Red Leaf Plants: Your Ultimate Guide
Leaves are one of the defining characteristics of a plant. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. However, green is the predominant color of leaves.
This is because chlorophyll, a pigment found in leaves, causes them to be mostly green.
- 1 Red Leaf Plants: Your Ultimate Guide
- 1.1 Why do some plants have red leaves?
- 1.2 What are the most common red-leaf plants?
- 1.2.1 Coleus
- 1.2.2 Caladiums
- 1.2.3 Anthurium
- 1.2.4 Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
- 1.2.5 Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
- 1.2.6 Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
- 1.2.7 Nerve Plant (Fittonia)
- 1.2.8 Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
- 1.2.9 Radiator Plants (Peperomia)
- 1.2.10 Red Leaf Begonias
- 1.2.11 Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’)
- 1.2.12 Wandering Jew (Tradescantia)
- 1.2.13 Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)
- 1.2.14 Bromeliad plants (Bromeliaceae)
- 1.2.15 Succulents
Chlorophyll is responsible for plants’ ability to produce food via photosynthesis. Chlorophyll’s green color allows plants the most efficient absorption of sunlight.
However, green is not the only color of leaves. There are many plants that have red, yellow, orange, or purple leaves.
This is due to different types of pigments like anthocyanins(red), xanthophyll(yellow), carotene(orange), and betalains(purple).
But one of the most striking colors is red.
In this post, we’ll look at why some plants have red leaves.
Do they have a special adaptation that allows them to photosynthesize despite their leaf color? Do they share any other characteristics?
Finally, we’ll look at a few common red-leaf plants so that you can add a splash of color to your garden.
Why do some plants have red leaves?
There could be a variety of reasons why different plants have red leaves. We won’t be able to go into great detail about leaf physiology or evolutionary biology here.
However, here are a few of the reasons that make scientists believe that red leaves evolved.
To attract pollinators
Pollinators, like bees and hummingbirds, are attracted to bright colors. Red is one of the most visible colors to these animals, so many plants have evolved red leaves in order to attract them.
In fact, some plants change the color of their leaves depending on the time of year to attract pollinators.
To ward off herbivores
Herbivores are animals that eat plants. Some plants have evolved red leaves as a deterrent against herbivory.
The theory is that the red color makes the leaves less palatable to these animals, and they will therefore eat less of the plant.
To regulate temperature
Leaves are important in regulating a plant’s temperature. Because different colors absorb and reflect heat differently, the color of a plant’s leaves can affect its temperature.
Red leaves tend to absorb more heat than green leaves due to their higher concentration of anthocyanins.
This can be beneficial when the plant wants to absorb more heat from the sun, like in colder climates.
However, the red color of the leaves reduces the plant’s ability to photosynthesize.
So, there is a trade-off that the plant has to make between heat regulation and food production.
To protect from UV radiation
UV radiation is the type of radiation that comes from the sun. It can be harmful to plants and can damage their leaves.
Some plants have evolved red leaves as a way to protect themselves from this type of radiation. The red color helps to reflect some of the harmful UV rays.
To protect against pest
Some plant pests, like caterpillars and aphids, are attracted to green leaves.
Since red color is a much less common leaf color in nature, these pests are less likely to be attracted to red leaves. In return, the plant is protected from these pests.
What are the most common red-leaf plants?
Now that we know a little bit more about why plants have red leaves, let’s take a look at some of the most common plants with red leaves.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting that some of the plants we’ll discuss in more detail may also have other varieties with different colors.
As a result, just because you’ve seen the specific plant we’ll mention in another color doesn’t mean there isn’t a red variety of that plant.
For example, Coleus are popular houseplants that can have solely green color leaves.
But the plant has also species with a combination of red, yellow, purple, and white leaves.
Coleus is grown for its vibrantly colored leaves rather than its flowers. The plant grows in full sun to partial shade and requires a lot of water. It can grow to be 20 to 24 inches tall, but trailing varieties can be used in hanging pots.
