17 Annual Flowers with Bold Red Blooms

Are you looking for some bold red flowers to make a statement in your garden this season? Picking a red annual flower to fill your flowerbeds will ensure you aren't committed to it for more than one season. In this article, gardening expert Natalie Leiker shares her favorite flowering annuals that will bloom in brilliant shades of red!

Annual Flowers with Bold Red Blooms

The bold color of red can add a warm subtle appearance when mixed with its friends orange, and yellow. Planted with purple or against dark foliage, red flowers create a contrasting look that is sure to dazzle.

When it comes to picking a red flower to plant in your garden, the options can be endless! Especially if you choose to plant annual flowers with red blooms, which will only stick around one season, unlike red-blooming perennials.

Whether you are looking to add mass plantings of red flowers to your garden or a simple splash of red here and there, you have tons of options! There are many red flowering annuals, from cut flowers to potted plants.

If you are looking to spruce up a shady area, red begonias or impatiens might be for you. If you need a fun garden border, perhaps red celosia might be more of your jam. Planting a cut flower garden, sunflowers, zinnias, and dahlias are a surefire success! With that being said, let’s dive into a few red flowers that might be just what you are looking for this season.

Contents

Pentas

Close up of a cluster of small, red, star shaped flowers surrounded by long, pointed, green leaves.
Pentas are a great option if you’re looking to attract pollinators to your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Pentas lanceolata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10 to 11

The word “pentas” is derived from the word penta, which means five. Pentas flower in clusters of tiny star-shaped flowers in vivid shades of pink, purple, and red. The flowers appear on long dark green leaves and attract loads of pollinators.

Pentas thrive in warm climates and full sun. Pentas can grow just about anywhere that receives full sun and do best in rich, loamy, well-draining soil.

Varieties to note: Sunstar Red, Lucky Star Dark Red

Verbena

Close up of several bunches of bright, red and flowers that have four heart shaped petals with a white center.
This red annual requires full sun and will produce long blooms throughout the season.
botanical-name botanical name Verbena hybrid
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8 to 11

Verbena is another great option for plantings that receive direct sunlight most of the day. Planted in containers or landscape borders, Verbena will spread out and provide season-long flowers.

The blooms last for a few weeks at a time, and frequent deadheading will encourage new growth throughout the season. Verbena will often establish woody growth and can sometimes get leggy towards the end of the season. Simply cut back unruly stems to keep the appearance tidy.

Perennial in zones 8 to 11, Verbena can grow as a small woody shrub and will often reseed itself over the course of many seasons. In its native habitat, it is known to flourish on roadsides and wooded areas, covering large spaces beautifully.

Varieties to note: Endurascape Red, Superbena Red

Petunia

Close up of two bright red flowers that have four, fan shaped, overlapping petals and a small yellow center.
The Petunia comes in a variety of colors to choose from.
botanical-name botanical name Petunia sp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 11

There are many varieties of petunias, but all thrive in full sun and fill up bare spaces in the landscape very quickly. Native to warm climates such as Mexico and South America, petunias are accustomed to very warm temperatures and will hold up well in the heat of the summer.

You will most likely purchase petunias as transplants as they are primarily reproduced by vegetative propagation of cuttings. Petunias come in many different sizes. Some tend to grow upright and mound, while others will fill out and grow more in width.

The bell-shaped flowers appear on long fuzzy stems and can get as wide as about 36 inches (depending on the variety).

Varieties to note: Supertunia Really Red, Sureshot Red

Dahlia

Close up of a red flower with rows, of densely packed, cupped petals that form a dome shape, with a long green stem.
Dahlias will reach a height of 3 to 4 feet tall and loves to bask in full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Dahlia pinnata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3 to 4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8 to 11

Often used for floral arrangements and bouquets, Dahlias boast large vivid blooms. They generally grow to about two feet tall and wide, but some varieties can grow as tall as six feet. So allow them ample space to grow. Don’t be afraid to harvest the beautiful blooms for your own floral arrangements, as frequent cutting encourages new growth and more flowers.

Dahlias grow best when temperatures stay below about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the weather starts to really warm up in the summer, dahlias tend to slow their growth and sometimes completely die back.

Moving potted dahlias to a shady area in the heat of the summer can help to prolong the growing period.

