Growing Green: Spice up your garden with red plantsRed is an energizing color to use in your garden palette, and your plant choices go way beyond the ubiquitous rose and geranium. Scores of plants come in countless shades of red and, well used, can create an eye-popping garden.
By: Robin Trott, U of M Extension Educator, Alexandria Echo Press
Red is an energizing color to use in your garden palette, and your plant choices go way beyond the ubiquitous rose and geranium. Scores of plants come in countless shades of red and, well used, can create an eye-popping garden.
Here are a few to consider when shopping for new plants this year:
Astilbe arendsii “fanal” or “red sentinel” – Astilbes have very shallow root systems and require part to full shade in the heat of the day. This lovely perennial (hardy to zone 4) blooms from early to mid-summer depending on variety and grows 24 inches tall. Plant in moist, well-drained soil. For added color, select a burgundy leaved variety.
Clematis “kiviruut” – This vining plant is covered with 7-inch wide deep red flowers with ruffled edges and similarly colored stamens for a unique monochromatic look. It blooms from late spring to mid-summer with stems only reaching 6 inches in height, which is perfect for the pot or patio setting.
Papaver oriental “flamenco dancer” – This full double, scarlet red poppy has large, 4-to 6-inch wide blossoms with fringed edges. It blooms from late spring to early summer. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil.
Achillea millefolium “red velvet” – This is a true red perennial cottage yarrow. Yarrow blooms throughout the summer with adequate moisture and moderate temperatures.
Hardy to zone 3, yarrow reseeds readily and prefers full sun. The long-blooming flowers of red velvet fade less than older varieties, making this one of the best reds to date. Its finely cut, fern-like foliage is deep green and is a good contrast to the flower color.
Alcea rosea “spring celebrities crimson” hollyhocks - These are 24 to 28 inch dwarf annuals. The blooms are 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide, with an outer layer of wide, flat petals topped by a ruffled, frilly center. The petals are slightly notched, creating a pleated look at the center of the flower.
Thunbergia “Serengeti” dark red – This annual vine has vibrant red blooms with dark centers that add interest to ornamental gardens. Plant supported on a trellis or as trailing plants in a container. This fast grower blooms all summer.
Bearded iris “raptor red” – An unusual true red iris, raptor red grows 36 inches tall and blooms in June. Preferring well-drained soil and full sun, iris must not be planted too deeply, or they will not bloom. Divide iris after they bloom every three years or as their center dies back.
Try some of these plants in this year’s garden, and don’t be afraid to add a little spice to your ornamental bed.
Until next time, happy gardening!
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