Pinching young plants or leggy old ones will promote branching and a greater plant. Coleus may be kept as an indoor potted plant in direct sunshine or out in partial shade.
To provide a burst of brilliant color to any landscape, these bulbs may be planted in groups of 12 to 18 inches apart. A mass planting looks wonderful when set against a backdrop of green bushes.
To encourage more leaves to develop, remove flower spikes as they appear. Cold, wet soil and incorrect cultural practices might induce leaf drops.
Coleus is grown from seedlings and cuttings. Cuttings as short as two inches can be taken from developing shoots and planted in the water.
At 70 to 75 degrees F, the seed germinates for around 10 to 14 days.
Seeds should not be covered to promote germination because light inhibits it. Once the weather has warmed up, plants may be transplanted outdoors. Coleus may be grown from late fall through early spring in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11.
Caladiums are tropical perennials with heart-shaped leaves native to South and Central American rainforests with distinct wet and dry seasons.
Caladium bicolor, a Brazilian plant, is the most common decorative arum species (Araceae).
This species has thousands of identified cultivars, with other species and hybrids appearing on occasion. They are easy to grow as summer “bulbs” or as houseplants in zones 9 or 10.
Caladium is also known as angel’s wings and elephant ears (not to be confused with Alocasia, Colocasia, and Xanthosoma).
Caladiums can bloom despite being grown as foliage plants, producing a single (rarely 2-3) characteristic arum-type flower with a green or pinkish spathe encircling a short white spadix.
Fruits are white berries with a variety of seeds. Most people remove the inflorescence because it depletes the plant’s energy, which could otherwise be utilized to grow more leaves or a larger tuber.
Caladiums bring color and texture to shade gardens and deck and patio pots. Mix and match for a multi-colored appearance in tiny areas.
They go well with ferns, asters, and shade-tolerant iris. Or mix them with other shade-loving plants for color fountains. Complement them with impatiens or fuchsias in similar or contrasting colors.
Choose complimentary coleus or begonia cultivars for a year-round display of color and texture in the leaf.
As a stunning specimen plant and focal point in a flower bed, try planting a caladium at the back of the bed and adding annuals in front.
Caladiums thrive in the hot, humid summer months, but as the weather cools, they begin to droop and lose their leaves. In temperate climates, tubers must be brought in before the first frost (or before soil temperatures drop below 55F).
Lift any tubers from the ground, remove most of the soil, and dry for a week in a warm, shady place before cutting off the leaves and storing them in dry sphagnum moss or a mesh bag for up to five months in mild conditions (55-60F).
Tubers in containers can be carried indoors and left alone for the winter. As the leaves begin to die back, allow the growing media to dry up.
The containers can be kept in either bright or dark environments, but the temperature should never go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. When new growth sprouts in the spring, begin watering again.
As a houseplant, give a warm environment with bright but indirect light and enough humidity.
Caladiums will go into dormancy after a few months in the leaf, even if grown inside. Stop watering them after their leaves begin to die back. Allow the plant to rest before resuming watering after new growth appears.
Caladiums have few pest problems, especially in northern areas. Propagate caladiums by dividing the tubers in spring before potting them up.
All parts of the plant are poisonous if enough is ingested and handling the plants can irritate the skin.
Anthurium is the most populous genus in the Araceae family of arums, which also includes Anthurium Andreanum.
Anthurium Andreanum’s inflorescence consists of a bract with a straight spadix on which the blooms are located. Anthuriums are native to Central and South America’s Andes area, where they thrive in a shady setting.
Anthurium thrives well on an airy substrate due to its primary epiphytic growth habit.
It is critical to choose a substrate that is capillary (correctly distributes water) and has enough small particles or fibers to hold and distribute water and nutrients. Peat with coconut fiber is a common substrate.
Perlite, peat moss, coconut chips, and fine bark are examples of other ingredients. Finally, the substrate must be composed of 50% solids, 25% water, and 25% air.
Because of the obstruction of the structure at the bottom of the pot, the substrate must not contain too many dust particles. More coconut fiber is used to create a better structure, and as a result, the water distribution improves.