Varieties to note: Arabian Night, Babylon Red

Zinnia

Close up of a bright red flower that has rows of oval shaped petals and a bright yellow, spiky center.
Zinnias will produce an abundance of seeds, making them easy to replant for the following season.
botanical-name botanical name Zinnia elegans
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 11

Zinnia is very sensitive to cool temperatures, so it is best to plant them in early summer when night temperatures are warm. They will bloom frequently until the fall and make great cut flowers. They are most often direct sown from seed in warm weather and don’t require much work to get them sprouted.

Zinnia flowers produce many seeds and are super easy to harvest at the end of the season. Harvesting the seeds can be fun for all ages and make for a great classroom experiment!

Varieties to note: Double Zahara Cherry, Profusion Red

Salvia

Tall flower stalks lined with small, bright red, tube shaped flowers.
Salvia is the perfect flower if you’re looking to bring in more hummingbirds to your yard.
botanical-name botanical name Salvia sp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 to 11

The vivid trumpet-shaped flowers attract pollinators and birds, growing best in warm temperatures and loamy soil. Many varieties of Salvia are available, all blooming prolifically and providing a cheery look in the garden.

Once established, Salvia plants are very low maintenance, and some varieties self-clean, which prevents the need to deadhead spent blooms.

Varieties to note: Vista Red, Saucy Red

Begonia

small red flowers with yellow centers growing on skinny red stems, surrounded by rounded, green, waxy leaves.
Begonias are resilient, easy to care for, and come in a variety of colors and sizes.
botanical-name botanical name Begonia sp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full shade to partial sun
height height 10 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 11

Begonias come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some grow very compact, staying just under one foot tall. Some begonias can grow as large as 24 inches tall and wide. They display bright frilly blooms and have dark green waxy foliage.

This waxy foliage allows water to run off of the leaves and aids in preventing diseases like powdery mildew.

They generally thrive in full shade but can tolerate filtered or dappled sunlight in most climates. A few hours of sunlight can also help dry the soil after bouts of rain or high humidity.

Varieties to note: Surefire Red, Nonstop Red, Solenia Red

Impatiens

Two bright red flowers with five, overlapping, fan shaped petals surrounded by pointed, oval leaves with jagged edges.
These low-maintenance flowers and don’t require very much attention.
botanical-name botanical name Impatiens walleriana
sun-requirements sun requirements Shade to full sun (depending on variety)
height height 10 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10 to 11

Most varieties of impatiens prefer shady areas, but there are newer varieties, referred to as “sunpatiens” that thrive in full sun. The round velvet flowers display vivid shades of pink, red, and orange.

Impatiens are very low-maintenance plants that require little to no upkeep once established. The smooth flowers are fragile and can be easily damaged in rainfall.

Varieties to note: Infinity Red, Super Elfin’ Red

Geranium

Thick green stems with clusters of smaller, bright red flowers with rounded overlapping petals.
Geraniums need well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.
botanical-name botanical name Pelargonium x hortorum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 11

Red geraniums are iconic flowers all across North America. They are grown as flowering annuals but can be overwintered indoors with the right conditions. The blooms last for weeks at a time. Once spent, deadhead the dried flower heads to keep the plant’s tidy appearance and encourage new flowers.

Geraniums do not like to be grown wet. Make sure the soil and the flower heads themselves dry out in between waterings. The blooms can become soggy and damaged in long bouts of precipitation.

Varieties to note: Rocky Mountain Red, Calliope Red

Nasturtium

Several red flowers with five fan shaped petals surrounded by larger, light green, round shaped leaves.
This popular companion plant is both beautiful and edible!
botanical-name botanical name Nasturtium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10 inches tall x 24 inches wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 11

Nasturtium is often grown for herbal and companion plant use, but the edible flowers are quite beautiful. It tends to spread, so allow ample space when growing nasturtiums. It attracts beneficial insects and pollinators, making it a great addition to garden borders.

Nasturtium is most often propagated from seed, and will often reseed itself, and sometimes can survive very mild winters.

Varieties to note: Cherry Red, Empress of India

Vinca

Close up of a small cluster of bright red flowers. Each flower has five, rounded petals with a tiny white center.
The flowers of the Vinca plant will grow between 8 to 12 inches tall.
botanical-name botanical name Catharanthus roseus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8 to 12 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10 to 11

Annual flowering vinca does not like to be grown too wet. It is very important to let the soil of vinca dry out in between waterings. Vinca is a beautiful round flower that blooms even in the hottest parts of the summer.

