As you grow your indoor or outdoor plant collection, you may be searching for something out of the ordinary. In that case, a red leaf plant could be that special plant you may be wanting in your life!
A red-leafed plant contains a pigment called anthocyanin which contributes to its eye-catching appearance, while green plants attribute their color to the pigment cell, chlorophyll.
Plants with red leaves are not super rare in the plant world, so you could find a dazzling plant for your landscape or a beautiful houseplant to accent your home with ease.
25 Types of Red Leaf Plants
- Burning Bush
- Peperomia verticillata
- Coral Bells
- Euphorbia cotinifolia
- Barberry Bush
- Acalypha wilkesiana
- Euphorbia pulcherrima
- Ti Plant
- Chicken Gizzard Plant
- Japanese Maples
- Pencil Cacti
- Red Ruby Aglaonema
- Smoke Trees
- Maiden Grass
- Polka Dot Plants
Coleus is a classic houseplant because it is extremely easy to propagate through stem cuttings. If you want to grow it from seed as I did, the seeds are very tiny and can sometimes be challenging to germinate.
Coleus is a very resilient and forgiving plant, likes full sun, and to dry out well in between waterings.
Description: Pictured here is merely one red color combo of Coleus, for there are numerous red variations and patterns for this plant.
Link To Buy: https://gardengoodsdirect.com/products/coleus-redhead-plants
2. Burning Bush
This beautiful plant is a commonality in the landscape due to its burning red foliage. Cold weather is what initiates the bright color that puts a pop into your landscape.
Description: This bush is deciduous and benefits from pruning when done in the fall.
Link To Buy: https://gardengoodsdirect.com/products/burning-bush-euonymus
Also known as Cock’s comb, this is a classic annual that you can find in any ornamental nursery in the spring and summer.
The most common varieties have green leaves, but the red plant is growing in popularity.
Description: This plant is also easy to propagate and does best in full sun. Trim the flower buds off if you want the plant to grow more vegetative growth before it blooms.
Link To Buy: https://parkseed.com/dragons-breath-celosia-seeds/p/51106/
Begonias are another plant that you will see everywhere, and it comes in a myriad of varieties. There are a lot of red-leafed begonias available as houseplants or to be used in the landscape.
Description: The begonia pictured here has a nice red foliage, but be careful, because begonias burn easily. Do not overhead water when it is sunny or the leaves will burn, and the plants do best in shady conditions.
Link To Buy: https://stevesleaves.com/products/begonia-venetian-red
For years, this plant came in the same color combos with nothing breath-taking being added to the market. After research and development was pursued by the University of Florida, more options became available!
Description: The red Caladium shown here is now a very popular variety that is grown in mass amounts.
Link To Buy: https://www.homedepot.com/p/PROVEN-WINNERS-4-5-in-Quart-Heart-to-Heart-Fast-Flash-Caladium-Live-Plant-in-Pink-and-Red-Foliage-CLDPRW1207800/310017210
Personally, I have always had a hard time keeping Croton alive, but it comes in the most charming colors, including red!
This plant enjoys full to part sun, a consistently moist soil, and humidity!
Description: This photo shows how large croton can get but don’t worry, you can maintain this houseplant in a 6” pot and trim it to maintain size if you don’t want it in a bigger pot.
Link To Buy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/785926043/croton-petra-codiaeum-variegatum-petra
7. Peperomia verticillata
Nowadays, Peperomia is increasing in popularity. At my work, over half of their foliage houseplants are types of Peperomia, and they grow almost one million of them!
Description: This variety is distinguished by its luscious red under leaves, which is where all the stomata, or gas exchanging cells, are located.
Link To Buy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1037842436/red-log-peperomia-verticillata-house
8. Coral Bells
This plant can easily be found at your local landscape nurseries. Its leaf texture, growth habit, and flowers are its appealing attributes.
This plant belongs to the Saxifragaceae family and thrives in part shade and aerated soil.
Description: Some coral bells will have red foliage, and they will have a raceme inflorescence (a spike with flowers attached by petioles).
Link To Buy: http://www.newgardenplants.com/productdetails.aspx
These plants can be grown as epiphytes or in soil media. They come in the most brilliant colors, including red, and like to always have their middle filled with water.
Bromeliads evolved to harbor their own water, so keeping the middle filled provides the most nutrition and water for the plant.
Description: After the color dies off, the plant will die, so be sure to harvest some of the babies at the base of the plant before that happens.
Link To Buy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/932545601/bromeliad-houseplant-dark-red-potted
Dracaenas come in many shapes and sizes and could be considered a classic houseplant. Red-edged Dracaena is what you may be looking for if you want a red leaf plant.
Description: Seeing this picture, it’s hard to imagine that scientists have discovered with DNA that this Dracaena and Sansevierias are actually in the same plant family!