Anthurium can be cultivated in the ground as well as on tables or in containers. The cultivation system is determined by the size of the pot, the rate of circulation, the level of automation, and the desired working height.
It is critical to establish a proper drainage system and to have overhead irrigation available in dry conditions.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
Aglaonema modestum (Chinese Evergreen) is a beautiful plant that grows quickly to develop large clumps of green stems with 10- to 14-inch-long, lustrous, deep green leaves.
This gives any shaded area planted with Chinese evergreen a tropical feel. Because the plant requires shade, it is best suited to low-light settings for house plants or sheltered, northern exposures outside.
Temperatures below 45°F might cause damage to the plant’s leaves. Overwatering promotes root rot and leaf yellowing.
They look well as single specimens or in groups to create a tropical, coarse-textured impression. Plants should be spaced 2 to 3 feet apart.
Aglaonema thrives in USDA hardiness zones 10B through 11 and can be planted year-round in frost-free areas. It is native to North America and not an invasive plant.
Aglaonemas can thrive in any rich, nematode-free soil or artificial media, but they can also survive in peat and perlite, sand, or hydroponically.
They prefer moist soil that has been let to dry slightly before being watered. Make sure not to overwater, but also don’t let the soil dry up for more than a few days.
Aglaonemas need shade because direct sunlight turns the foliage yellow. They thrive in conditions that would be too dark for most other tropical plants.
They will thrive in low light conditions, whether as house plants or in sheltered settings on the north side of buildings or under heavy shade from trees.
Cuttings are used for propagation. Chinese evergreens can be harmed by soil-borne nematodes and mites.
The Chinese evergreen’s large, deep green foliage and luxuriant, leafy, irregular appearance will add a cool tropical atmosphere to the landscape.
The mass of leaves with pointy points and wavy edges creates a coarse texture, and the light and dark shadows within the cluster of leaves enhance the coarse texture.
Pair with softer plants with little leaves and mounding or spreading shapes, or grasses with thin, strappy blades and wispy blooms. Companion plants with yellow-green, variegated green, and/or burgundy foliage will draw attention to the deep green of the leaves.
To contrast, the deep green with other flowering plants, use white and/or warm hues such as pinks, light corals, soft yellows, and light orange.
There are no severe pests or diseases to be concerned about. If the soil is kept excessively wet, the roots can rot.
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
Croton, Codiaeum variegatum, is a popular houseplant planted for its eye-catching leaf.
As a perennial shrub or small tree of the Euphorbiaceae family of broadleaf evergreen species native to tropical Asia and the western Pacific, it is one of only six species worldwide (not to be confused with Croton, another genus of more than 700 species in the same family, in which it was previously incorrectly classified as Croton variegatum).
The leaf color and pattern on this evergreen shrub or small tree vary greatly, and various varieties have been developed. It is a fragile perennial that is hardy only in zones 11-12.
In subtropical and tropical climes, they are frequently employed as landscape shrubs for dramatic hedges, bold focal pieces in gardens, or potted specimens around structures.
Croton is a branching, bushy shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall in its natural habitat, but those sold as houseplants are often much smaller. The huge, thick, leathery leaves range in length from 2 to 12 inches and are highly varied.
The shiny, alternating leaves range in size from linear to oval, with a smooth or lobed border (sometimes severely cut to the midrib), and some are wavy or spiraled.
The foliage color ranges from green variegated with white to pink, orange, red, yellow, or purple in a variety of combinations that may alter as the leaves age.
Markings may be blotches on any region of the leaf blade in regular or random patterns, or they may run along the principal veins. Sports, or shoots that look wholly different from the parent plant, are prevalent.
As with most Euphorbiaceae plants, the milky sap that oozes from damaged stems can induce contact dermatitis in people who are sensitive to it.
It rarely flowers as a houseplant, but when planted in the ground in frost-free climates in the spring, it produces little star-shaped flowers in long axillary racemes.
The white male flowers, which have five tiny petals and 20-30 stamens, are produced on distinct inflorescences than the yellowish, petal-less female blooms.
