A red leaves plant brings bold and dramatic shades of maroon, burgundy, crimson, and deep pink to your garden or home. Any plants that have green and red leaves will brighten up your rooms and add some warmth, and you’re surprisingly spoiled for choice when you start to look for various red leaves plants. Some are very subtle and subdued, others are bold and bright and a few are actually fairly rare houseplants.
If you’re considering adding red leaves plants to your space, you’ll find one or two that match your requirements in this post. We’ll touch on growing tips as well as outline over 21 stunning red leaves plants that work in different planting zones.
This red leaves plant comes with flowers that are actually modified leaves called bracts. When you pick plants in this genus, you’ll get flowers that are bright, shiny red with a waxy leaf form and a bright yellow or cream-hued flower called a spadix. The leaf-like red bract is usually lance or heart-shaped, and it will contrast nicely with the green foliage this plant has too. Anthurium cultivars make fantastic houseplants or in flower arrangements and offer spathes in light pink, lipstick, lilac purple, and dark orange. A few notable cultivars in this category that are red leaves plants are:
- Flamingo Lily (Anthurium andraeanum) – This is the most common plant in this category, and it offers heart-shaped, waxy, red leaves with a whitish-yellow spandex. The red spathe has a very bumpy surface with a lacquered appearance.
- Pigtail Lily (Anthurium scherzerianum) – Better known as the Flamingo Flower, this very tropical, exotic indoor plant has a reddish-orange, curled, waxy leaf that will curl just like a pig’s tail, hence the name.
2. Bloodleaf Iresine (Iresine herbstii)
This red leaves plant is native to South America, and it’s a very popular perennial. You may hear it referred to as the Beefsteak Plant or the Chicken Gizzard Plant because of the blood-red veining in the leaves and the unique shape of the leaf.
This is a very low-maintenance house plant, but it does need humidity, warmth, and sunlight to keep the color vibrant and bold. It does very well planted in container gardens or put in hanging baskets, and it’s great for putting on your sundeck or pool patio. You should pinch it back regularly to encourage a bushy growth habit and prevent it from getting unwieldy and leggy.
3. Bromeliad Plants (Bromeliaceae)
Bromeliads are one of the best tropical plants to have in your home if you’re trying to create a bright focal point. This plant family has leathery, thick leaves that can be white, red, variegated, or yellow coloring. A lot of species in this category look like they have very colorful and big rosette-like flowers. However, the flowers are actually bracts, or colorful modified leaves. The leaves in this shape can be several colors like autumn orange, scarlet red, yellow and red combinations, and bright yellow.
Most of these red leaves plants can survive very well in low light conditions as long as they get a lot of humidity. Due to this need, they’re a great plant to put in your bathroom where they can benefit from the humidity and warmth.
This bulb flower comes in a huge range of color combinations that include green and red. You can use this red leaves plant to make a focal point in your garden or by your patio, and it provides visual interest all summer long.
This is actually a tropical foliage plant that has multi-colored or bicolored leaves in pink, green, red, and white colors. You may hear it called angel wing plants, and they offer some of the prettiest and most colorful leaves of any houseplant you can buy. Two popular options are a fancy-leafed caladium that has big heart-shaped leaves and the strap-leaved caladium that has arrowhead, slender leaves. Some of the most popular red leaves plants in this category include:
- Caladium Bicolor ‘Florida Red Ruffles’ – This lance-leaf plant has stunning dark pink or red leaves with a darker green coloring on ruffled margins. It’ll grow well in bright light, and it’ll maintain the reddish-pink coloring in all light conditions.
- Caladium Bicolor ‘Florida Sweetheart’ – This is a fancy-leaf Caladium that is a bicolor houseplant with heart-shaped, rosy red leaves with margins with a slight wave. If you look closely at the leaves, you’ll see bright pink veins that create very intricate patterns.
