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Red Rose Bushes
Red and orange are eye-popping colors. That is why so many people seek shrubs with red flowers or with orange flowers that they can grow in the yard. Such shrubs turn heads with their blossoms, giving them specimen-plant status when they are in bloom. Let's begin with a few examples that are very cold-hardy.
Red is a valued color for rose bushes because the red rose is a symbol of romance. But there is nothing romantic about having to put a lot of work into caring for roses. That is the reason why so many gardeners grow easy-to-care-for types, such as the Candy Oh Vivid Red landscape rose (Rosa 'Zlemartincipar'). This plant with flowers in a candy-apple red color will bloom all summer long for you, with very little care from you. Grow it in full sun, in zones 4 to 9. It becomes 3 to 4 feet tall, with a similar width.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Golden Oriole Azaleas
If you have grown azalea bushes for a long time, you may regard the pink and white versions of these spring-blooming favorites as rather ho-hum. If you are ready to inject a more vibrant color into your yard in spring, try a type of azalea that has some orange color in its flowers. Golden Oriole azalea (Rhododendron 'Golden Oriole') is one great choice. The flowers have the most orange in them while the bush is still in bud. But a hint of orange remains even after the flowers have fully opened.
Grow Golden Oriole in full to partial sun, in zones 5 to 8. It becomes 6 feet in height, with a spread of 4 to 6 feet.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Pure Orange Azaleas: Gibraltar
The Gibraltar cultivar is an even better choice for lovers of pure orange. Rhododendron 'Gibraltar,' like 'Golden Oriole,' does not offer much interest outside of the spring season. But these orange azaleas make a powerful statement in the spring landscape.
Grow Gibraltar in partial sun, in zones 5 to 8. It becomes 5 to 6 feet tall, with a spread of 4 to 6 feet, after 10 years.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Maybe red is your go-to color for jazzing up an outdoor living space. In that case, try the Stewartstonian azalea (Rhododendron x Gable 'Stewartstonian'). A bonus in growing this red-flowered plant is that it also offers nice fall color. In fact, Stewartstonian is an evergreen shrub. So it provides you with year-round interest in your yard.
Stewartstonian becomes 4 to 5 feet tall, with a similar spread. Grow it in partial shade, in zones 5 to 8.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Flowering quince shrubs (Chaenomeles speciosa) commonly come in shades of orange, pink, and red. White (for example, the 'Jet Trail' cultivar) is not quite as popular. If you are looking for a shrub with red flowers, Scarlet Storm quince (Chaenomeles speciosa 'Scarlet Storm') is one of the best choices. For orange flowers, grow Orange Storm (Chaenomeles speciosa 'Orange Storm'). Like azaleas, flowering quince is a springtime bloomer.
This shrub becomes 6 to 10 feet tall, with a similar spread. Grow flowering quince in full sun, in zones 4 to 9.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Let's now look at the best shrubs with red flowers or orange flowers suited to warm climates. They can be grown outside in the North, too, but only during the summer. Some, such as this first example, are commonly grown in containers by Northerners.
Flowering maple (Abutilon x hybridum) is so called because it bears lovely flowers and has leaves shaped like those on a maple tree (Acer spp.). Flowering maple can be grown outdoors year-round only in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 to 10. It becomes 8 feet tall and wide. Grow it in full sun to partial shade.Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Mexican Bird of Paradise
Mexican bird of paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) bears orange flowers and is a favorite landscape plant in areas around the Mojave Desert, which is a hint as to just how drought-tolerant a shrub this bush is. In fact, the whole genus holds up well under dry growing conditions. Here are some other examples (all suited to full sun and to zones 8 to 11):
- Red bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
- Yellow bird of paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii)
Caesalpinia plants bloom March through October in hot climates.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Some bushes in the Hibiscus genus are cold-hardy, while others can survive outdoors year-round only in the tropics. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is widely grown in the North. It is valued as one of the late-summer flowering shrubs that give you shrub color at a time of year when many bushes are no longer blooming.
But Rose of Sharon (which commonly flowers in pink, white, or lavender) is not the only kind of hibiscus that is hardy. A related plant actually goes by the common name, "hardy hibiscus" (Hibiscus moschuetos). Hardy hibiscus also blooms in late summer (both plants like full sun). It is a perennial that becomes 3 or 4 feet tall and wide, but it's often treated as a shrub. Disco Belle (Hibiscus moschuetos 'Disco Belle') is one type that offers red flowers.
But another attractive type of hardy hibiscus is the Summerific Perfect Storm (Hibiscus moschuetos 'Summerific Perfect Storm'). This gorgeous plant need not take a back seat even to its cousin from the tropics, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis when it comes to sheer beauty. But Hibiscus rosa-sinensis does provide another option for Northerners who want red flowers and don't mind bringing a plant indoors for the winter.
Fewer gardeners have heard of scarlet rosemallow (Hibiscus coccineus) because it is not quite as hardy (only zone 6). But if you live in zones 6 to 9, this plant is well worth growing for its deep red flowers. Select a location in the sun or in partial shade for it. The plant has a height of 5 to 8 feet, with a spread of 2 to 3 feet.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Crimson bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus) is in the myrtle family of plants. It is also known as lemon bottlebrush due to the fact that its leaves have a citrusy smell to them. The shrub stands 6 to 12 feet tall and has a spread of 6 to 9 feet. Grow it in full sun, in zones 8 to 10.
The genus is native to Australia. Other kinds of Callistemon exist, as well, and all are plants that attract hummingbirds and bloom mid-summer to late summer. For example, Callistemon viminalis 'Neon Pink' has deep pink blooms. Suited to zones 8 to 11 and full sun, it is a fast-growing shrub. When mature, it stands 8 to 12 feet tall, with a width of 8 to 10 feet.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Most Northern gardeners know lantana (Lantana camara) as a plant grown in a hanging pot during the summer. But the plant grows as a shrub in zone 8 and warmer. As a shrub, it can attain a height of 6 feet, with a spread of 8 feet. It often has orange flowers, but it also comes in yellow, white, or red. Some types are bi-colored. There is also a species known as Lantana montevidensis. It works even better in hanging baskets than does Lantana camara since it has a weeping habit. It bears light purple blooms. Lantana is a plant that draws butterflies to the landscape, blooms all summer long, and likes full sun.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Pincushion Protea (Leucospermum) is an African native, where it blooms in late spring. It is an evergreen shrub in zones 9 to 11. This drought-tolerant shrub measures about 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide when mature. It will grow best in full sun. The flowers are sometimes used in floral arrangements. Cultivars include:
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- 'Scarlet Ribbon' (red flowers)
- 'High Gold' (yellow flowers)
- 'Tango' (orange flowers)
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Bougainvilleas With Red or Orange Flowers
The Bougainvillea plant commonly bears magenta, pink, white, or red flowers. It can be either a vine or a shrub. Be careful of the thorns on the stems. All types grow to a length of about 30 feet (if not pruned into a shrub form). All are suited to zones 9 to 11 and to a location in full sun. Red types include:
- 'Double Red' (double flowers, ranging in color from scarlet to magenta)
- 'Tomato Red' (orange-red color)
- 'Don Fernando' (flowers with both red and orange in them)
But there are also types with yellow or orange flowers, including:
- 'California Gold' (golden flowers)
- 'Orange King' (orange flowers)
Because the showy feature on Bougainvillea is a bract, not a true flower, it is long-lasting and furnishes color for most of the year in hot climates.