Female flowers that have been pollinated are followed by fruits, which are little capsules approximately a third of an inch in diameter and contain three small seeds.
Croton is normally sold as an indoor plant, but it can also be utilized as a seasonal accent plant in containers or plantings of annuals or mixed ornamentals.
If grown in containers, either inside or outdoors, consider selecting a pot color that complements the color of the foliage, either by mirroring one of the leaf colors or by contrast with the dominant color.
You can combine croton with other tropical plants produced as annuals that have flowers in hues that duplicate the color(s) of the leaves, such as orange flowering lantana, yellow-golden shrimp plant, or red pentas.
To contrast with a croton cultivar with orange and red foliage, choose something with purple blooms, such as angelonia or mealycup sage.
Croton thrives in fertile, well-drained soil that is moist and well-drained. When cultivated indoors, they require bright, indirect light. They thrive in partial shade and may withstand full sun in mild climes if kept moist (and are acclimated first when moved from inside).
Higher light results in a more brilliant leaf color and a more compact plant. Insufficient light causes the vibrant leaves to revert to hues of green, while too much direct sunlight causes the leaves to become gray and boring.
These plants require only a half-inch to an inch of water each day and should be watered only when the top half-inch to an inch of soil dries out. Watering should be reduced in the winter.
Plants will drop their leaves if they are kept wet or dry for a lengthy amount of time. It thrives in moderate to high humidity and warm temperatures as a tropical plant.
Croton thrives in temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with leaf drop common if temps fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, you should keep them away from drafts and extreme temperature swings.
Changing surroundings too soon might shock the plants and induce leaf drop.
For quick development, fertilize once or twice a week during the growing season. Repot the plant when it outgrows its container by 1-2 inches.
Plants can be heavily clipped in early spring, before new growth begins, to stimulate branching and new development if they become lanky. Croton has few pest concerns except the ordinary insects that infest houseplants (mealybugs, spider mites, scales).
Container-grown plants can be moved outdoors for the growing season after temperatures consistently exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit, gradually acclimating them to the different light levels outside, and then moved back inside before temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (colder temperatures can cause leaf loss).
Plants were grown in the ground as seasonal plants can be uprooted and potted in the fall.
This plant can be easily grown by air layering in the spring or by softwood cuttings in the summer. Although it can be grown from seed, the offspring will not look like the parent, therefore asexual propagation is the only option to keep specific cultivars alive.
Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
Polka Dot Plant also known as Hypoestes Phyllostachya, the delicate tropical foliage plant, was long considered a novelty houseplant only because of its appearance.
It’s become increasingly popular as an annual in the garden, where it adds color and vibrancy to borders and containers.
It was originally only pink spots on dark green leaves, but today there is a slew of additional hybrids with bright red, white, or lighter green splashes or the polar opposite: pink spots on dark leaves with green spots.
The plant’s stems and branches may be colored as well. Although this plant produces terminal, spike-like racemes of small, tubular pink or blue flowers, they are not particularly beautiful.
Long day lengths keep plants in vegetative development, thus flowering on houseplants occurs in late summer or fall, if at all. Plants reseed prolifically in warm-season locations.
The polka dot plant is native to Madagascar, but other species in the genus are found in South Africa and Southeast Asia. It’s a bushy plant with softly downy oval leaves. Under optimal conditions, the species can reach 30 inches in height and width. However, most cultivars remain much smaller than this.
Hypoestes is a versatile plant that can be used as an accent plant in dish gardens, window boxes, patio pots, or as a bedding plant in partially shaded regions. They go well with impatiens, especially New Guinea impatiens.
Hypoestes grows best in bright, filtered light, although it can even withstand the mild sun. The plants’ color is better in partial shade than in the full sun, but the leaves fade away in very low light.
It enjoys a humid atmosphere, so it should be well outside in the Midwest during the summer but may require periodic spraying indoors during the winter. Although it is drought tolerant, it grows best when given enough water.
