10 Best Houseplants with Red Leaves

Last Updated: November 6, 2023

Calathea Triostar

Calathea Triostar

Why settle for green when you can add a vibrant splash of red with your houseplants? These beautiful plants offer a different touch to your houseplant collection, promising not only an aesthetic appeal but also featuring some benefits for your health and well-being.

Whether you’re a beginner houseplant enthusiast or a seasoned green thumb, this list will steer you towards finding the perfect red leaf houseplant that suits your taste and space.

Before you make your choice, consider the plant’s needs regarding light, watering, and temperature. These elements vary from plant to plant, and it’s crucial to know them (as well as what your home can offer) before buying a new plant.

Our Favorite Houseplants with Red Leaves

1. The Croton Plant

Looking to add a tropical touch to your living space? Meet the Croton plant.

Native to Southeast Asia, they’re loved for thier multi-coloured, shiny, wide leaves that command presence.

The Croton Plant comes in a spectrum of shades, encompassing yellow, pink, orange, and our favourite – vibrant red. Though Croton plants are not particularly difficult to maintain, they do love their sunlight.

However, don’t place them in direct sunlight as it may scorch their stunning leaves. Well-drained soil, water sparingly and maintaining proper humidity will keep your Croton looking its finest.

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Water when top inch of soil is dry. Do not overwater.
  • Humidity: High.
  • Soil: Well-aerated, well-drained, and nutrient-rich soil is perfect.

Another thing to know about the Croton Plant is that they are genetically unstable. This means that when you propagate them, they will grow to look different to the mother plant.

2. The Blushing Bromeliad

Generally, the leaves form a wide rosette, and the centre often blushes red during the blooming period, hence the name.

Below are some essential care tips for your Bromeliad.

  • Light: Bromeliad adores bright, indirect light. A spot near a window where the sun’s rays don’t directly hit should do the trick.
  • Temperature: Being a tropical plant, the Bromeliad prefers warm temperatures, typically between 20°C-25°C. Be wary of temperatures dropping too low, especially in the winter months.
  • Water: Here’s where it gets a little specific. It isn’t really about how much you water Bromeliad, it’s about where you water. Fill the rosette (the cup in the centre of the leaves) with water, and ensure the soil remains lightly moist, not soaking.

3. Caladium ‘Red Flash’

Stepping into the world of Caladiums, we had to mention the ‘Caladium ‘Red Flash’. This vibrant houseplant has flamboyant red leaves marked with variegation. The leaves are sprinkled with freckle-like specks of white.

Caladiums are also celebrated for their impressive size. The leaves of the ‘Red Flash’ can grow as large as 15-35 cm and while it has impressive size, its maintenance demands are fairly manageable.

  • You’ll want to offer your ‘Red Flash’ medium light, but be sure to keep it away from direct afternoon sunlight in summer, which could scorch its delicate leaves.
  • This plant appreciates a good level of humidity, which you can easily provide with a pebble tray or a room humidifier.
  • Irrigation-wise, aim for consistently moist soil during the growing season, while reducing watering in winter.

In terms of potential challenges, you should be aware of the plant’s somewhat sensitive nature. It doesn’t handle the cold well, so be sure to keep your ‘Red Flash’ in temperatures above 15.5°C.

4. Coleus Redhead

Meet the Coleus Redhead. Loved for their striking red leaves, they are a vibrant and eye-catching addition to any home that wants to make a statement.

To keep this plant thriving, keep the soil consistently moist. If you find its leaves look a little droopy, that’s your cue to give it a drink.

Feeding your Coleus Redhead is another must. During the growing season, feed it every two weeks. Use water-soluble, all-purpose plant food and it will reward you with plenty of new red leaves.

5. Rex Begonia

If you’re seeking a houseplant that offers both gorgeous colours and textures, look no further than the Rex Begonia.

With leaves that shimmer in the light, the Rex Begonia is a show-stopping plant. It has spiralled leaves, brushed with streaks of silver on a deep burgundy red leaf.

However, you should note that these plants need a bit more attention than others on this list. They’d prefer a more humid environment, which you can easily create with a pebble tray filled with water or frequent misting.

6. Cordyline Red Star

This striking houseplant has deep, burgundy-red leaves that form a dazzling contrast with its pale, cream-coloured flowers.

  • Cordyline Red Star thrives under bright, indirect sunlight, so a north or east-facing window would be ideal. However, it won’t sulk if subjected to some shade either.
  • Water the plant only when the top two inches of soil dries out completely. Keeping the soil soggy could invite root rot.
  • With respect for its temperature preferences, remember it enjoys a warm surrounding but can survive temperatures as low as -15 degrees centigrade.

7. Chinese Evergreen ‘Red Valentine’

If striking foliage is what you’re after, you won’t be disappointed with the Chinese Evergreen ‘Red Valentine’.

