The Power of Red: Roses and Other Great Red Flowers for Your Garden

When planning a garden, you want it to be as vibrant as possible, so it’s essential to choose a mix of bright and neutral colors. One of the first bright options gardeners often consider is red, as well they should. Red represents passion, excitement, love, and vitality. It more than any other color is sure to make a garden pop. Let’s look at a few red flower options.



When most people say “red” in connection to flowers, “roses” is the first word that comes to mind. Roses have a long, illustrious, 35 million-year history. Over the centuries, they’ve been singled out as symbols of undying passion and the ultimate, perfect love. They’re also prized for their perfume and medicinal uses, particularly in rose hip teas or lotions. Roses have been known to help with insomnia, depression, headaches, and other ailments. With their layered appearance and intoxicating fragrance, they charm almost anyone. However, some gardeners think they’re too popular or clichéd. If you want to get more creative, here are some other red flower options.


Zinnias are listed as one of the longest-lasting flowers available on several gardening sites. With frequent water changes, they can last nearly a month in a vase or pot. They come in various colors besides red, but red is the real standout among them. Zinnias adapt well to heat, especially in drier states such as Arizona, New Mexico, and other parts of the Southwest. They come in almost all sizes from dwarf to tall and in many forms, including cactus and spider. Plant them near marigolds for the best contrast.


Celosia is a lesser-known reddish orange cluster plant that pops against dark green leaves. If you love dried flowers or making flower crafts, celosia will be your best friend. They hold up well air-dried and microwave-dried. They will thrive in the garden all summer if you prefer not to cut them, and are especially attractive to those who love sunset colors. The “twisted spire” appearance of the crested celosia can help give your garden a meditative feel. Caution: protect these beauties against spider mites.

Tuberous Begonias

Tuberous begonias are rather fussy. For example, they rot easily, so you must be vigilant about how much water they get and when. However, if you’re willing to put the extra work in you will be rewarded with gorgeous red double blooms. If you live in colder climates, save the tubers during the winter and tuck your begonias beneath sturdy coverings or shelters.


Despite their reputation, poinsettias aren’t only for Christmas. With the right temperatures and care, they can grace your garden at other times, as well. If you purchase one at Christmas, here’s a quick primer on preservation and growth:

  • Start separating cuttings in July or August. They should be no more than 3-4 inches.
  • Insert the cuttings into sterile pots containing soil of half sand and half peat moss. Keep them shaded and watered for 3 weeks or so while they put down roots.
  • After the rooting period, place poinsettias in your garden in large pots containing soil of equal parts sand, perlite, and peat moss. Water them well, but not excessively.
  • Keep temperatures around your poinsettias between 65-70 degrees. Do not let their soil dry out.

Poinsettias require much extra effort but are well worth it. These are not for novice gardeners, however. Consult a nursery professional before your first try at cultivation, and consider using a greenhouse.


Photo Credit:

Photographer GLady offered the photograph of Red Zinnias under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer werner22brigitte offered the photograph of Red Celosia under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer Hans Braxmeier offered the photograph of Red Begonia under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer cbaquiran offered the photograph of Poinsettas under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photography Studio Rachel C. Photography offered the photograph of Red Flowers under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay