amongst a sea of colorful blooms.
Distinctive snapdragon blooms.
Producing large in a range of colors, including red flowers, Gladiolus is a tall perennial that adds stately height and drama to the garden. A popular sunflower companion plant, these attractive blooms can also be grown at the back of a flower bed to introduce colorful structure. Flowering throughout the summer, planting a couple of Gladiolus close together creates a dramatic, colorful effect.
Flowering best in full sun, water the plants regularly to maintain flowering. The plants are hardy in USDA Zones 7 and 8. Gladiolus plants do best in well draining soil, so make sure you work in lots of organic matter to enrich the soil and improve drainage before planting. Smaller varieties can be grown in pots.
Also known as Sword Flower, gladiolus plants are a striking addition to the garden.
A versatile plant, the hydrangea is a flowering shrub that can be used in a number of different ways. Larger species are ideal for foundation planting, while smaller varieties can be used to edge flower beds. Smaller varieties can also be planted in pots and planters.
While pink or red flowers may not be as common as white and violet flowering hydrangeas they are still very attractive. Best planted in partial shade, most varieties are hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 10. However, this can change depending on the variety. The planting zone, as well as other useful pieces of care information, will be on the plant label. Always check this before purchasing and planting.
When planted in a favorable position, and correctly cared for, growing hydrangeas is a great way to fill your garden with attractive red flowers throughout the spring and summer months.
Clusters of pale red flowers sit above masses of green foliage.
Bright and cheerful, impatiens, also known as Busy Lizzies are one of the most popular bedding plants. The red flowers are particularly eye-catching and can be planted alongside impatiens of other colors, or other bedding plants for a particularly colorful effect. Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) can also be grown in pots or as houseplants. Hardy in USDA Zones 10 and 11, these plants don’t need full sun to thrive. They flower just as profusely in partial shade positions.
If you are looking for an easy way to introduce lots of color to a shady spot in your garden, impatiens are a great choice. To learn more about these vigorous plants, this is a good growing guide.
Another popular bedding plant, pansies bloom in a range of shades including red flowers. Thriving in pots and beds, most pansy varieties have a height and spread of around 12 inches. Flowering from spring until late summer, these colorful perennials thrive in full sun and partial shade positions. Watering regularly helps to prolong flowering. Typically pansies are hardy in USDA Zones 7 and higher.
The range of pansies on offer only adds to their interest. Each variety has its own unique appearance, producing petals of different shapes, sizes or positions around the center of the flower. While some varieties produce single color blooms, others can be bicolored, with attractive dark centers.
Low maintenance and colorful, the pansy is a popular bedding plant.
Elegant and long lasting, lilies add color and fragrance to the garden. Flowering from early summer until the fall they are also popular cut flowers. The large petals of the lily, growing as the plants bloom, help to add drama to the garden.
Perennial plants, many lily varieties are hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9. Best planted in full sun positions in well draining soil you can also grow lilies in pots and planters.
Different varieties thrive in different planting schemes and situations. This is a good guide to some of the most common varieties of lily, highlighting which varieties work best in which planting situations. One of the most commonly grown varieties is the day lily. Low maintenance and easy to grow, the day lily seems to thrive on neglect. This makes them a good choice for nervous or novice gardeners. Despite being easy to grow, the day lily still produces large, attractive blooms.
The open red flowers of the lily add drama to a garden.
A reliable bedding plant choice, mass petunia plantings either of single red flowers or a mixture of colors provides flower beds with eye-catching interest. Long lasting plants the fragrant aroma of the petunia fills the evening air, attracting scores of nighttime pollinators such as night-flying moths to the garden.
Easy to grow from seed, petunias do best in sunny, well draining positions. Typically grown as annuals the plants can be treated as tender perennials in USDA Zones 9 to 11. Regular watering and fertilizing encourages red flowers to flourish throughout the summer months. A 3 in 1 Soil Moisture Meter is a handy way to measure the moisture content, light conditions and soil conditions, enabling you to give your plants the best possible care.
While multiflora petunias are the most prolific flowering and durable variety, trailing or spreading types are good for providing ground cover. You can also grow petunias in hanging baskets and pots.
The open trumpet shaped blooms of the petunia are popular with night pollinators.
Ornamentally attractive, salvias are both versatile and low maintenance. They are also a good source of food for pollinators. The tall, slender appearance of the salvia makes it one of the most easily recognizable of the plants on our list of red flowers.