- Caladium Bicolor ‘Red Flash’ – This is another fancy-leaf Caladium that offers red veins that stand out of the green leaves that look like they bleed together. To make this red leaves plant even more ornamental, it offers bright pink speckles on the leaves.
- Caladium ‘Bombshell’ – This red leaves plant works wonderfully as a houseplant because it has very intense red coloring with very wide green color margins. The bright red and green colors will add a dramatic accent to your home.
5. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
The Chinese Evergreen is a great indoor plant to help remove toxins from the air, and the bright red leaves plant will draw the eye when you walk into the room. There are cultivars that offer variegated green and red leaves, and the leaves are elliptic-shaped with a broad profile. There is a large range of colors to choose from, and you want to put it in a well-draining, porous putting mix in a space that gets plenty of bright but indirect light to help draw the colors out. A few popular red leaves plants in this category include:
- Aglaonema ‘Red Anjamani’ – This large red leaves plant offers oval leaves with bright red coloring and pointed tips. There is also subtle green veins and green around the edges on the leaf blades.
- Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’ – This red Algaonema type of plant has stunning green and red lanceolate leaves. The darker green leaves offer rich red veining and margins for contrast.
- Aglaonema ‘Valentine’ – The big red leaves with green margins provide interest for this plant, as does the flecked green coloration. It’s a colorful and eye-catching tropical houseplant.
The Coleus plant is a genus of ornamental plants that come with a large variety of brightly-colored leaves. This red leaves plant is a tropical evergreen perennial that has serrated edges on ovate leaves. Coleus is generally a low-maintenance plant that offers color combinations on the leaves like burgundy and green, red, magenta pink, sunset orange, or lime green with red margins. Some red leaves plants in this category include but are not limited to:
- Coleus ‘Kong Red’ – This cultivar has very broad leaves with light green coloring and cherry or dark red centers. You should try to grow this plant in full to partial shade to protect the colors and prevent scorching.
- Coleus ‘Wizard Scarlet’ – This Coleus offers bright red leaves that have vibrant green coloring on the margins. It does well if you plant it in well-draining potting soil in a bright location that you shield from direct sunlight.
- Solenostemon Redhead (Coleus ‘Redhead’) – This red leaves plant has ovate, dark red leaves that retain the color no matter if you grow them in full sun or shade. It’s a very bushy plant that offers masses of bright red leaves with a few red and green leaves mixed in.
- Solenostemon ‘Pineapple’ (Coleus ‘Pineapple’) – This tender, tropical perennial plant has very bright leaves in lime green with thin red margins that are serrated. The colorful, elongated, ovate leaves work wonderfully for brightening up your room, and you can grow it in part shade or full sun for the best results.
7. Copperleaf Plant (Acalypha wilkesiana)
This red leaves plant is native to Polynesia, and it’s a very attractive shrub that has bright red coloring. It usually likes to be in a space with full sun, but it can do well in some shade. The serrated, large leaves come in several red hues, including berry, salmon, copper, or scarlet.
Some plants will offer crinkled or curly leaves. The copperleaf plant is something you want to grow as a specimen plant in a garden to help showcase the stunning colors and patterns on the leaves. It also makes a great hedge plant if you plant it four to five feet apart to give you privacy in your yard or a windbreak. In ideal conditions, this plant can get to an impressive 15 feet high.
8. Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
If you’re trying to make a tropical garden, this red leaves plant comes with red, yellow, and green leaves on it. A lot of varieties of this plant are vibrant colors in variegated green, red, yellow, or orange, and they grow best if you plant them in warmer temperatures. So, they make a nice houseplant with very colorful looks. They can add a tropical flair to your space and brighten up your room. Some croton plant types with the most colorful leaves include:
- Codiaeum Variegatum ‘Bush on Fire’ – This houseplant offers multicolored lanceolate leaves in darker shades with red, yellow, green, or orange-colored highlights.
