Heat Up Your Garden With Reds

Heat Up Your Garden

If you're looking for a way to perk up your boring yard, then think color.

Want to add zing and boldness? How about a garden themed with hot colors- dynamic, vibrant reds, bright oranges and sunny yellows?

Poppy Field
Poppy Field

Go for the Reds

Pure primary red sends out the message: "Stop! Look at me!", and this can work well in containers at the entrance to your house or yard. This pure clean red can be overpowering, so complement it with greenery or harmonize it with dark blue-violet shades. Pure red also works well with its hot harmonies of oranges and orange-yellows.


Choose Carefully

Reds come in many faces, and they don't all work well together. Cool reds contain some blue, and these reds look well paired with deep blues and violets, or the opposite color, yellow-green. Warm reds have a touch of yellow, and these are the most harmonic with warm yellows and oranges of similar intensity. Warm and cool reds, however are incompatible, and will clash if used together.

Early Spring Zing

Red Tulips - Some of Spring's First Color
Red Tulips - Some of Spring's First Color

Year Round Colour

For the first spring color, plant a bed or a container with rich red tulips, accented with some yellow or purple ones. Primulas are another early spring flower, and shades from pure white through yellows, hot pink, red and purples line nursery shelves, waiting to add color and zip to planters, window boxes and borders.

Add color year round with annuals, try zinnias - wonderful planted alongside some coleus with its dark red leaves. Nastursiums come in a variety of warm reds and oranges, and look great if you've got a few yellow ones in the mix. They stand out, demanding attention, in their nest of rich green leaves. Bright marigolds, with their red-orange will liven up any yard, and need some contrasting deep green foliage to set them off. And how about planting some sunflower seeds in a sunny back corner - the red and bronze blossoms will tower above everything attracting bees.


Annual Color

Vivid hot Nastursiums
Vivid hot Nastursiums

Big Red - Sunflowers

Sunflowers come in all sizes and colors,small to towering, from pale yellow to deep bronze.
Sunflowers come in all sizes and colors,small to towering, from pale yellow to deep bronze.

Perennial Choices

The choice of perennials with red or hot-colored blossoms is huge, and you'll need to consider your space, soil and light conditions in making these choices. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Gaillardia are brightly colored daisy-like flowers, with a contrasting central eye. They are excellent for cutting, and very drought-tolerant. Colors vary from deep wine-red to red/yellow to solid yellow.
  • Peonies - gorgeous blowsy, fragrant, blossoms on long-lived plants, with lovely deep green foliage that looks good after the blossoms are gone.
  • Poppies are another favorite, especially the oriental poppies with coarse hairy foliage contrasting with the silky blossoms. Whether scarlet orange or pink, their blooms with the dark eye are vivid and attention-getting.
  • Another favorite is Montbretia or Crocosomia. This fast-spreading plant has tall grass-like leaves and sprays of red to orange blooms, like miniature gladioli.
  • Daylilies are another must - grassy foliage, huge blossoms in golds, yellows, oranges, reds. Hardy and care-free.
  • One last perennial I'd include is Monarda - its shaggy red blooms are a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds.


Perennial Favorite

Red Daylily
Red Daylily

The Garden's Bones - Shrubs

For color and garden structure, year after year, shrubs are the answer. Some have foliage interest, while others rely on blooms. Choose ones which bloom at different times, such as early blooming rhodos (actually, you can find rhododendron varieties that bloom almost any time), and the many varieties of roses for summer color.

Shrubs with bronze or purplish foliage will also add interest and drama to your yard. The reddish purple tones of the smoke bush (Euphorbia cotinifolia) harmonized beautifully with other green shrubs. Ninebark and barberry are two more shrubs with red toned leaves, tending to a darker purplish maroon. Several varieties of Japanese maples with red toned leaves or with leaves tending to the lighter vibrant greens will add interesting contrasts of color and texture.

Flowering Shrubs

Like its wild cousins, single roses have charm.
Like its wild cousins, single roses have charm.
This is the second rhodo to bloom in my gardens.
This is the second rhodo to bloom in my gardens.

Fall Needs Color Too

As well as flowers and foliage, add some warm tone berries and fruit, such as hollies, crab apples, mountain ash, pyracantha and cotoneaster. They will also add structure to your plantings. And don't forget the fall leaves, such as burning bush, sumac, maples and service berry.

Vibrant Autumn Color

The Final Touches of Color
The Final Touches of Color

Comments 5 comments

RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

These are beautiful. I'm hoping to do more with my garden this year and reds are in my plan.


Nolimits Nana profile image

Nolimits Nana 7 years ago from British Columbia Author

Thanks, rgraf. They're all from my gardens, and like you, I just love the reds.


dllhubpages profile image

dllhubpages 7 years ago from Southeastern US

Great pictures and hub. A gardener I know has a beautiful all red garden.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

Colour sets the mood and tone of your garden, spring needs bright reds,


Nolimits Nana profile image

Nolimits Nana 7 years ago from British Columbia Author

And it's important to make sure the colors complement, not clash!

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