Sow Hypoestes seed 8-10 weeks before the typical last date of frost for garden plants. (For houseplants, you can sow them at any time.) When kept at 68°F, seeds can germinate in as little as 4 days.
The cotyledons are green, but the first set of genuine leaves is colored. Seedlings should be transplanted when they have four true leaves, either individually into tiny pots or in groups into bigger containers.
Three seedlings can be put in a 3-inch pot and five seedlings can be placed in a 4-inch container. Use organic matter-rich potting mixes, such as peat moss or leaf mold. Plant it outside only when the temperature is constantly over 50°F; it does not grow well until the temperature is above 60°F.
Hypoestes have minor pest problems but are sensitive to powdery mildew and root rot, as well as whiteflies, aphids, and mealybugs.
Polka dot plants will get leggy as they grow older, especially if they are exposed to less-than-ideal light. Pinching back the plants on a regular basis will keep them compact, but houseplants will eventually need to be replaced. Stem cuttings are simple to root and grow into new plants.
When placed in water, they immediately establish roots, and they frequently thrive when simply placed in damp potting mix, sand, or vermiculite, especially in the spring and summer.
Remove the lowest leaves from 4 inch long cuttings. By potting up plants from the garden in late summer and keeping them in a light window, polka dot plants can be saved for the winter.
Use a permeable soil mix high in organic matter to grow as a house or greenhouse plant. When the potted plant is actively developing, place it in a brightly lit area and water it well, allowing the soil to dry somewhat between waterings.
Plants should be treated with dilute liquid fertilizer on a regular basis once they have established themselves. They can also be grown in a controlled environment.
Nerve Plant (Fittonia)
Nerve plants (Fittonia albivenis) are tropical plants in the family Acanthaceae. They are grown for their attractive leaves, which are patterned with red veins on a green background.
The genus Fittonia contains about 150 species of herbs and shrubs, many of which are grown as ornamentals.
Nerve plants grow best in moist but not wet soil and high humidity. Bright filtered light is best, but they will tolerate some shade. They do not like hot, direct sun, which can scorch their leaves. Plants grown in too much shade will have pale leaves and may become leggy.
Nerve plants are native to moist tropical forests in South America and Central America. In their native habitat, they grow as epiphytes on tree branches and logs. They can also be found growing on the forest floor in shady areas.
Nerve plants are relatively easy to grow indoors. They make good houseplants and can also be grown in terrariums and bottle gardens. Plants can be propagated from stem cuttings or by the division of clumps.
Nerve plants are sensitive to a number of pests, including whiteflies, aphids, and mealybugs. They can also be affected by leaf spots and root rot.
Fittonia albivenis is the most commonly grown species of nerve plant. It is available in a wide range of sizes, from small tabletop plants to large plants that can be grown as floor plants.
Fittonia albivenis is a tropical plant and will not tolerate cold temperatures. It can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 11 and 12, but it is usually grown as a houseplant in cooler climates.
When growing Fittonia albivenis as a houseplant, provide bright filtered light and moist but not wet soil. Keep the plant in a humid environment, such as near a water feature or in a terrarium.
Fertilize with a diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Pinch back the stems to keep the plants compact. Over time, the leaves will lose their color and should be replaced with new growth.
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are great winter houseplants because they bloom in the middle of winter and because their beauty is due to bracts (persistently colored leaves) rather than flowers, their appeal lasts a long time.
They naturally bloom throughout the long winter nights, making it simple for nurseries to bring them into bloom in time for the winter holidays.
Poinsettias’ beauty can last from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and occasionally even to Valentine’s Day. Some gardeners are dissatisfied with this long season of indoor splendor and try to keep the plants to re-bloom the next winter. Poinsettias may be kept year after year and will bloom every year if properly cared for.
Withhold water gradually as the leaves yellow or the plant is no longer desirable as an ornamental. The leaves will turn pallid and fall off. The bracts (the colorful leaves directly below the real blooms) will be the last to die.
After all of the leaves have dropped, put the plant in its pot in a cold (50 to 60°F), dry, dark place. Keep the plant somewhat dry and water only enough to keep the stems from wilting.
