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Midwest Regional Reports

Designing With Red in the Midwest

A color that can make or break your design, red adds a splash of excitement to your garden

This red-themed planting incorporates different shades of red flowers and foliage from plants such as ‘Redhead’ coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides ‘Redhead’, Zones 10–11), 'Painted Lady' eyelash sage (Salvia blepharophylla 'Painted Lady', Zones 7–9), 'Dr. Les' dahlia (Dahlia ‘Dr. Les’, Zones 8–11), and 'Inferno' copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana 'Inferno', Zones 10–11). Glossy black foliage in the form of black varnish plant (Pseuderanthemum carruthersii var. atropurpureum, Zones 10–11) adds contrast in the planting’s center. Photo: Erin Presley

Even the most intrepid gardeners might admit a fear of the color red, especially us easy-going and mild-mannered Midwesterners. Red’s energy carries connotations of warmth, passion, and even danger. In the garden, red stops us in our tracks and evokes a reaction. Too fiery, too dramatic, too much? Just right? February is a notoriously dreary month in the Midwest, but for Valentine’s Day month I’m inviting the dynamic energy of red to add a spark to your winter daydreams and future summer color palette. Learn to love red by keeping these tips in mind.

Easy Wave® Burgundy Velour spreading petunia
The berry-colored red of Easy Wave® Burgundy Velour spreading petunia (Petunia ‘PAS933562’, Zones 10–11) combined with the tomato red of SunPatiens® Compact Fire Red impatiens (Impatiens ‘SAKIMPO37’, Zones 10–11) might not be to everyone’s taste. Photo: Erin Presley

Tomato vs. berry

Botanically, tomatoes ARE berries, but for today let’s not split root hairs. When…

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