- Codiaeum Variegatum ‘Mammy Red’ – The ‘Mammy Red’ version of this plant has curling, long leaves with bright orange, red, yellow, and green patterns on the leaves. It has an upright growth habit that makes it very popular as a houseplant when you combine it with the fiery colors.
- Codiaeum Variegatum ‘Nervia’ – This cultivar is a great indoor plant if you’re trying to figure out how to add some color to the space. It offers reddish-pink foliage that contrasts nicely with the light green and yellow colors.
- Codiaeum Variegatum ‘Red Secretary’ – This croton plant has pretty green and red oblong leaves with slightly wavy edges.
To date, there are over 100 species of croton plants available, and they all come with lanceolate or oblong leaves. Other cultivars offer green leaves with yellow splotches and others have big yellow leaves with green markings. Some will also have ribbon-like, long green leaves with bright red stripes.
9. Hau (Hibiscus tiliaceus)
Better known as the Tricolor Hibiscus or the Sea Hibiscus, this red leaves plant is a very big tropical shrub that offers varying foliage color phases. The younger leaves are a very bright red that gradually switch to a light pink and then to emerald green with creamy white splotches.
The hibiscus-like flowers this plant offers also change from yellow to orange to rose as the growing season goes on. It grows prolifically throughout the tropical and subtropical areas of Polynesia. It’s very adaptive to low-land coastal areas, and it’ll tolerate sandy, wet, and salty soil very well. In Hawaii, this red leaves plant is sacred, and you traditionally find it marking outrigger canoes or in wood carvings.
10. Joyweed (Alternanthera dentata ‘Brazilian Red Hot’)
Joyweed is the Bloodleaf Iresine’s cousin, and it’s a Brazilian cultivar that has a reputation for offering ruby-red foliage. This color can almost be too bright, especially when you get the leaves wet. You’ll get the best leaf color if you plant it in full sun, and it likes well-drained, moist soil. It’s a self-seeding plant that will multiply freely, and it’s popular as a ground cover. You may also find it used in flower borders or beds. It’s popular to mix in with other foliage like Persian Shield or Coleus to create focal points.
11. Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’)
The tricolor Dracaena has ribbon-like, pointed leaves that are light reddish pink, green, or creamy yellow. It has tapering, thin leaves that are green and cream with crimson-red, pale margins. The pretty foliage will grow in a rosette shape on top of the woody, slender stems. The upright growth habit of the tapering, thin green and red leaves allow the plant to have a spiky crown.
You can grow this red leaves plant in indirect, bright sunlight. This very tall indoor houseplant will grow roughly six feet tall. It’s a tropical evergreen that is great for helping you add colorful height to your room. Plants from this genus also made NASA’s list of plants that filter the indoor air.
12. Nerve Plant (Fittonia)
Nerve plants are smaller tropical houseplants, and these red leaves plants offer red mosaic patterns across a green leaf. The leaves are egg-shaped or oval with very intricate patterns. The leaves can actually look like the plant has colored veins. Along with the red veining, they can have pink, white, or light green patterns. A few of the red leaves plants include:
- ‘Black Star’ Nerve Plant – This plant has lighter green leaves with stunning reddish-purple red patterns.
- Juanita’ Nerve Plant – You’ll get a big leafed Fittonia plant with bright-red patterns across the leaves.
- ‘Red Anne’ Nerve Plant – This is a very compact tropical houseplant with deep reddish-purple veining.
- ‘Red Star’ Nerve Plant – The bold red veins make the ovate, small leaves look reddish-pink.
13. Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Most poinsettia varieties have showy green and red leaves on them. This is an excellent indoor plant with red, showy leaves that appear during the winter months and go through early spring. The colored leaves on this plant are typically blazing red bracts and have modified leaves. The intense coloring on the leaves will contrast very nicely with the dark green foliage and the plant’s other leaves.
Even though scarlet red is the traditional leaf color on this plant, there are various cultivars with other coloring on the leaves. Some popular colors for this read leaves plant include cream, orange, white, pink, or pale green.
14. Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
This red leaves plant is directly related to the nerve plant. Some of the cute cultivars in this category have ovate, egg-shaped leaves with bright pink or red splashes. The amount of color you’ll find on some of the leaves make the plant look like it’s 100% red. Due to the spotted patterns, you may hear polka dot plants referred to as freckle-faced plants or splash plants. Some of the red leaved versions include:
- Polka Dot ‘Carmina’ – You’ll get bright lime green leaves with irregular splashes of pink or red coloring on the majority of the leaf’s surface.
- Polka Dot ‘Confetti Blush’ – This plant has very dainty green leaves with pink or red spots that look a lot like freckles.
- Polka Dog ‘Red Splash Select’ – Ovate red leaves offer small green splotches along the central vein.
15. Radiator Plants (Peperomia)
Peperomia are very small tropical red leaves plants that have wide variations in leaf color and shape. When you first look at it, the ornamental plants only come with green leaves. However, a lot of these plants have green leaves with red undersides and red stems. A few examples of red leaves plant in this category include:
- Peperomia Caperata ‘Emerald Ripple Red’ – This very dark red peperomia plant offers reddish-purple and green leaves in a heart shape with a fun metallic texture.
- Peperomia Clusiifolia ‘Jelly’ – This very brightly colored houseplant is very leafy with obovate leaves in shades of reds, green, and cream. Due to the very colorful foliage on this plant, you may hear it called the Peperomia Tricolor.
- Peperomia Rubella – This compact, small houseplant has button-like, slightly furry green leaves with red stems and red undersides.
- Peperomia Verticillata ‘Red Log’ – This indoor plant is a very colorful choice that has vibrant red shades on the undersides of the leaves. The green and red leaves are also slightly fuzzy.
16. Red Leaf Begonias
There are thousands of begonia species that are red leaves plants that range in hues from bright crimson to dark burgundy red. The most stunning cultivars in this particular genus are rex begonias and painted begonias. Additionally, many wax begonias have very shiny red leaves with dainty white, red, or pink flowers. Some examples of red begonias include:
- Begonia ‘Omaha Beefsteak’ – This leafy, medium-sized begonia plant has very bright pinkish, red leaves with darker patches along the center.
- Begonia ‘Red Bull’ – This small-leaved, pointed red begonia has shiny, bright, metallic red leaves with dark, wavy leaf margins.
- Begonia ‘Red Kiss’ – This pretty begonia cultivar comes with bright red leaves with black-purple centers. The contrasting purple and dark red colors lend a very dramatic look to this plant.
- Begonia ‘Revelation Maroon’ – This is a trailing begonia hybrid that has shiny, deep burgundy leaves with darker green veins. This red leaves plant works wonderfully in a hanging basket.
- Begonia ‘Stained Glass’ – The beautiful Stained Glass Begonia has vibrant ruby red leaves with whitish-blue margins that contrast sharply with the deep black veins that run up the leaves.
17. Red Leaf Heliconia (Heliconia indica ‘Rubra’)
Also called the Stripe Blood Banana, this pretty Heliconia is an excellent plant that fits into a tropical garden. The graceful, long upright leaves have striking neon red veins and stems. Like most Heliconia, this plant loves humus-rich, well-drained soil with a lot of moisture. It also needs a lot of room to grow because the rhizomes can spread very fast. When you plant it in full sun, the red stripes will get more bold and radiant, and you’ll get a pretty glow-in-the-dark effect. They can also get up to 30 feet tall at full maturity.
There are dozens of succulent varieties with flesh, thick red leaves. Some succulent types have green leaves that will develop a light red blush when you put them in direct sunlight. Other succulents can have dark burgundy, red, rosy-red, or scarlet leaves. Some read leaves plants in this category, include:
- Crassula Capitella ‘Campfire’ – A colorful and compact succulent, this plant offers narrow leaves that start out green and turn orange and then red in bright, direct sunlight exposure.