There are currently over 900 different types of recorded salvia, including numerous varieties that produce rich red flowers. In addition to their ornamental attraction, many gardeners love salvias for their tough and reliable nature. Perennial plants salvia (Salvia splendens) flower best in full sun positions. Hardy in USDA Zones 9 and warmer, in cooler zones you can grow salvias as annuals.
Pollinators such as bees love salvias.
Bright and easy to care for, marigolds are popular in vegetable gardens thanks to their properties as a companion plant. Able to repel numerous common garden pests including aphids and nematodes they also attract pollinators, helping to increase your yield.
Commonly grown in the vegetable garden you can also plant marigolds in flower beds and containers where they fill any spaces with lots of bright color and green foliage. Available in a range of colors, including red flowers, marigolds (Tagetes) flower from late spring until the first frosts of the fall. They are also one of the easiest plants to grow from seed. For an early flowering display, start the seeds undercover in Seed Starter Trays. These cheery annuals thrive in both full sun and partial shade positions and only require watering, once established, during dry spells. Most marigold varieties are hardy in USDA Zones 8 to 10.
Marigolds bloom in a range of colors.
Tall and elegant, peonies can grow up to 4 ft high in certain conditions. Here the delicate stems, on which large showy blooms sit, may require some support. Bamboo Stakes provide sturdy support that blends into the landscape.
Flowering in early summer or late spring, these showy perennials thrive in full sun. The majority of peony varieties are hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 8. While the blooms may fade by mid summer, the rich green foliage is long lasting, providing background color for other plants until the fall. Despite their showy appearance peonies are easy to grow in flower beds or containers, as well as part of a cut flower garden.
The showy red flowers of the peony.
21 Morning Glory
These old fashioned flowering vines are ideal for training up trellises, arbors or pergolas. You can also use morning glory to provide ground cover.
A sprawling plant, the vines of morning glory can reach up to 15 ft from the base of the plant, producing masses of attractive trumpet-like red flowers. Plants also bloom in shades of blue and purple.
A perennial plant in warm zones, morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) is hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 10. Thriving in full sun these plants require little regular care and water once established. However, pruning back the vines occasionally helps to curtail the plant’s vigorous growth habit.
A great ground cover or climbing option, as the name suggests, morning glory is at its best in the morning.
Easy to grow and maintain, the delicate blooms and broad green foliage of periwinkle or creeping myrtle help to add color to bare spaces. A great ground cover choice, sprawling periwinkles (Vinca) are surprisingly resilient. If allowed to, the plants can achieve a spread of around 2 ft. Best trained up a trellis or structure, you can also grow your periwinkle as part of a shady living wall.
Typically producing lilac or light blue blooms you can also find periwinkles that produce red flowers. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9, in the wild periwinkles thrive around trees or on slopes, where they can help to prevent soil erosion. Preferring partial shade, these reliable perennials also flower in full sun positions.
Members of the primula family, the primrose provides spring color in a range of bright shades, including red flowers. The primrose’s rich, green foliage provides an ideal backdrop to showcase the plant’s bright blooms.
A versatile plant, many of which are varieties of Polyanthus hybrids, the primrose thrives in well draining soil. Happy to grow in shady positions, these plants are ideal for forest planting schemes as well as flower beds and container gardens.
Depending on the growing conditions the plants can be annual or perennial. Regular watering encourages the blooms to last from early spring until the height of the summer heat. In certain areas a second floral display may emerge in the fall. One of the easiest plants to grow the primrose is a versatile way to brighten up a range of different areas.
Spring flowering primroses.
A spring flowering bulb, like the bright yellow daffodil, tulips are best planted in sunny positions in well draining soil. Depending on the variety the plants are hardy in USDA Zones from 10 down to 4.
Best planted in the fall for a strong spring display, tulips look particularly effective when used in mass plantings. Here the showy blooms are able to really stand out, instantly grabbing the viewers attention. Available in a range of shades, from rich vibrant colors, to more understated pastel shades, tulips also grow well in pots.
Mass tulip plantings can be particularly eye-catching.
An old fashioned favorite, chrysanthemums produce colorful blooms, including bright red flowers, from late summer into the fall, adding masses of late season color. This makes them a popular choice for fall gardens.
Originating in China most varieties are perennial, hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9, and thrive in full sun positions. With a little regular watering these are both reliable and attractive heavy flowering ornamental plants. Smaller cultivars are also ideal for planting in pots and planters. For more on growing chrysanthemums, why not check out our growing guide?
Chrysanthemums are reliable fall plants.
Bright, colorful and largely easy to grow, why not introduce some red flowers to your garden today?
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.