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Top 10 Radiant Red Plants

The search for the elusive true red flower is over! We know the color red is widely interpreted to mean everything from dark pink to wine purple when it comes to plants. As you plan your summer holiday containers or design your landscape, use this list as a guide to finding the perfect shade of red.

Contributors: Susan Martin

 

RED FLOWERING ANNUALS

 

SUPERBELLS® Double Ruby Calibrachoa 

This exquisite double-flowered calibrachoa will add instant elegance to your patio containers, window boxes and porch baskets. From spring into fall, deep red blossoms cover the cascading stems as it spills over the edges of your containers. Since the flowers are self-cleaning, there’s no need to take the time to remove the spent blossoms to keep it blooming all season long. Calibrachoa grows best in containers with good drainage, so make sure there is at least one hole in the bottom of the one you use.

6-12” tall x 12-24” spread. Part sun to sun.

 

ROCKAPULCO® Red Impatiens

An iconic annual for shade, Rockapulco impatiens produce gorgeous double flowers which resemble roses in bud and bloom. The series includes red, orange, coral, pink, lavender and white varieties, but if you’re going for true red, choose Rockapulco Red. It grows into a perfectly rounded mound that is covered in showy, self-cleaning blossoms from spring to fall. You could grow it all on its own in a decorative container or plant a whole border of them in your shaded landscape.

10-20” tall x 12-24” spread. Part shade to shade.

INFINITY® Red New Guinea Impatiens

If bold and flashy is your style, choose Infinity Red New Guinea impatiens. Its large, radiant red flowers completely blanket the dark green foliage from spring to fall without the need to remove the spent flowers. This is a low mounding plant, so it is perfect for planting en masse or as an edging in the landscape. It also grows well in containers with companions or left to shine on its own. Infinity New Guinea impatiens need a little more sun to bloom well compared to Rockapulco impatiens, so keep this in mind when deciding where to grow them.

10-14” tall x 6-12” spread. Part shade to shade.

 

TIMELESS Fire Pelargonium (Geranium)

Sometimes it’s hard to beat a classic. A large pot of red geraniums is always stunning, and Timeless Fire is the way to go if you’re looking for one with true red flowers. It’s unique from typical zonal geraniums as its habit is more mounded to cascading, so it makes a full, broad container that’s a showstopper in full bloom. Geraniums are heat tolerant plants and won’t mind if you forget to water them now and then, so they’ll grow beautifully on your brick patio or in window boxes up against a south-facing wall. 

12-18” tall and wide. Full sun.

 

SUPERTUNIA® Really Red Petunia

In the world of petunias, true red can be an elusive color to find, but we’ve found one worthy of the Supertunia name. Supertunia Really Red runs toe to toe with all the others in this series of exceptionally high-performance petunias, producing true red flowers from spring into fall. They’re self-cleaning, so there’s no need to take the time to remove the spent blossoms to keep it blooming all season long. This is the perfect plant to include in your patriotic container plantings for summer holidays.

6-10” tall x 8-12” spread. Full sun.

 

INTENSIA® Red Hot Phlox

You wouldn’t guess by its looks, but this fiery red phlox is an extremely heat, humidity and drought resistant annual that grows best in similar conditions as succulents thanks to its southern native roots. Its mounding foliage becomes completely blanketed in glowing true red flowers starting in early spring and continues all the way through fall without deadheading. Plant it in the sunniest spot in your landscape for an extra pop of color or grow it right along with your other patio container plants. It requires far less water than many flowering annuals, so you won’t need to worry about it wilting if you go away for the weekend. 

10-16” tall and wide. Full sun.


 RED FLOWERING PERENNIALS

 

FRUIT PUNCH® ‘Maraschino’ Dianthus (Perennial Pinks)

All-natural, but exactly the same shade of red as artificially colored maraschino cherries, this hardy perennial’s flowers absolutely glow. Hot cherry red flowers exude a sweet fragrance as they top the mounded, icy blue foliage every year in late spring and early fall. They make excellent cut flowers, so be sure to clip a few for your bud vases. Dianthus grows best in a sunny spot that has well-drained soil. It prefers to dry out a bit between waterings, so don’t plant it on your daily watering route.  

9-11” tall x 12-14” spread. Full sun to light shade. Perennial in zones 4-9.

 

SUMMERIFIC® ‘Cranberry Crush’ Hibiscus (Rose Mallow)

You may know this perennial as “dinner plate hibiscus”. With some of the largest flowers of any perennial, it’s an absolutely amazing sight when it blooms from midsummer to fall. Near-black buds open to glossy, scarlet red blossoms that measure up to 8” across—as big as a dinner plate! This is a large perennial that grows the size of a shrub, so give it plenty of room to be a focal point in your landscape and make sure it has plenty of water. In spring, cut the woody stems down to the ground and watch it re-grow an inch per day to reach its full size again quickly.

3-4’ tall x 4-5’ spread. Full sun to light shade. Perennial in zones 4-9.

 

RED FLOWERING SHRUBS

 

OSO EASY® Urban Legend® Rosa (Landscape Rose)

When trialing this plant, its flowers were so bright, so numerous and so persistent, it seemed too good to be true. But after years of observation and repeat performances, we’re convinced this landscape rose truly is worthy of the Proven Winners name. True red, semi-double flowers with a crown of lush yellow stamens in the center are produced continuously from early summer through the first hard frost every year. And since it’s resistant to both black spot and powdery mildew, you won’t need to spray its foliage to keep it healthy. If you’re looking for a showy splash of red all season, every season, look no further than Oso Easy Urban Legend!

30-40” tall and wide. Full sun. Hardy in zones 4-9.

 

SONIC BLOOM® Red Weigela

Some plants just take care of themselves, and weigela is near the top of that list. Just give it plenty of sunshine and water until its roots are established, then leave it be and let it shine. It’s perfect for foundation plantings and in landscapes at the back of the border. Sonic Bloom Red is an especially floriferous type of weigela with lipstick red flowers. Unlike most that only bloom in late spring, this cultivar blooms again and again all summer long until frost. You won’t need to deadhead or prune it to encourage those flowers to come—it naturally blooms like crazy! You’ll likely spot a hummingbird or two enjoying this shrub’s blooms on warm, sunny days.
4-5’ tall and wide. Full sun. Hardy in zones 4-8.

Want to see more red Proven Winners?

 

Patent Info: Superbells® Double Ruby Calibrachoa CanPBR4591 US UtilityUS7786342; Rockapulco® Red Impatiens walleriana USPP16626; Infinity® Red Impatiens hawkeri USPP23277; Timeless Fire Pelargonium USPP20482 CanPBR3731; Supertunia® Really Red Petunia USPP16803 CanPBR2838; Intensia® Red Hot Phlox drummondii USPPAF CanPBR5500; Fruit Punch® 'Maraschino' Dianthus USPP27882 CanPBRAF; Summerific® 'Cranberry Crush' Hibiscus USPP21984 CanPBR4254; Oso Easy® Urban Legend® Rosa USPP28395 CanPBRAF; Sonic Bloom® Red Weigela florida USPP25132 Can4716

 

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