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5 Red Shade Perennials For Your Low Light Garden

Red shade perennials can add a striking touch of color to gardens with limited sunlight, creating an attractive contrast to the green foliage that typically dominates shady areas. These eye-catching plants not only bring life to your garden, but they are also low maintenance and able to thrive in partial shade without much fuss, making them ideal for busy gardeners.

These red-blooming perennial flowers are perfect for adding a pop of color to your partially shaded garden. While it’s hard to find red-flowering plants that thrive in full shade, many will tolerate partial or light afternoon shade.

a field of red yarrow flowers.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

1. Coral bells (Heuchera)

red coral bells flowers.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

Coral bells is a stunning plant that adds beauty and vibrancy to any garden or landscape. The leaves of this plant are heavily ruffled and form a low, mounding habit, making it an ideal choice for ground cover or border planting.

Coral Bells thrive in full sun to full shade, making them versatile and adaptable in a variety of conditions. They are hardy in zones 4-9.

Coral bells are easy to grow, low maintenance, and provide year-round color, making them a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers alike.

Here are some of my favorite varieties with red flowers or leaves:

2. Bleeding heart vine (Clerodendrum thomsoniae)

red bleeding heart flowers.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

The bleeding heart vine produces vibrant red and white heart-shaped showy flowers. This plant prefers partial to full shade and is hardy in zones 9-11, making it an excellent choice for warm and tropical climates.

It grows best in well-drained, consistently moist soil, and it benefits from regular fertilization.

There’s another bleeding heart plant that loves the shade: it’s called fern-leaf bleeding heart (Dicentra). Learn more about growing bleeding heart flowers.

3. Sea thrift (Armeria maritima)

Armeria maritima - sea thrift flowers.
By Jerzy Strzelecki – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Armeria maritima is a hardy, pink, or red perennial that prefers full sun to light shade and can withstand rough conditions such as wind and rain.

It has narrow, grass-like foliage and round, compact, fluffy flowers that bloom in early summer and attract pollinators. This low-maintenance plant can add a pop of color and interest to your yard.

4. Astilbe ‘Red Sentinel’ (Astilbe japonica)

red astilbe flowers.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

Astilbe is a hardy perennial that produces striking red flower plumes in mid to late summer. It thrives in partial to full shade and is hardy in zones 4-9.

The foliage is deep green and fern-like, and the flowers attract pollinators. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and benefits from regular watering and organic mulch.

5. Rhododendron

red rhododendron flowers.
Image credit: YAY Images.

Rhododendron is a popular shrub with clusters of flowers in a variety of colors, including pink, purple, red, white, and yellow. Depending on the variety, it grows best in partial shade to full sun and is hardy in zones 4-9.

This plant prefers well-drained soil that is acidic and rich in organic matter. It is a low-maintenance plant that can add color and texture to any landscape, especially in those sunless spots around the yard.

Plant any of these red perennials to create stunning, colorful displays in your shade garden. And if you love red, check out my post about red flowers for every season.

Plants That Look Great Mixed With Red Colored Perennials

lily of the valley flowers.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

You can create stunning garden displays by adding complementary or contrasting plants to your red-colored shade perennials.

Consider adding plants with contrasting foliage colors (silver or dark green leaves come to mind, or variegated foliage), to create visual interest. Also, mix plants that bloom at different times to help extend the color display throughout the gardening season.

Consider height variations when designing your garden, ensuring that taller plants do not overshadow or crowd the smaller ones. By carefully selecting and arranging the right combination of plants, you can create a dynamic and visually appealing garden that showcases your beautiful red-shade perennials.

Here are some colorful shade plants that pair well with red flowers:

Red shade perennial flowers offer any shady garden spot a stunning burst of color. While most plants don’t love deep shade, many enjoy a bit of shade, and some thrive in partial shade. Have fun adding some of these beautiful flowers to a shady corner of your yard, and watch them put on a show for you and your family.

11 Showy Annual Red Flowers

red zinnia flower.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Nothing catches the eye in a garden quite like a bright red flower. And while perennials certainly have their benefits, the quickest way to get these show-stopping crimson blooms into your garden is to plant annuals. To help you choose among the many plants available, here is a list of annual red flowers that will bring a pop of color to your garden.

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Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check out her books below:

How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants

How to Raise Chickens for Eggs: A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens for Nutritious, Organic Eggs at Home

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