This variety is renowned for its spectacular dark green leaves streaked with shades of red and pink.

The Chinese Evergreen ‘Red Valentine’ is a low-maintenance plant which, like many others on this list, thrives in low to medium light conditions. What’s more, it’s drought-tolerant. This means it doesn’t mind occasional bouts of neglect.

Another great feature of this plant is its air-purifying properties. It not only adds a splash of colour to your area but also helps improve the air quality, making it a perfect addition for those aiming to create a healthier indoor environment.

  • Preferred Light Conditions: Low to medium indirect light
  • Watering Needs: Moderate, allowing the soil to dry between waterings
  • Additional Care Tips: Keep away from direct sunlight as it can burn the leaves

Note: While the Chinese Evergreen ‘Red Valentine’ is a delightful houseplant, it’s important to remember that it can be toxic if ingested. Keep it out of the reach of pets, particularly cats and dogs.

8. Oxalis Purple Shamrock

You might ask, why is a plant named ‘Purple Shamrock’ on a list of red foliage houseplants? Well, the Oxalis Purple Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis) carries a deep, velvety purple tone on the surface but under bright light, it reflects a vibrant burgundy-red hue.

Its leaves also fold up at night and during spring and summer, pink or white trumpet-shaped flowers sprout!

9. Nerve Plant

This plant owes its moniker to the unique and detailed patterns on its leaves, much like a detailed network of nerves. The contrast of vibrant red veins against lush green foliage is pretty cool.

It’s a petite plant, usually reaching up to 6 inches in height which makes it a great choice for desks or windowsills where you might be looking for something more compact.

The Nerve Plant is a fan of humid climates and thrives in temperatures ranging from 16 to 27 degrees Celsius. It enjoys indirect light and should be watered regularly, but be careful as they can be quite susceptible to root rot if overwatered.

  • Light: Indirect, bright light.
  • Temperature: From 16 to 27 degrees Celsius.
  • Water: Keep soil humid but be cautious not to overwater.
  • Size: Petite, usually grows around 6 inches.

10. Red Emerald Ripple Peperomia

Famous for its durable nature and breathtaking, heart-shaped, red-purplish leaves, we’ve really saved the best until last on this list. The Red Emerald Rippler Peperomia is a compact deep red houseplant.

The leaves of Red Emerald Ripple Peperomia are uniquely textured, and its ‘rippling’ effect is where it gets its name. The dark side veins are a lovely contrast to the deep red hue of the leaf, making it visually stunning.

In terms of care requirements, it enjoys moderate to bright indirect light and you should always avoid direct light as it might cause the leaves to lose their vibrant colour.

One thing you don’t need to worry about much with these plants is humidity, as they’ll adapt find to the average humidity in your home.

Additional Tips: Caring for Your Red Leaf Houseplants

Choosing plants with red leaves can really make your interior decor pop. However, to keep them looking their best, you’ll need to ensure you’re providing them with the appropriate care.

Follow these handy tips, and you’ll have happy, healthy red houseplants.

  • Lighting: Most red-leafed houseplants thrive in bright but indirect light. Keep them near a window, but out of direct sunlight to prevent the leaves from getting burnt.
  • Water: While the specific watering needs can vary from plant to plant, a good rule of thumb is to allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Never let your plant sit in standing water, as this can cause root rot.
  • Humidity: Many red-leafed houseplants come from humid environments. To that end, you might need to mist your plants regularly or use a humidifier, especially during drier months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How often should I water my red-leaf houseplants?

Most red-leaf houseplants prefer to dry out somewhat between waterings, which can be roughly once a week in many cases.

However, factors such as plant size, pot material, and room climate can affect watering frequency. Perform a simple finger test by sticking a digit into the soil to check moisture levels before watering.

Q2. Where is the best place to put a red-leaf houseplant in my house?

Most of these plants require bright, indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, but insufficient light might diminish the vibrancy of the red colours.

An east or north-facing window is often an ideal location to avoid scorching the red leaves.

Q3. What kind of soil is best for my red-leaf houseplants?

A well-draining potting mix is usually a safe choice for most houseplants with red leaves. Remember, soggy soil can lead to root rot, which is detrimental to your plant. Adding in a bit of perlite to the mix is always a good idea.

Q4. How often should I fertilise my red-leaf houseplants?

For most houseplants, fertilising once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) is sufficient. During autumn and winter, a lower feeding frequency is recommended due to reduced growth rates. Before fertilising, make sure to conduct a little research on your specific plant’s needs.

Q5. Are red-leaf houseplants safe for pets and children?

While some red leafed plants are safe, others can be mildly toxic or irritating if ingested or touched. The risk depends on the plant species. Always consider the safety of your plant choices if you have curious kids or pets around the house.

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