Bring the plant out of storage in April or May. Six inches above the soil level cut the primary stems. Remove the plant from the pot and carefully wash the roots to remove the old soil.
Repot the plant in new, well-drained potting soil. If the soil is heavy and absorbs too much moisture, poinsettias are prone to stem and root illnesses.
Allow all surplus water to run away after thoroughly soaking the soil. Place the plant in a warm, sunny location to encourage fresh development. Maintain a high humidity level to promote quick new growth.
Once the plant is actively developing, administer a weak fertilizer solution at monthly intervals (one tablespoon of soluble fertilizer, such as 20-20-20 or its equivalent, per gallon of water).
After the risk of frost has passed, place the pot in a protected and sunny location. During the hottest portion of the day, light shade is excellent. Lift the pot every now and again to avoid root development into the surrounding soil.
Repot the plant into a larger pot if it becomes root-bound. Keep an eye out for insects and take care of them as soon as possible.
Water and fertilize the poinsettia plant on a daily basis to keep it growing all summer. When the top of the soil seems dry, liberally pour water to properly hydrate the soil and let the excess flow away. No more water should be added until the top of the soil is dry.
To make a bushy plant, pinch back the tips of new shoots, leaving two nodes per new shoot. Pinching new shoots till late August is advised. Remove weak stems completely to promote the growth of stronger stems.
If you want to grow more poinsettias, try propagating them using stem cuttings instead of pinchings. Cut off 4 to 6 inches of fresh growth when it’s 8 to 12 inches tall for roots.
Leave at least two leaves on the cuttings and the parent stem to allow the plant to continue producing food.
To stop the “bleeding.” cut the stem in the morning and soak it in lukewarm water for an hour. To boost the likelihood of success, apply rooting hormone to the cuttings’ base.
Place cuttings in a wet, well-drained rooting medium, such as a half-perlite, half-peat moss mix. Maintain a high humidity level to promote quick root growth. Place the cuttings in a bright, but not direct, light source.
When the new roots are about 1/2 inch long, pot the newly rooted cuttings in well-drained soil. These plants are cared for in the same way that the parent plant is.
All rooted cuttings and the parent plant will bloom at the same time. Larger blooms will result from thicker cuttings. Take as many cuttings as you want until late August, but keep in mind that only strong stems create vigorous plants.
When the cool fall weather arrives, bring the plant inside and place it in a south window with full sun.
Poinsettias thrive in the full fall sun, and the bracts (colored leaves beneath the flowers) have the deepest color in bright light. While ventilation is essential, keep the plant free from drafts.
Drafts, as well as cold temperatures, damp soil, and dryness, can cause the poinsettia’s lower leaves to turn yellow and fall off the plant. Temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night and up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day are optimal. The plant will flower later if the night temperature is too hot or too low.
Poinsettias are true short-day (or long-night) plants. This indicates that the plant must be completely dark for 14 hours per day for four weeks in order to generate flower buds.
Starting in late September or early October, make sure the poinsettia does not receive any artificial light after dark. Even brief bouts of light from a single light bulb for one night can cause flowering to be delayed or interfered with.
If feasible, keep the plant in a dark room, a dark closet, or under a fully light-proof cover every day from about 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. for four weeks.
Remember to keep the plant in a sunny window during the day and to water it when the surface is dry. It will most likely require less watering now. Continue to fertilize it once a month until mid-December. The opened flowers survive the longest when temperatures are at 65°F.
Radiator Plants (Peperomia)
Peperomia (radiator plant) is one of the two major genera in the Piperaceae family. The majority of them are small, compact perennial epiphytes that grow on decaying wood.
More than 1500 species have been identified, and they can be found in all tropical and subtropical parts of the planet. However, they are most common in Central America and northern South America. Africa has a small number of species (approximately 17).
Radiator plants are among the most low-maintenance houseplants available, so you shouldn’t have any serious issues learning how to care for them. While they are slow-growing, they are quite durable and are well-known for their capacity to tolerate being knocked over without suffering significant harm.
