Plants with red leaves

Plants with red leaves – Cercis Canadensis Forest Pansy is a beauty


Colour in the garden is not always about flowers. Great colour vistas can be achieved by creative use of differing shades of foliage. While, naturally enough, green tends to be the dominant foliage colour in most garden settings, red is a colour that is already naturally present, although sometimes in more subtle ways. Young leaves are often red, such those on rose bushes; many deciduous plants turn a vibrant red in the autumn months.  We all know from our experience of autumn colour that red adds a rich warmth as well as bringing a strong focus.

Red has the right strength of presence to meet the vibrant greens head on and still stand out against the handsome green backdrop, creating a focal point as it beckons the eye. While most of you will be familiar with old favourites such as Photinia Red Robin, let’s take a closer look at some other examples of plants with red leaves.

Berberis Thunbergii Admiration is a small, deciduous low growing shrub whose lovely red foliage turns vibrant red in autumn. Other Berberis varieties with red foliage include Berberis Thunbergii F Atropupurea Harlequin with purple-pink foliage and with red-purple leaves Berberis X Ottawensis Purpurea Superba Barberry or Berberis Thunbergii F Atropurpurea Red Chief.

For red foliage that is uniquely heart-shaped, Cercis Canadensis Forest Pansy is a beauty. Lots more information on Forest Pansy on our blog feature from a few weeks back.

Plants with red leaves - Cercis Canadensis Forest Pansy

Plants with red leaves – Cercis Canadensis Forest Pansy


Other attractive shrubs with red foliage include two varieties of smoke bush –  Cotinus Coggygria Royal Purple and Cotinus Grace.

For deep, almost chocolatey red leaf colour, take a look at Hydrangea Macrophylla Dark Angel and Physocarpus Opulifolius Diabolo.

Plants with Red Leaves - Physocarpus Opulifolius Diabolo

Physocarpus Opulifolius Diabolo in our plant centre against a backdrop of Clematis Fukuzono


Parthenocissus Quinquefolia Red Wall Troki – this is an excellent choice if you need a climbing plant with red leaves. Most of you know this as Virginia Creeper and its gorgeous red foliage needs little introduction.

And let’s not forget the Japanese Acers. There are many red acers to choose from, including the aptly named Acer Palmatum Bloodgood (pictured below) and Acer Palmatum Fireglow.

Plants with red leaves - Acer Palmatum Bloodgood

Shrubs with red foliage – Acer Palmatum Bloodgood, a most impressive redhead