11 Colorful Houseplants with Red & Green Leaves for Every Taste

indoor plants with red and green leaves

If you want to enrich your living space or plant corner with out-of-ordinary colors, select indoor plants decorated with an unusual combination of red and green leaves.

Such plants easily fit into any interior, always stand out and, more importantly, attract attention and admiration!

They are just as attractive in combination with green-leaved plants as when growing as single, solitary plants.

Where Does the Red Color Come From?

The pigments in the plant’s tissue are responsible for the color of the leaves. Chlorophyll is a primary plant pigment that absorbs the light spectrum’s violet, blue, orange, and red parts. It is reflected in our eyes as green.

Yet, some plants contain the pigment anthocyanin. It absorbs the green part of the spectrum and reflects blue and red colors. Our eyes recognize it as shades of purple, maroon, or red.

A high concentration of anthocyanin occurs in many tropical and subtropical plants, including many succulents. It protects the plant from too-bright light and harmful UV radiation.

Besides, this natural defense mechanism is pleasing to the human eye. It makes these plants a noteworthy and desirable addition to any home collection.

11 Houseplants With Red & Green Leaves

Each plant, decorated with a red pattern on its leaves, is beautiful in its own way. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so we have prepared for you a selection of eleven beautiful plants that can satisfy different tastes: from those who like a jungle-like atmosphere, desert minimalism, and succulents to those who prefer small, delicate filigree plants.

1. Croton – Codiaeum Variegatum

red croton plant indoor
Credit: Trish Williams Shegelski

Codiaeum Variegatum is one of the most decorative species from the Codiaeum genus. Today you can choose between more than 100 cultivars of different colors, leaf shapes and sizes.

But they all have one thing in common: astounding coloration in warm shades of red, orange, golden yellow, and green on shiny, leathery leaves.

This magnificent bushy plant in nature grows up to 10 feet tall, while indoors, it usually reaches a height of 3 or 4 feet and the same width.

It needs a lot of intense but indirect light to show its gorgeous colors. So, place it next to a south or west window. Too far from the light source, it loses its colors, grows slowly, and produces fewer new leaves.

Croton may be demanding to grow because it reacts dramatically to changes. It sheds leaves due to sudden temperature fluctuations, too little or too much water.

Yet, once it gets used to the environment, Croton doesn’t ask for much! Do not move it from one place to another; water it twice a week in spring and summer, and regularly spray its leaves. It likes higher humidity (40-80%)! Weekly misting or pebble trays will help to meet its needs.

And a warning: Wear gloves when handling Croton and keep it out of the reach of children and pets! Like other plants from the Euphorbiaceae family, all parts contain toxic milky sap. that may irritate the skin of sensitive people.

2. Crassula ‘Red Pagoda’ (Crassula Capitella ssp. Thyrsiflora)

Crassula Red Pagoda
Credit: Joy Garden Succulent

Crassula Capitella ‘Red pagoda’ is a charming, low-growing succulent from South Africa. It has triangular fleshy leaves tightly strung on the stem in a propeller-like formation.

Bright green leaves get crimson-red tips and edges. The redness on the leaves is more intense during the winter when there is less natural light.

New shoots grow close together, creating dense mats up to 6 inches high and 18 inches wide.

It looks great in a container on the sunny windowsill. It can also be grown in hanging baskets to spill over the pot edge.

Red pagoda, like all crassula, is a simple plant to grow. It needs a well-drained loamy, sandy substrate, a sunny place, and occasional watering. Do not overdo it with watering! Thickened leaves deposit water reserves making the plant resistant to drought.

But the water in the leaves at low temperatures turns into crystals that destroy the tissue. In winter, protect it from frost and keep it in a room with a minimum temperature of 50°F.

3. ‘Carmina’ Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

red polka dot plant

A lovely and delicate herbaceous perennial from the Acanthaceae family, Carmina Polka Dot is one of over 100 Hypoestes Phyllostachya varieties.

It is a small, low, bushy plant with thin, pointed, oval, or heart-shaped leaves. The dark green leaf surface is sprinkled with freckle-like irregular red spots. It inspired its common name Freckle Face Plant.

Despite its modest size of one foot in width and height, the intense red on the leaves makes it a striking, eye-catching decoration in any room.