- Crassula Capitella ‘Red Pagoda’ – This stunning succulent offers a tower of triangular-shaped green and red leaves. The leavers will eventually form a rosette pattern to look like a very colorful pagoda. You can successfully grow this red leaves plant in a hanging basket.
- Moon Cactus – This is a stunning grafted cactus that offers a ball-shape on top that is usually bright red, pink, yellow, or orange.
- Sedum Rubrotinctum ‘Aurora’ – A lot of the Sedum succulents offer rounded, plump green or red leaves that are very fleshy. Sedum succulents get a lot of bright sunlight, and they develop very deep crimson leaves. In lower light conditions, you’ll get a bi-colored red and green leaf.
- Sempervivum calcareum – A few succulents in this genus have orange or red leaves in a tongue shape. The succulents grow in a rosette shape, and some species offer greenish-blue leaves with red tips. Other succulents have pointed, vibrante red, fleshy leaves.
19. Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)
This is an evergreen, tall houseplant that has multi-colored green and red leaves. Depending on the sun exposure and the cultivar, the red leaves can range from dark red to bright pink. The big lanceolate leaves grow in a rosette shape, and they will give you vibrate red crowns with upward-pointed leaves that are spiky. You may hear this plant referred to as the Hawaiian Good Luck Plant, Cabbage Tree, or Cordyline. Some red leaves plants include:
- Cordyline Fruticosa ‘Firebrand’ – A red-leaved, tall, tropical plant with green and dark red leaves.
- Cordyline Fruticosa ‘Lilinoe’ – A great landscape plant, this tall red leaves plant works well in full sun locations.
- Cordyline Fruticosa ‘Rubra’ – This is a broad-leafed plant that has deep scarlet, red leaves with very dark green tinges along the edges.
20. Tropical Smoke Bush (Euphorbia cotinifolia)
Also known as Caribbean Copper Plant or Red Spurge, this red leaves plant is native to South America, and it can get between 20 and 30 feet high. The oval-shaped, smooth leaves are vibrant red when they first come out. They will eventually mature to a purplish, smoy blue color. When you grow it in the full shade, the leaves will swap to a copperish green color.
This low-maintenance plant likes humid, warm climates, and it’s tolerant of drought. It offers smaller yellow flowers with leaves that swap to greenish copper. You can propagate this plant from a cutting, and the stems come with a milky sap that can cause irritation if you touch it. It will top out at 30 feet high under the correct growing conditions.
21. Wandering Jew (Tradescantia)
This is a genus of perennial plants with ovate-oblong leaves or colorful lanceolate. There are 75 species of Tradescantia that make easy indoor plants to grow and maintain, and they offer reddish-tinted leaves. Some plants have stripes while others are a simple purplish-red. Due to the trailing, long stems and pretty leafy foliage, a lot of plants in this genus are great for hanging baskets. Along with Wandering Jew, you may also hear this plant called Spider-Lily, Spiderwort, Flowering Inch Plant, and Oyster Plants. A few red leaves plants include:
- Inch Plant ‘Quadricolor’ – This is a four-colored silver plant that offers lance-shaped leaves with dark reddish-purple stripes on green leaves. The stripes are on the upper sides while the dark maroon color is on the undersides.
- Moses-in-the-Cradle – Also called Boat Lily, this red leaves plant has pointed leaves in a purplish-red coloring.
- Tradescantia ‘Cool Leaf’ – This plant has bigger leaves in a reddish-pink coloring that grow on woody stems.
- Wandering Jew ‘Red’ – The greenish-red leaves on this inch plant comes with stripes on the upper side. When you look under the leaves, they’re a deep burgundy red coloring.
These 21 stunning red leaves plants are easy to grow indoors or out. You can also mix and match them in your room to add a hint of brightness to your decor. Many of them are very low-maintenance and resistant to drought, and they come in trailing and upright growing habits.
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.