They’re also pet-friendly, so if you have a boisterous pup at home, you can stock up on radiator plants without having to worry about your pet (or your plants) getting damaged.
Radiator plants are used to indirect sunlight because they are native to rainforests, where they live beneath leafy tree canopies. Bright, direct sunbeams may scorch its leaves in the summer, so place them near a window with a sheer curtain or a few feet away from any direct rays.
Once the top two inches of soil have dried off, properly water your radiator plants. They’re drought-tolerant, so if you don’t water them for a few days, it won’t be the end of the world.
Overwatering can cause root rot and stimulate fungal development, which attracts pesky fungus gnats. A container with drainage holes can assist minimize overwatering, especially because these plants are little and don’t need a huge container.
A half-strength all-purpose houseplant fertilizer can help your radiator plants grow lush and vibrant. From April to September, use it once a month, and don’t fertilize throughout the winter. This will allow the plants to go into hibernation and preserve energy for their next great growth spurt in the spring.
While they are normally at ease with average household humidity levels, they do benefit from slightly additional humidity. Placing your plants in shallow pebble trays filled with roughly an inch of water can assist in delivering water vapor directly to the foliage. You may also sprinkle your radiator plants with a tiny mist or use plug-in humidifiers.
These heat-loving plants don’t mind warm drafts from a vent, but you should keep them away from any cold drafts.
If you put on the air conditioning in the summer and your plant is near a vent, you may want to relocate it for the season. Also, keep an eye out for drafts coming in through the windows and doors.
Red Leaf Begonias
Begonias come in a vast array of shapes, sizes, and colors. With more than 1400 registered cultivars, begonias are one of the most popular flowering plants in the world.
The genus Begonia is divided into two sections: rhizomatous (with thickened stems) and tuberous (with enlarged storage organs). Red leaf begonias are rhizomatous.
The most common type of red leaf begonia is the wax begonia (B. semperflorens-cultorum). It’s a bushy, mounded plant with dark green leaves and small, white or pink flowers that appear in clusters. The flowers bloom throughout the summer and into the fall.
Red leaf begonias are easy to grow and care for, making them a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor gardens. They can be used as bedding plants, in hanging baskets, or as potted plants.
They prefer bright sunlight but can tolerate some shade. Be sure to give them plenty of water, especially when they’re flowering. Fertilize them every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer.
Red leaf begonias are susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies. If you notice any of these pests on your plants, treat them immediately with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’)
Madagascar Dragon Tree is a fine-textured, evergreen shrub with rather slender and uneven stems capped by a rosette of ribbon-like leaves.
This plant’s stems can grow up to 15 feet tall and are covered in unique foliar scars. The leathery, variegated leaves have a purple line around the borders.
White and crimson blooms appear in elongate panicles above the foliage and are not particularly showy. This shrub’s little, golden berries are equally modest and are not usually produced in Florida.
This dracaena is distinguished from its cousins by its slender, bending stalks with narrow, ribbon-like green leaves edged in purplish-red and with a gold stripe along the leaf margin.
Dracaena thrives in either shade or sun and is drought resilient, as well as tolerant of a wide range of soil types, though it prefers organic soil with lots of moisture.
It can tolerate clay, sand, acidic or slightly alkaline soils. However, the plant cannot tolerate salty soils.
They have a delicate, abstract silhouette that is suitable for accent planting or low-maintenance container cultivation. ‘Tricolor’ is a lovely indoor or outdoor houseplant. It looks great silhouetted against a wall at night.
The tropical look of red-edged dracaena makes it a popular patio plant. Its symmetrical, espalier traits make it a popular foundation and specimen shrub in warm areas.
Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’ is one of our favorite indoor foliage plants. It thrives in full sun to deep shade and prefers fertile well-drained soils. This hardy plant is low care and drought tolerant.
Fluoride damage can generate necrotic patches along leaf edges.
After pruning a stem, two or more branches arise. This approach can be used to boost the plant’s density.
This can be advantageous since lower leaves drop from the stems as the plant gets taller, leaving the plant’s base naked. Cut one or two stems to the point where new foliage is required. This site produces fresh growth several weeks later.
