Flower Garden: Painting the Garden Red

Is your flower garden looking a bit boring? Draw attention to your garden by adding beautiful, red-flowering plants.

Add red poppies to your flower garden

Red Poppies

When you walk through a garden, what color immediately draws your attention?  For many people, the answer would be the color red.

You may have never thought of why the color red captures your attention, but there are reasons why our eyes are drawn to this vibrant color.  Here are just a few…

– The color red is the most visible color in daylight.

– When people are asked what their favorite color is – red is ranked in the top two.

– Red is used to symbolize love, passion and power.


William Shakespeare David Austin Shrub Rose

There are two types of red – one has a yellow base and is known as a ‘tomato red’ – the red poppies are an example of this type of red color).  The other type is called ‘berry red’, which has a blue base, like the rose, above.


Red Nasturtium ‘Cherry Red Jewel’

Gardeners have long used red-flowering plants to attract attention to their flower garden.  The reason for this is that our attention is naturally captured by the color red.  Think of all the things in our everyday life that are red – fire trucks, stop lights and signs or that red dress that says “Look at me”.   The same principle applies to our gardens.  Adding red-flowering plants are a great way to show off the beauty of a garden.

Salvia microphylla 'Lipstick'

Salvia microphylla ‘Lipstick’

When using red in the garden, it is best to use it sparingly.  I like to use small groupings of red-flowering plants because too much red can overwhelm the eye visually.  For example, have you ever been in a room painted entirely in red?  I rest my case.

The color red look great next to white-flowering plants, which help keep the red from becoming overwhelming while highlighting the color contrast.  Using plants with silver foliage with its cool tones, help to tone down the warm tones of red flowering plants.  For a vibrant pairing – try planting red and blue or yellow-flowering plants together.

An easy way to add red to an established garden is to fill containers with red-flowering plants such as geraniums, petunias or vinca.

Valentine Shrub (Eremophila maculata 'Valentine')

Valentine Shrub (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’)

If you feel that your garden is looking a bit boring, add some red-flowering plants.  There are countless flowering plants that can be found in red colors – azaleas, cardinal flower, celosia, day lilies, gladiolas, penstemon, peonies, poppies, roses, autumn sage, snapdragons, etc.  Whichever red flowers you add, your garden will be certain to become the center of attention in your neighborhood.

Want some more ideas of red-flowering plants to add to your garden that will also attract the attention of hummingbirds?  Check out our article, “Top 10 Red Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds”.

  1. Roger Kneeland says

    We live in Los Alamitos California and attract hummingbirds with plants different from your top ten list. Fuschia, especially the landscape or sun variaty. Cigar plant is great, but my number one plant is russelia, or firecracker plant..
    These three plants are all very hardy in our climate, and grow back well after their anual trimming.

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