15 Houseplants with Red Leaves

  • By: SFUAA
  • Date: May 22, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

When you’re looking for a houseplant, why settle for another boring plant with green leaves?

These dime-a-dozen plants are totally overrated.

Instead, why not choose a plant with red leaves instead? A red houseplant is sure to spice up whatever area you add it to while still adding life to your home.

Here are some of my favorite houseplants with red leaves.

Coleus

Red Coleus Plants | Photo 155222469 © Polina Panna | Dreamstime.com

Coleus is a plant that is known for its colorful leaves. Coleus plants are typically grown as annuals in cold climates, but can also be grown as perennials in warmer climates that don’t get cold winters. The leaves of a Coleus plant are typically a bright green, but can also be a variety of other colors, such as red, yellow, orange, or purple.

Coleus is probably one of the best choices for a plant with red leaves, because coleus doesn’t do these vaguely red leaves that you’ll find on some other plants. When coleus leaves are red, they’re red.

Fittonia

Fittonia | Photo 135381680 © Olha Kryvosheieva | Dreamstime.com

Fittonia is another good choice if you want leaves with red in them. While not completely red, fittonia has earned its name as the nerve plant by having red veins that branch out across the leaves like a diagram of nerves going out across a body.

Polka Dot Plant

Polka Dot Plant | Photo 120146558 © Anastasi21 | Dreamstime.com

Similar to fittonia, the polka dot plant has dark green leaves with polka dots in various colors – including a nice deep red – scattered out across the leaves. In some cases, the polka dots can be so densely scattered that the leaf is more red than green.

Polka dot plant leaves also come in other colors, such as pink and white.

Corydline Australis ‘Red Star’

IMG 20170409 182428
Cordyline ‘Red Star’ (Spiky Plant on Left) next to Red Celosia (Bright Red Plant Center-Right) | Source: My Garden | CC-BY-4.0

Another plant with pure red leaves is cordyline australis ‘red star’. This is an excellent looking spiky plant similar to dracaena. While it can get up to 20′ tall in the wild, when grown indoors it seldomly gets that big.

Oxalis Triangularis

Oxalis Triangularis AKA False Shamrock | Photo 40518877 © Psstockfoto | Dreamstime.com

Oxalis triangularis, also called false shamrock, is a perennial plant that is fairly popular as a houseplant. The plant has triangular leaves that are grouped three to a stem and are a dark red color. (Though there is a green variety as well.)

If grown in high enough light, it will produce small white or pink flowers during summer and autumn. Every several years it will go dormant during the summer and look like it has died. Don’t worry, though, as it should come back to life as long as it was healthy beforehand.

Croton

Different Colors of Croton Plants | Photo 208446051 © William Perry | Dreamstime.com

Another popular houseplant is the croton, which is a small bush that has brightly colored leaves which can be a combination of red, black, orange, yellow, and green. Depending on which variety you get, the leaves can either be large and somewhat oval shaped or long and thin or anything in between.

This plant doesn’t like to be transplanted or moved much, however, so be prepared for it to drop its leaves if you upset it. With proper care, it will regrow its leaves and return to its happy, colorful self.

Begonia Rex

Begonia Rex | Photo 168825925 © Psartdesignstudio | Dreamstime.com

Begonia rex comes in a variety of colors, including combinations of silver and purple, dark red and green, or a pure vibrant reddish-orange color. This is a generally easy to care for plant that likes a lot of light but not direct sun.

Begonia rex is also commonly available at garden centers, so it should be easy to find – though if you want a certain color you may have to look online.

Cryptbergia ‘Red Burst’

Cryptbergia ‘Red Burst’ Surrounded by Cryptanthus ‘Earth Star’ and other Bromeliads | Photo 225354431 © Montree Nanta | Dreamstime.com

Cryptbergia ‘Red Burst’ is a hybrid bromeliad that has a lot more color than the normal fare you find at your garden center.

This plant has dark red spiky leaves in a star-like arrangement. Like other bromeliads, cryptbergia ‘red burst’ is pretty easy to take care of and likes a lot of light.

Poinsettia

Red & White Poinsettias | Photo 28298301 © Volgariver | Dreamstime.com

Probably the most popular winter houseplant, poinsettias have beautiful red leaves on the top half of the plant with green leaves on the bottom half. You can get these plants pretty much everywhere from garden centers to grocery stores during the winter season, and they definitely add a splash of color to your house.

If you have a bit of patience, you can actually keep these plants as perennials. They need a dormancy period after the winter season, and they will start growing again during the summer.

In october, however, you need to provide them complete darkness for 12 hours per day. Not “in a dark room” darkness but “put them in a box and completely seal it shut” darkness. After a while, they’ll be back to their normal colorful selves.

Cordyline Fruticosa ‘Ti Plant’

Cordyline Ti Plant | Photo 19799407 © Minpin | Dreamstime.com

Cordyline Fruticosi is a beautiful and colorful cordyline. It can grow to be up to 10 feet tall (but typically stays smaller indoors), and has long, spindly branches that are covered in large, red leaves. The flowers on this plant are also quite colorful, with shades of yellow, orange, and red.

Aglaonema

Red Aglaonema | Photo 130890686 © Chansom Pantip | Dreamstime.com

Aglaonema is a houseplant that is native to Asia. It is a multi-colored perennial that typically grows to between one and two feet in height, and can be found in a variety of colors including green, yellow, and red. The leaves of the aglaonema plant are typically triangular in shape, and the plant typically produces white flowers in the springtime.

Iresine Herbstii

Iresine Herbstii AKA Herbst’s Bloodleaf | Photo 148241313 © Apartura | Dreamstime.com

Iresine Herbstii, also known as Herbst’s Bloodleaf, is an beautiful red plant that can grow to 5′ outdoors but typically only reaches 18″ tall when grown indoors. It’s a short-lived perennial, so it is typically grown as an annual for the color it provides.

Iresine needs bright light to keep it from getting leggy indoors. If you can provide it a grow light or a bright window that would be ideal.

Caladium

Caladium ‘Brandywine’ | Photo 73834667 © Ann Wetzel | Dreamstime.com

Caladiums come in a variety of colors, and typically get between 12-30″ tall depending on the variety. They are most commonly grown from bulbs and are hardy, easy to care for plants that make great houseplants.

Some of my favorite varieties include:

  • Fiesta, which has white leaves with crimson in the center that branches out through the leaves.
  • Brandywine, which depending on the plant can have green leaves with a splash of red or deep red leaves with a small amount of green around the edges.
  • Florida Sweetheart, which has pink leaves with crimson veins running through it.

Heuchera

Heuchera ‘Autumn Leaves’ | Photo 197211947 © Anna Kazantseva | Dreamstime.com

Heuchera is a genus of plants that come in a variety of great looking colors. Some of the most popular varieties include the blue-eyed heuchera, the purple heuchera shanghai, and the rosy red heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’. All of these plants are easy to grow and are perfect for any garden.

For red leaves, however, you can’t go wrong with Heuchera ‘Forever Red’. Once you grow one, you’ll be wanting to collect all of the colors. It’s really a great plant

Copperleaf Plant

Copperleaf | Photo 59995652 © Joloei | Dreamstime.com

Commonly grown outdoors as a landscaping plant in south florida and other warm regions of the country, the copperleaf plant also makes a great indoor plant with proper care.

As its name suggests, this plant have leaves that are a vibrant reddish-orange color and will make an excellent addition to your house or patio.

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