Red Leaf Plants — Making A Statement With Red Leaves

Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

Are you a plant collector with a range of indoor plants with different shades of dark green leaves and want to spice things up a bit?

Add something different from the usual plants with dark green foliage? Then stay tuned.

Today we shall be discussing a range of bright and beautiful red-colored indoor plants ranging from easy to care for shrubs to expert level shrubs.

Providing you with information about the prettiest and most interesting plants with red leaves along with a basic care guide with tips on soil, watering, lighting and fertilizing requirements of these house plants.

Adding any of these breathtaking varieties to your indoor plant collection, is a great way to add a spruce of color to your home, creating a great color contrast of red and green. Plants with red leaves will certainly create a bright and eye-catching ornament for any room or dull corner.

There are some interesting aspects to house plants with red leaves. One of them is the meaning or symbolism behind a plant that carries the color red.

Continue on to find out more about that before we start discussing actual red leaf plant varieties.

Meaning Of Red Plants

When we see the color red appearing on flowers, plants or life in general, it is said to represent romance, passion or love. The color red may also symbolize stronger emotions such as anger.

Looking at it from a biological aspect — red that runs through veins — the color can even represent sacrifice or blood.

Some varieties of plants with red leaves have individual symbolic meanings. These include, but are not limited to, good luck, hospitality and cheerfulness.

Choosing Red Plants

Picking indoor plants with colorful foliage is not always an easy task as there are so many great varieties. There are a few things that you could consider though, which might make your choice a little easier.

The plants’ toxicity, for example. If you have a family with inquisitive small children and pets running around the house, a plant with toxic characteristics might not be the one for you, no matter how beautiful its fiery red leaves are.

Next, you should consider the condition of your home’s environment. Evaluate environmental conditions like average indoor humidity conditions, average household temperature levels and amounts of sunlight. If you find a red plant that is suited to the environment, which you can provide, then go for it.

Why Red?

Colorful foliage, specifically red leaves, is commonly caused due to a specific pigment found in the plants leaves. This pigment is known as anthocyanin and has the property of absorbing light into and through the cell structure of the plant’s foliage.

This light absorption through the cells creates a variety of red colored shades on the plant’s leaves.

Coleus Plants

The genus coleus consists of a family of plants with colorful foliage. One is called the red flash. They carry the color red on their leaves. These ornamental tropical houseplants are evergreen perennials with brightly colored red ovate leaves with jagged leaf edges.

Coleus cultivars are relatively easy to take care of, making them low-maintenance houseplants. Their leaves develop in a variety of colors including deep burgundy and green, magenta pink, orange or lime green with red margins.They can grow upright or in a trailing manner and look lovely when grown in hanging baskets.

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One red leaf coleus variety is called the Solenostemon redhead. Read on to learn more about this intriguing shrub.

  • Solenostemon Redhead — Coleus ‘Redhead’

This beautiful bushy plant is a coleus houseplant cultivar which has thick masses of dark red leaves. They can be grown outdoors or indoors.

The dark shades of red leaves carry an ovate shape, and they maintain their red color in full shade, partial sunlight, as well as areas of full sun. But be careful of too much direct sunlight, this may cause their amazing red color to fade over time.

Poinsettia Plants — Euphorbia Pulcherrima

This lovely plant is quite a popular one found in many households, usually during the festive season, Christmas, making it a classic winter season plant.

Their bright shade of scarlet red leaves — which resemble red flowers — make for a lovely decorative piece during this time of the year.

These popular house plants actually have modified leaves called bracts. These bright red leaves commonly begin to grow during the shorter days of winter.

If you want your poinsettia to grow and flower during other seasons of the year, simply place it in an area of low light.

These cute plants are the perfect indoor plant, great for shelves or desk tops as they only grow to a height of 12-24 inches and they are drought tolerant.

Keep these ornamental plants in the ideal temperature range of 65-70 °F, with high humidity levels and lots of bright light, and they will thrive, brightening up your mood instantly with their amazing bright red leaves.

Water the E. pulcherrima when the top inch of soil dries. Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering. The potting mix used should be organic and well drained.

Pruning this red beauty back after the flowering phase is great for new growth. Or else your red plant will start to look leggy. Pruning can be done around April.

Feed the plant some liquid fertilizer to give the plant extra minerals, focusing especially on calcium. Only use it during the growing phase.

Bromeliads — Bromeliaceae

This is a tropical houseplant species which thrives well in areas of high humidity, making them the perfect plant for any bathroom. This red plant, too, has modified leaves called bracts. Its central rosette of sturdy leaves is long-lasting and carries a thick leathery texture. 

Bromeliads are typically low-maintenance house plants. But one thing to remember is to keep them away from direct sunlight. The intense UV rays of direct sun will scorch its beautiful red leathery leaves, indirect sunlight is best.

Anthurium Indoor Plants

Anthurium plants — which are native to South America — also have attractive shades of red leaves that are modified — namely bracts.

These bracts are shiny bright red waxy leaves with a cream-colored or yellow flower. These red leaf-like bracts are seen as either lance-shaped or heart-shaped.

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Anthuriums grow and thrive best when placed in a spot of bright but indirect sunlight. They are also easily divided when they outgrow their pot.

Continue on to learn about two noteworthy anthurium plants with red leaves..