Besides its unquestionable appeal, this is also a plant that is not difficult to grow. It thrives best next to an east or west window with plenty of indirect light. Low light conditions cause pale color and leggy unwieldy growth.

Polka dot prefers slightly acidic soil (6.0 -6.5), which is always moderately moist.

A thirsty plant immediately hangs its leaves. But they straighten up as soon as you water it.

It needs protection from low temperatures. Even at a temperature of 50°F, the plant shows weakness and slows its growth. The ideal temperature is about 75°F throughout the year.

4. Red Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Siam Aurora)

agloneama siam aurora

The Asian native, Agloneama, or Chinese Evergreen, is a hardy and undemanding plant that even beginners can grow.

This lush air purifier from the Araceae family can be found in many varieties today. Siam Aurora Aglaonema (aka. Aglaonema Red Lipstick) is one of a few recently created red-mottled leaf varieties.

The plant has long, glossy, oval, pointed leaves. They grow on short reddish stalks forming upright clumps 1 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. Magnificent leaves, 4 to 8 inches long, have red edges, spots, and veins.

Unlike other green-white varieties, Siam Aurora prefers high to moderate light. The plant shows its full decorative potential in intense but indirect lighting.

South and west windows are a good choice! The beauty gives green foliage in a dark corner with barely noticeable, pale red edges.

Its leaves can sometimes be sticky. It doesn’t have to be a cause for alarm! This plant excretes excess liquid through the stomata on the leaves. The natural mechanism is guttation, which is not a sign of illness!

Inspect the plant just in case, though! Sap-sucking insects such as aphids, scales, and thrips can also cause sticky leaves.

5. ‘Red Kiss’ Begonia Rex

red kiss rex begonia

‘Red Kiss’ Begonia Rex, with metallic red leaves, dark, almost black center and margins, looks more like an artificial creation than a real, living plant. It is truly a plant of royal beauty!

The colorful eye-catcher belongs to the rhizomatous begonias. It is a blooming plant that produces clustered tiny pink flowers in mid-summer. Yet, gorgeous foliage is its main attraction.

Its slender, fleshy stems grow close above the ground, carrying alternately arranged leaves. The plant reaches a height of 30 to 40 inches and an equal width.

Despite its out-of-this-world appearance, this is not a capricious, demanding plant. Growing it is not a difficult task. It feels comfortable in bright places without direct contact with the sun, at room temperature, and evenly moist soil.

Water it once a week during the growing season and every ten to fifteen days in the winter.

Always water the plant under the leaf rosette, avoiding wetting the leaves. The upper leaf plate is covered with tiny hairs which keep water droplets, increasing the risk of fungal diseases.

6. Red Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata Obliqua ‘California Red Tip’)

california red tip jade plant

The popular Jade plant or Money tree is a durable, cute succulent that grows naturally in a lovely bonsai form. Round, thickened leaves in most species have discrete reddish edges due to exposure to the sun.

But the variety ‘California Red Tip’ came to our list for a reason: With several hours of direct sunlight daily, its leaves take on an intense red color.

At the same time, the base of the leaf, less exposed to the sun, remains green. The green and red tones rank the ‘California Red Tips’ among the most attractive Crassula ovata varieties.

Like other plants in the genus, California Red Tips are easy to maintain. They need sporadic watering, protection from frost, well-lit places, and sandy, well-drained substrate.

It is a long-lived but slow-growing species. With annual growth of only two inches per year, it takes decades to reach its full size of 3 to 4 feet.

7. Caladium ‘Red Flash’

The masterpiece of nature, Caladium Red Flash, is a breathtaking variety.

The intense red color of the leaf’s middle and the veins gradually change to olive green towards the edges. The large 12 inches long and 8 inches wide, heart-shaped leaves are often sprinkled with pink or cream dots.

The foliage grows on 12 to 30-inch-long, green, firm upright stems. It appears from an irregular, tuberous root creating up to three feet tall rosettes.

Unfortunately, you cannot enjoy the authentic beauty of its leaves all year round. In autumn, the leaves die out, and the plant enters a dormant phase when metabolism continues in the tuber.