Typically, stem cuttings and air layers are used to propagate plants. It is also cultivated from 2 to 4-inch long stem portions placed horizontally on a well-drained medium.
Spider mites are a concern for Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’ when cultivated indoors. Leaf spot is a problematic bug in outdoor environments.
Wandering Jew (Tradescantia)
Wandering Jew (Tradescantia spp.) is a fast-growing ground cover that produces purplish leaves. It can be used as an annual or perennial in most gardens.
The plant gets its name from the fact that it spreads rapidly and can quickly “take over” an area if left unchecked.
The leaves are a deep purple with a bright green vein running down the center. They can grow up to 12 inches long and will trail along the ground if given something to cling to.
This plant does best in partial shade but can also tolerate full sun. It grows well in moist, well-drained soil but can also tolerate dryer soils.
Wandering Jew is a great plant for hanging baskets or cascading down the side of a pot. It’s also a good ground cover and can be used to fill in spaces between stepping stones or other garden features.
The fleshy stems can root at any node on the surface. 5–10 mm long oval dark green and lustrous leaves, leaf blades 3–6.5 cm long, 1–3 cm wide, with parallel veins covered with tiny hairs.
Flowers are little white three-petaled flowers with yellow-tipped stamens, 2 cm wide, petals 7–10 mm long. There are no seeds produced, therefore the spread is only vegetative. Flowers are mostly produced in the spring.
Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)
The ti plant (Cordyline fruticosa) is a tropical evergreen that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 11 and 12. It’s also known as the Hawaiian ti, good luck tree, palm lily, and cabbage tree.
This fast-growing shrub or small tree reaches heights of 15 to 20 feet with a spread of 12 to 15 feet.
It has a single trunk that is often covered with the remnants of old leaves. The new leaves are long, narrow, and pointed at the tips.
They emerge from the center of the plant and grow up to 18 inches long and two inches wide. The ti plant’s leaves are dark green with a purple or red hue.
The ti plant blooms in the summer with small, fragrant flowers that grow in clusters. The flowers are white, pink, or purple and give way to small, blackberries. The ti plant is an easy-to-care-for houseplant that is tolerant of neglect.
It prefers bright, indirect light but can also tolerate low-light conditions. The ti plant should be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. It’s a good idea to let the soil dry out completely between watering.
Fertilize the ti plant monthly with a general-purpose fertilizer. Prune as needed to maintain the desired shape.
Bromeliad plants (Bromeliaceae)
There are more than 2000 species of bromeliad plants, which are a family of tropical and subtropical plants. The most common type of bromeliad is pineapple. Bromeliads get their name from the Greek word for “pineapple.”
Most bromeliads have leaves that grow in a rosette shape. The leaves are often brightly colored and can be either spiky or smooth. Bromeliads also have a unique root system that allows them to absorb water and nutrients from the air.
The flowers of a bromeliad plant are usually small and not very showy. The flowers grow in the center of the rosette and are pollinated by insects. Bromeliad plants can be either annual or perennial.
They prefer moist, well-drained soil but can also tolerate drier soils. They need plenty of light, but cannot tolerate direct sunlight.
Bromeliads make a great addition to any tropical garden and can also be grown as houseplants. There are many different types of bromeliad plants, so it’s easy to find one that will suit your needs.
There are many different types of succulents that have red leaves, such as the Sedum rubrotinctum (Jelly Bean Plant), Echeveria Pulvinata (Ruby Blush), and Aeonium haworthii (Red Tip).
Succulents are a type of plant that stores water in its leaves, stem, or roots. They are native to dry climates and can tolerate drought conditions.
Succulents come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The leaves can be either smooth or spiky, and the flowers can be any color imaginable.
Most succulents prefer bright sunlight but can also tolerate low-light conditions. They should be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Fertilize once a month with a general-purpose fertilizer.
Succulents are easy to care for and make a great addition to any garden or home. With so many different types available, it’s easy to find one that will suit your needs.