Red flowers are gorgeous, and really stand out in any garden. If you’re looking to add dramatic pops of color to your flower beds, then this list of 21 of the best red blooming perennials and annual plants is for you!
Have you ever noticed how red flowers always seem to get the most attention in the garden? I mean, even a single red blossom in a bed full of other plants draws the eye right to it.
It’s kind of… fascinating. I know one thing for sure – as far as flowers go, this is definitely one of my favorites, and I work to add it into my gardens as much as I can.
In the list below, you’ll find my top choices for some of the best red blooming plants for any climate. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list, but should give you lots of ideas to get you started.
What Is It About Red Flowers In The Garden?
One of the main reasons it stands out so much in the garden is that red and green are complementary colors, which creates the strongest contrast.
That’s why any red flowering plant naturally adds an amazing amount of pop in the garden, and really commands attention.
You could create an entire color theme garden using nothing but the flowers in the list below, and it would be spectacular.
Another benefit of planting as many red flowers as possible is that the hummingbirds love them. It’s is their favorite color.
21 Of The Best Red Flowers For Your Garden
This list should give you a great idea of what types of red flowers are available, and what might work best in your garden.
I have tried to include both red annuals and perennials that will grow in a variety of zones and conditions so you can find what works best for your climate.
1. Salvia – Commonly sold as an annual plant that anyone can grow, salvia is actually a tropical perennial that does well in full sun or part shade in zones 10-11. The tall, red spikes grow 24-36″, and hummingbirds love them.
2. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) – Another gorgeous perennial with spiky tall red blooms. These flowers grow best in zones 2-9, in sun to part shade. They do well in damper areas of your yard, and the hummingbirds will be sure to find them too.
3. Poppies – Some types of poppies are red perennials with delicate, papery thin blooms that will be approximately 18-48” high. They thrive in zones 3-9 in the sun to part shade. They are also commonly used as annual plants.
4. Azalea (Rhododendron) – These perennial shrubs grow best in acidic soil. Azaleas are perfect for sun through shade in zones 4-8 . I especially love the contrast of the bright red blossoms against the glossy, dark green foliage.
5. Rudbeckia – Even though it’s a hardy perennial in zone 5-9, rudbeckia can be grown as an annual in the sun to part shade. The dark red blooms on some species are especially stunning.
6. Lilies – The tall flower spikes of lilies stand high above the rest. Though they are perennials, their hardiness can vary by species. But, no matter what climate you live in, there’s some type that will perform well in your garden. You can find both asiatic and daylily flowers in shades of red.
7. Weigela – A perennial shrub that does well anywhere from sun to shade for zones 4-9 at a height of 36-48”. I have ‘Red Prince’ weigela in my garden, and it’s covered with cute little flowers in early summer that really pop against the light green leaves in its full shade location.
8. Astilbe – Unique perennials that grow 18-24” high in zones 4-8. Astilbe does well in direct sun to part shade, depending on the cultivar you choose. The fragrant, large, feathery plumes in scarlet and dark red are fantastic for pots or in the garden.
9. Dragons blood stonecrop – This perennial ground cover is perfect for zones 4-9. It does well in sun to part shade, however it won’t flower as prolifically in the shade. Dragon’s blood stonecrop is one of my favorites because it has dark red blooms that carpet areas of my perennial gardens, and the foliage is a pretty red color as well.
10. Coneflowers (Echinacea) – These are perennial flowers in zones 2-10, but can be used as annuals. They do best in full sun and part shade, and will grow 24-48” high. You can find some very cool looking coneflowers these days. My current favorite is ‘Hot Papaya’ double, however there are some single coneflowers available that also come in shades of red.
11. Coral honeysuckle – If you’re looking for a hummingbird magnet, then the fragrant red blooms of the coral honeysuckle are what you need. This gorgeous climbing perennial vine does well in sun to part shade, and grows 12-15ft tall in zones 5-10. It would look amazing growing over an arbor or garden arch.
12. Hibiscus – Most hibiscus are tropical plants for zones 9 and up, but you can find hardy varieties that can survive down to zone 4. These are perennial plants, but many are grown as annuals, and the bloom sizes range from fairly small to huge flowers.
13. Yarrow – This is another perennial that can be grown as an annual. It is both drought and deer resistant. Yarrow does well in full sun or partial shade, in zones 3-9, and will be 18-24” high with spiky blooms and wispy green foliage. I have one called ‘Paprika’ in my garden, and it really is a stunner.
14. Roses – You can’t have a list of red flowers without including roses, they are a classic garden staple. These perennial shrubs have tons of different cultivars, and their hardiness will depend upon the variety that you choose.
15. Clematis – These versatile perennial vines will grow anywhere from sun to shade and range from zones 4-6, depending on the variety. Clematis are climbers that can cover a trellis quickly, making a wonderful backdrop to any area. Imagine a trellis in the back of your garden covered in this lovely plant with red flowers. Sounds pretty amazing right?
16. Bee balm (Monarda) – This perennial herb does well in sun and part shade in zones 4-9, and will be approximately 36-48” high. Bee balm is appropriately named because the blooms are bee magnets, plus they attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It can be used to make teas, salves, infused vinegar, and other recipes.
17. Lychnis – This perennial will grow 6-12” high in the full sun of zones 3-10. I have one in my garden called Lychnis arkwrightii or ‘Orange Gnome’. It has brilliant red blossoms that practically glow against the contrasting green leaves. Even though it is named ‘Orange Gnome’, the flowers are very bright red.
18. Tulips – There are tons of different species of tulips, and they grow well in sun to part shade. These perennial bulbs will be anywhere for 4-28” high, depending on the variety. No matter where you live, you can find a cultivar that will thrive in your garden. Adding red spring blooming flowers means that you will get to enjoy this beautiful color even earlier in the season.
19. Nasturtium – This trailing plant is approximately 6-12” high. Nasturtium is typically grown as an annual, but they are tender perennials in zones 10-11. The edible blossoms have a spicy flavor that is great in salads, soups, and other dishes.
20. Sedums & succulents – There are many varieties of sedums and succulents, with different shapes and sizes. Some feature red blossoms, while others have red foliage. The ‘Red Cauli’ sedum in my garden is a tall variety that has stunning flowers, and gorgeous foliage even when it is not in bloom. Hardiness of these plants will depend on species.
21. Geranium – Commonly sold as annual plants, geraniums are actually a tender, yet hardy, perennial in zones 9-10. They grow 12-18” high in the full sun. This classic red flower is very popular, and the contrast between the vibrant blooms and the green leaves is a striking combination. They attract bees and butterflies, and do well in both containers and the ground.
Red flowers are great for making your whole garden pop with color. Blending these red blooming perennials and annual plants with the other colors will leave you with a stunning visual effect that you will enjoy seeing all season long.
- The Flower Gardener’s Bible
- Annuals, Perennials, and Bulbs: 377 Flower Varieties for a Vibrant Garden
- The Perennial Matchmaker
- Annuals and Perennials: A Gardener’s Encyclopedia
- Perennial Combinations
More Posts About Flower Gardening
- 21 Of The Best Yellow Flowers (Annuals & Perennials)
- Perennials Made Easy! How To Create Amazing Gardens
- Partial Shade Shrubs For Your Garden
- 15 Colorful Plants for Shade Gardens
Which of your favorite red flowers (perennials or annuals) would you add to this list?