Yet, you can keep the plant for next season. In the fall, allow the soil in the container to dry and remove the withered leaves. Then, cover the container with a paper bag, and store it over the winter in an unheated, dry room. Next spring, when the day gets longer, bring the container into a warm and bright room.

Since awakening caladium requires a temperature of at least 60 or 65°F, place the container on a heat mat. Or you can place the pot above a radiator or other heating element to speed up the process.

8. Poinsetta (Euphorbia Pulcherrima)

poinsettia indoor plant

Christmas Star or Poinsettia is an intruder on this list. Its red leaves are not true leaves. They are bracts, modified leaves surrounding tiny yellow flowers at the top of the stem.

Yet, botanical accuracy aside, the Poinsetta finds a place on our list because its bracts look like leaves and are really red!

The Poinsettia comes from the milkweed family. It is a sizable shrub that can grow up to 15 feet in the wild. But the plants we get for the holidays usually don’t grow more than 2 feet.

Its root is branched and firmly holds the plant in the ground. The stem is upright and green, but after two years, it becomes woody. The leaves are dark green, large, and pointed, with several teeth on each side.

The plant is most attractive from October to January when it enters the flowering phase.

It got its Latin name after the Greek physician Euphorbius, who treated the Numidian king Jubo with its juices. We don’t know how successful the treatment was, but today we know its sap is poisonous!

Although Poinsettia is a perennial plant, it is mostly used as a temporary, affordable Christmas decoration. Keeping the plant alive until the next season is a challenge, indeed!

9. Siam Ruby Banana (Musa Siam Rubi)

Credit: greenthumbsfingerstoes

Ornamental Siam Ruby Banana is an excellent choice for lovers of large-leaved plants. Besides the unmistakable tropical atmosphere, this plant offers a unique blend of dark ruby tones and chartreuse green patches on its elongated oval leaves.

If you get a young plant, don’t be surprised if it is green! The leaves will turn red as soon as it grows over 12 inches.

With plenty of indirect light, it also needs enough space since it can grow up to 8 meters high, and the graceful foliage creates a spacious canopy.

Bananas are quite thirsty plants! They need abundant watering every week during the growing season. And they are great feeders too! A portion of balanced fertilizer once a month from spring to autumn will make them happy!

10. Red Nerve Plant (Fittonia Albivenis)

Credit: plantnix.md

The nerve plant was discovered at the beginning of the 19th century in the rainforests of South America. The small perennial quickly became a popular indoor plant due to the contrasting nerve network that crosses the leaf plate.

Red nerve plant is a variety with dense, red vein network oven the dark green surface of the leaf.

This plant likes moderation in everything: Too much sun harms it, but it fades if it is in too deep a shadow. It likes water but decays in too-wet soil and dries out in too-dry substrate!

You must balance the position, room temperature, and watering schedule to grow it successfully. This delicate beauty also needs frequent spraying or a pebble tray: dry air causes ugly brittle, crispy edges.

Once you provide it with acceptable conditions, you will get a colorful little bush three to six inches high and a slightly trailing spread of 12 to 18 inches.

11. Coleus’ Under the Sea Electric Coral’

Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/CtNPac5PKQr/?img_index=1

The herbaceous perennial from the Lamiaceae family, with spectacularly variegated foliage, can be found in an almost inexhaustible combination of colors, shapes, and leaf sizes.

We singled out “Under the Sea Electric Coral” coleus among all these beauties. Just a look at this plant explains why. A wide chartreuse edge frames ruffled, filigree lobed leaves in several pinkish-red, red, and maroon tones.

It resembles nettle leaves in shape and size, also called painted nettle. But, they do not cause a burning sensation when touched because they do not contain tiny crystal needles like common nettle leaves.

Besides its irresistible appearance, the plant has several other advantages! It is cheap, easy to grow, and easy to propagate!

But it also has one drawback! In winter, it tends to drop most leaves and turn pale, so it doesn’t look pretty. It is why it is often grown as an annual species.

Yet, if you keep it in a sunny window in the winter and trim it in the spring to stimulate new growth, you can have it for several years.

Young plants are much more attractive than old ones, so you can get a new one every year or propagate new specimens by cuttings in the spring.

Also, as soon as it starts to bloom, remove the buds! First, they are not attractive. Second, removing them encourage the development of side shoots, which results in a more attractive, fuller form.

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