  • Flamingo Lily — Anthurium Andraeanum

The flamingo lily — or flamingo flower — is the most common anthurium cultivar. It is a colorful houseplant with beautiful waxy, lipstick red foliage. They carry heart-shaped leaves with a yellow-white spadix emerging from its center.

  • Pigtail Plant — Anthurium Scherzerianum

This is an exotic indoor plant with a tropical nature. This shrub has red foliage with beautiful shades of orangey-red waxy leaves that curl at the edge, resembling a pigtail — hence the name pigtail plant.

Hawaiian Ti Plants — Cordyline Fruticosa

The Hawaiian ti plant is a brightly-colored plant with red foliage and one of mother nature’s prettiest creations. This amazing red plant carries deep shades of burgundy leaves infused with colors of bright pink and red.

Pot the cordyline in a white pot to create a lovely and eye-catching contrast between its deep red leaves and the porcelain pot.

The cordyline is not a fussy one and easy to grow and looks great in a living room or even on a balcony. Its ease of care makes for great beginner plants.

In order for this shrub to reach full bloom, place it away from direct light. It will thrive in partial shade with indirect light.

Plant it in a well draining potting mix and keep the soil moist. African violet potting mix is great to use. The Hawaiian cordyline ti plant enjoys high humidity levels and warm temperature levels ranging from 60-80 °F.

Adding liquid fertilizer is usually not necessary, but mixing some into the soil during the summer does not hurt. It could in fact be beneficial to the healthy growth of this red plant.

Red Leaf Begonia

One can find plenty of begonia plants with red leaves ranging in leaf colors of bright crimson red to deeper shades of burgundy red. All of them would make for great focal points in any indoor space. Brightening it up with their wonderful red leaves.

Some examples of begonia cultivars that develop incredible red leaves:

Omaha Beefsteak Begonia 

Beefsteak plants are medium-sized leafy begonias. They grow from their stems reddish-pink leaves with dark patches seen in the center.

Red Kiss Begonia 

The red kiss begonia variegation has quite the dramatic look. Its leaves have contrasting dark red hues with deep purple centers. Along with their artistic black outline they certainly make for attention grabbers among other house plants. 

Begonia Red Bull — Begonia Rex Red Bull

The begonia Red Bull is quite a unique small-leaved plant. Its bright red foliage is pointed at the ends, making them lance-shaped leaves. 

Its shiny metallic red leaves with deep leaf margins are certainly an eye-catcher and would make for a great addition to any plant collection.

Begonia Maculata Wightii

The begonia maculata wightii has leaves that are spotted on the topside, but with a deep burgundy on the underside.

Coral Bells — Heuchera

This beauty is also known as the ‘forever red’ due to its captivating bright and deep red foliage growing from red stems. Good news, you do not have to be an experienced cultivator in order to successfully grow the heuchera, and it also makes for an excellent house plant. 

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Plant it in well-draining, slightly acidic soil and place in your area of choice. This shrub thrives best in moist soil. Dry soil should definitely be avoided.

Choose a spot of partial shade with indirect light or full bright sunlight. An east-facing window is a great choice. Add a curtain for filtered sunlight if you feel the sun exposure is too harsh.

Watering the coral bells once a week will keep them happy, although it might have to happen more frequently during the warmer summer months.

Sufficient air flow and well draining soil is important to avoid problems from arising. Keep the soil moist and avoid soggy soil in order for your coral bells to survive.

Wandering Jew — Tradescantia

Wandering Jews are perennial plants with red leaves growing in an elongated and ovate shape. Their attractive foliage and long trailing stems make them perfect hanging basket plants.

Many species of tradescantia have reddish leaves, some of which also have red stripes or a more reddish-purple leaf color.

Some examples of wandering jews which have reddish leaves:

Tradescantia Cool Leaf

This brightly-colored leafy houseplant is a large variety of the wandering jew which has dark pinkish-red leaves that emerge and grow from woody stems.

Moses-In-The-Cradle — Tradescantia Spathacea

This perennial plant is often referred to as the boat lily and has reddish-purple leaves that grow in a pointy shape.

Misting Red Leaf Tropical Plants

If your red plant is fond of high humidity levels, loads of sunlight, warm temperatures and prefers moist conditions, misting them once in a while has shown to be beneficial.

If you want to increase humidity levels, place a water-filled pebble tray underneath your plant’s saucer. A humidifier for plants is helpful as most red leaf plants enjoy humid conditions.

Repotting Red Leaf Plants

Repotting your plant too often is not good. Limit it to once or twice when you see your plant is outgrowing its pot. Disrupting your plants too often and especially when they have not settled, will be problematic. Also, choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent drowning of your plants roots.

Fertilizing Plants With Red Leaves

Yes, you can fertilize houseplants with red leaves. Choose between using organic fertilizer or chemical fertilizer and apply the fertilizer at planting. Using fertilizers from time to time is beneficial to the proper growth of your plant. Feed your plant during its growing months.

Conclusion

Even though red leaf plants with colorful leaves aren’t as common as houseplants with big green leaves, and they may be harder to find, the effort of the search is worth it.

Houseplants with red leaves are a great and unique addition to any indoor houseplant collection and its amazing bright color will definitely not disappoint.

Other plants with red leaves worth checking out:

  • Polka dot plants
  • Nerve plant
  • Chinese evergreen plant
  • Red flash plant
  • Moon cactus
  • Croton plants
  • Angel wings