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What’s Your Color? Red

Color is the soul of every garden and the main way in which you express your style and personality in the garden. Each color has its own impact and meaning when used in a garden. I have been slowly writing my way through the colors of the rainbow and how to use them in gardens. I have already written about chartreuse , black, white and orange.  In this article, I will cover using red in the garden.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer


Colors are generally grouped into three categories--hot colors, cool colors and neutral colors. In very simple terms, red, orange and yellow are hot colors while blue, purple and violet are cool colors.  White, black, tan and grey neutral are neutral colors as is green when we are talking plants.  After all, most foliage is green and that does very much become the background to show off the different flower colors.

Hot colors create a festive, upbeat, energetic atmosphere which makes hot colors, including red, great options to use in areas where you’ll have barbecues, kids playing and social gatherings.

Since red is a bright, eye-catching color it is also a great way to subtly focus attention on areas where it is planted.  Have a cool piece of garden art you want to highlight?  Plant red and other bright colors nearby to draw attention to that area. Hot colors will also help make distant areas feel closer and larger spaces feel cozier.

Monochrome combinations of plants use different shades of one color to create interesting, yet easy to design planters. Just choose three or more different colors of red and plant them together for gorgeous planters for your garden.  Here are a few red combinations to consider.


Fan the Flames

Prairie Fire

Romeo and Juliet

If you’d like a color scheme with a little more color contrast, yet is still easy to design, choose similar colors that will mesh well together. Red will blend particularly well with orange and yellow, which are both hot colors, just like red.  These are a few of my favorite red, orange and yellow combination planters - a color scheme that I’ve used in my garden several times.


Backyard BBQ

Patrick’s Punch

Lucky You

Red and Orange are a great color combination too.  It’s a little bit more subtle than the version that includes yellow, but it’s a great color duo. Here are a few examples to consider.


Mix it Up

Beach Bonfire

Glam Bam

Let’s look at the other side of colors that blend with red.  Red, orange and purple are a study in blending with just a pop of contrast infused from the purple. It’s not necessarily a color combo I would have tried on my own, but I love the way these colors work together.


Livin on the edge
Icelandic Volcano
Plum Obvious

Red, Purple and Violet will give red a completely different feel, cooling things down so you have red as a hot color, but the violet and purple are as cool as a drink of water.



Hot Mama

Royal Valentine

Two color combinations can be fun to play with as well. Combining red with black will give you a sophisticated, upscale look.



Midnight Romance

 Enchanted Garden

If you change the black to chartreuse you take a combination that is refined and a bit withdrawn and immediately make it eye-catching and much easier to notice.


Roll of Thunder
Abbey Road

Energy and Life

One of my favorite color mixes is red, blue and yellow – a color triad. I love the brightness and balance of this trio of colors.


Santa Belle

Starry Night

Aladdins Lamp


Red is also a mainstay for patriotic combination planters for both Canada and the US.  Here are several red and white combinations to consider:

So Sweet
Strawberry Sauce

Love Song


And now some options in red, white and blue.

Patriotic Moment

Independence Day

Patriot's Party

Rockets Red Glare

 Red is a great color to use in your garden.  It’s bright and bold and surprisingly flexible.


Want to learn more about using color in your garden? Check out these links:

Browse plants with red flowers in our plant library.

Check out container garden ideas with our recipe search.

See more plants that feature red on this Pinterest board

Learn more about color theory with this article.

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