They do take up quite a bit of nutrients, and the leaves are prone to slightly yellow when nutrient deficient. This discoloration is easily reversible with fertilization, and these plants should be fed regularly throughout the season.

Varieties to note: Titan Really Red, Sunstorm Red Halo

Purslane

Bright pinkish, red flowers with bright yellow centers. Each flower has five, oval shaped petals with scalloped edges and are surrounded by small, thick, waxy, plum leaves.
Portulaca is similar to succulents with drought-tolerant attributes.
botanical-name botanical name Portulaca
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6 inches tall to 12 inches wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8 to 11

Native to hot and arid climates, moss rose is a low-maintenance plant that practically guarantees planting success (even for those with brown thumbs). These low-growing, drought-tolerant annuals can be planted almost anywhere and are a great option for those with poor soil.

Portulaca likes to be grown fairly dry, almost as if it were a succulent. If planted in a shady area or kept too wet, the plant will not bloom and become leggy.

Varieties to note: Mojave Red, Pazazz Red

Cockscomb

Close up of a fan shaped flower that is made up of bright red, tiny, swirling, textured, ruffled petals.
Cockscomb comes in a variety of sizes and colors to choose from.
botanical-name botanical name Celosia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12 to 36 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10 to 12

Celosia is a fun flowering annual that boasts large frilly blooms that resemble a rooster’s comb. There are many varieties of celosia, ranging from plants as small as 6 inches tall to plants that grow to almost three feet tall.

The vivid blooms make great mass plantings or additions to patio containers and thrive in heat and sunlight. Not only will they look great in your garden or planters, but they also make great cut flowers!

Varieties to note: Chief Red, Scarlet Plume

Canna

Close up of a thick green stem with several bright red flowers clustered on top.
Cannas require full sun and will grow up to 36 inches tall.
botanical-name botanical name Canna sp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 18 to 36 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8 to 10

This tender bulb is often grown as a flowering annual and then dug up for the bulbs to overwinter indoors. Their large thick leaves and giant blooms have a very tropical appearance.

Planting Cannas in the landscape can add height and a pop of color, making a beautiful border or backdrop.

Varieties to note: Toucan Scarlet, Cannova Red

Sunflower

Large rounded flower made up of dark red, short, pointed, petals with a large dark brown and orange center.
Sunflowers are perfect for lining fences and will thrive in dry, hot climates.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 24 inches to 8 feet tall
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 11

Sunflowers are well-known for their giant yellow flowers. Red sunflowers have also become quite abundant, boasting the same striking flowers atop tall beastly plants. Sunflowers make great garden or fence borders and do best in hot, dry weather.

Sunflowers have many uses other than just garden beauty. They make great floral arrangements, are edible, or can be harvested for their seeds for future plantings.

Varieties to note: Red Sun, Chocolate Cherry

Flowering Maple

Tree branch with clusters of orangish-red flowers hanging down from the branches, surrounded by large star shaped, orange colored leaves.
Flowering Maple
botanical-name botanical name Abutilon
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9 to 10

Abutilon, also known as flowering maple, is a tropical perennial in southern regions where the weather is warm year-round. In cooler, northern climates, they are grown as an annual and can be overwintered indoors in the conditions.

The bell-shaped flowers appear on fuzzy maple-shaped leaves, hence the name flowering maple. Abutilon prefers fertile, well-draining soil and will appreciate frequent fertilization.

Varieties to note: Red Tiger, Ashford Red

Strawflower

Close up of a red, bushy looking flower made up of rows and rows of small, spiky red petals with a large dome shaped, yellow center.
The Strawflower loves to be in full sun and will reach a height of 10 to 24 inches tall.
botanical-name botanical name Xerochrysum bracteatum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10 to 24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8 to 11

Strawflowers, formerly classified as Helichrysum, are a true flowering annual. They produce wispy daisy-like flowers with an interesting, almost dry texture. They make great cut flowers, and frequent harvesting of the blooms will help to encourage new growth on the plant.

At the end of the season, the spent blooms can easily be harvested for their seeds.

Varieties to note: Burgundy Red, Copper Red

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve covered just a few red flowering annuals, it’s time to figure out which one best suits your planting needs. Keep in mind that most of the plants listed above come in all sorts of varieties, sizes, and even other colors, so surely one or two of these is sure to strike your fancy!

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