Link To Buy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/893176778/dracena-marginata-colorama-dragon-tree-4
11. Euphorbia cotinifolia
If you are searching for a new bush for your landscape, this red beauty might serve you well! This plant needs full sun in order to develop red leaves and does best in well-drained soil.
Description: These leaves provide a burning red color to your landscape.
Link To Buy: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Online-Orchards-1-Gal-Royal-Purple-Smokebush-Shrub-Colorful-Plumes-Rising-Out-of-Foliage-Provide-a-Rare-and-Dramatic-Smokey-Effect-SBSB001/310230444
12. Barberry Bush
Originating in Japan, this bush is now known as a staple in landscaping. It is resistant, likes full sun, and is low maintenance.
Description: Barberry’s produce small yellow flowers in the spring.
Link To Buy: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/products/sunjoy-tangelo-barberry
13. Acalypha wilkesiana
As far as landscape shrubs, this is yet another on the list that displays beautiful red foliage.
Description: These plants need full sun in order to develop color and can be easy to overwater.
Link To Buy: https://www.ecrater.com/p/38994668/copper-leafs-acalypha-wilkesiana-red
14. Euphorbia pulcherrima
This holiday favorite sports the most magnificent, modified leaves. They can be very picky plants, but generally thrive in a consistent room temperature and indirect sun.
Description: The process from stem cutting to the final product like seen here can be very tricky because of how particular the plants are.
Link To Buy: https://www.sendflowers.com/product/the_ftd_red_poinsettia_basket_small.htm
This plant attracts many types of bees because of its flower anatomy. Not only can varieties come with red foliage, but this shrub also has an interesting bark color and texture.
Description: Ninebark can be weather resistant and helps with soil erosion.
Link To Buy: https://www.thetreecenter.com/center-glow-ninebark/
16. Ti Plant
This plant is in the asparagus family and is known widely as a houseplant and in the right conditions, an excellent landscape plant.
Description: The Ti plant is known for its brilliant leaf color as shown here
Link To Buy: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hawaiian-Red-Ti-Plant-Logs-2-Logs-1-Pack/496905095
17. Chicken Gizzard Plant
This plant is called the Chicken Gizzard Plant because of its leaves’ resemblance to the chicken’s anatomy.
Description: The vivid leaves on this plant thrive when the plant is receiving consistent moisture, but not soaking wet soil.
Link To Buy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/997780229/iresine-herbstii-blood-leaf-tropical
This landscape plant is widely known as a persistent ground cover. It comes in countless varieties, one of them sprouting dark red to purple leaves with an eye-catching blue flower.
Description: Bugleweed is in the mint family and enjoy shady areas.
Link To Buy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/877465839/ajuga-bugleweed-burgundy-glow-live-plant
19. Japanese Maples
Japanese maple trees can be found at any landscape nursery and are purely known for their shocking red foliage.
Description: This plant enjoys full sun and does not like clay soil.
Link To Buy: https://oldhousetrees.com/buy/trees/japanese-red-maple/
20. Pencil Cacti
This interesting houseplant is a tree in its native habitat and can produce a toxic latex substance that can cause serious injury.
Description: The tips of the pencil cactus plant can bring brightness to any room.
Link To Buy: https://urbantropicals.com/product/euphorbia-tirucallii-fire-sticks-cactus-euphorbiaceae/
21. Red Ruby Aglaonema
Aglaonemas like to dry out a lot in between waterings and do best in well-drained soil.
Description: As seen here, this red plant could be sensational as a foliage centerpiece.
Link To Buy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/821385090/a-bright-siam-aurora-aglaonema-plant-in
These epiphytes can come in a handful of different colors, including red! Cryptanthus like moist, humid conditions.
Description: Cryptanthus have prickly edges so you might want to be cautious when handling them.
Link To Buy: https://www.thebiodude.com/products/3-pot-cryptanthus-earth-star-dudes-choice
23. Smoke Trees
This fast-growing plant brings blazing red foliage to the landscape and is usually used to outline property.
Description: Some varieties have year-long red to purple foliage, and then bloom in the summertime.
Link To Buy: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Spring-Hill-Nurseries-Royal-Purple-Smoketree-Cotinus-Shrub-Grown-in-a-2-25-Gallon-Pot-1-Pack/5005386271
24. Maiden Grass
Maiden Grass is resilient, and this particular variety has flaming red foliage.
Description: This ornamental grass enjoys full sun and is drought tolerant.
Link To Buy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/463834969/30-miscanthus-flame-grass-ornamental
25. Polka Dot Plants
If you are looking for a beautiful, red foliage plant for your home, this plant could be that missing piece to your houseplant collection.
Description: Polka dot plants like indirect light and consistent fertilizer during the growing season.
Link To Buy: https://usagardencenter.com/products/25-seeds-pack-hypoestes-polka-dot-plant-splash-red-flower-seeds-shade-loving-garden-decoration-bonsai-flower-seeds