13 Varieties of Red Evergreen Shrubs

There is no better option to anchor your landscape design than shrubs. Evergreens, in particular, are generally low-maintenance, and in addition to visual appeal, they’re also practical as space-defining hedges, privacy barriers, and foundation plantings.

But, red evergreen shrubs are really something special, adding an energetic mix of color and contrast that can bring any dull garden space to life.

Originally evolving in areas with consistent access to light, fewer green chlorophyll cells are needed for sufficient photosynthesis. Making room for carotene cells to rise to the surface. Creating shrubs in shades of cardinal, crimson, and wine.

Types of Red Evergreens

When considering red evergreen shrubs, the right choice starts by answering the following questions:

  • Would you prefer a shrub where the foliage is the star of the show?
  • Or are you looking to add flowers and autumn fruit, as well?

‘Winter Bronzing’ Types

This occurs when green chlorophyll cells respond to lower temperatures and light levels by slowing production, allowing underlying red pigments to show through.

Flowering or Fruiting Varieties

These display their red features as flowers or fruit. The process of flowering and/or fruiting, while visually beautiful, is simply a means of self-propagation.

13 Varieties of Red Evergreen Shrubs

Each of these glorious shrubs displays red characteristics in unique ways. They come in different sizes and with different care and hardiness zone recommendations.

Be sure to read all the way to the end so you don’t miss out on a potential favorite that will best suit your intended planting location.

Flirt™ Nandina Shrub

1. Flirt™ Nandina Shrub (Physocarpus opulifolius)

  • Hardiness Zones: 6a-10b
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Ideal Position: Full to partial sun and free-draining soil.
  • Difficulty: Tolerant of drought, relatively cold temperatures, and a range of soil types.

This Nandina hybrid matures to just 2’ tall and wide, developing packed branches full of small, spear-shaped leaves that shine a bronze-red, before fading to green in winter.

Small, white flowers appear in spring that don’t produce seeds. This a nice detail that adds ‘non-invasive’ to its list of attractive features.

Regular watering and a yearly dose of all-purpose fertilizer will keep your Nandina thriving. However, while non-hazardous for humans to grow, the National Audubon Society warns that Nandina plants are toxic to birds and other animals and should not be grown in wildlife or pollinator gardens.

'Ever Red' Loropetalum

2. ‘Ever Red’ Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense)

  • Hardiness Zones: 7-9
  • Bloom Time: Late winter to early spring
  • Ideal Position: Full sun to part shade and nutrient-rich, moist, and well-drained soils.
  • Difficulty: Highly adaptive to most growing environments in their recommended hardiness zones.

This extraordinary Lorepetalum makes an absolutely stunning hedge with evergreen foliage in deep burgundy tones and red, flared blooms, all maturing to 6’ tall and wide. Although, this non-toxic beauty can be kept small for vibrant contrast in perennial borders, as well.

The ‘Ever Red’ blooms on old wood, so heavy pruning isn’t necessary. But, it does benefit from a dose of acidic fertilizer just after blooming has ended and deep, infrequent watering.

Red Tip Photinia

3. Red Tip Photinia (Photinia × fraseri)

  • Hardiness Zones: 7-9
  • Bloom Time: Mid-spring
  • Ideal Position: Full to the dappled sun and deep, loamy soil to accommodate large roots
  • Difficulty: This is a vigorous grower and tolerant of most free-draining soil structures.

Densely packed, notched leaves emerge in an eye-catching, copper-red hue. Putting on a bi-colored show as each leaf matures to dark green.

Bountiful clusters of delicate, white flowers seem to emanate through this 10’ tall and wide, fiery hedge-like puffs of smoke.

Water the Photinia well after planting. This low maintenance hedge plant requires little beyond natural rainfall, once established. Fertilize with a balanced NPK only when planted in poor soil. Prune after spring flowering to maintain a desired shape.

Leucothoe ‘Curly Red’

4. Leucothoe ‘Curly Red’ (Leucothoe axillaris)

  • Hardiness Zones: 6-9
  • Bloom Time: Mid to late spring
  • Ideal Position: Dappled sunlight to enhance variegation and acidic soil
  • Difficulty: Low-maintenance and easy to grow in most acidic soils.

The ‘Curly Red’ Leucothoe presents undulating, evergreen growth that flows through glossy, iridescent shades of chestnut red, rich green, deep scarlet, and winter purple. All while maturing to 5’ tall and wide.

White flower clusters, reminiscent of heather, develop small, red berries. However, be aware that these and the leaves can be extremely harmful to animals.

Water Leucothoe plants just enough to keep the surrounding soil slightly damp and apply an acidic fertilizer to maintain a low soil pH for healthy nutrient absorption.

 Fire Chief™ Thuja Shrub

5. Fire Chief™ Thuja Shrub (Thuja occidentalis ‘Congabe’)

  • Hardiness Zones: 3-7
  • Ideal Position: Full sun to partial shade and evenly moist, well-drained soil.
  • Difficulty: Highly adaptive to most growing environments in their recommended hardiness zones.

This slow-growing Arborvitae requires minimal care. Yet adds intriguing, evergreen color to cold-climate landscapes. Dusty red and gold tips highlight new spring and summer growth, which deepens to a rich red in autumn. 

The following spring this same growth will appear a vibrant green, releasing new jewel-toned tips as the shrub matures to 3’ tall and wide.

Substantial watering is required just after planting, tapering off to long periods of drought, once established. Fertilize in spring with an evergreen-formulated NPK.

Firethorn Shrub

6. Firethorn Shrub (Pyracantha x ‘Mohave’)

  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Bloom/Fruiting Time: Spring through fall
  • Ideal Position: Full Sun to light shade and relatively dry, free-draining soil.
  • Difficulty: Will grow in poor soil, yet performs best in a fertile environment.

The ‘Mohave’ Firethorn hybrid carries a resistance against blight and pest attacks and an ability to thrive in challenging locations. 

Small, narrow leaves cover a densely growing structure that reaches 8’-12’ tall and wide. Delicate, white flower bundles erupt in spring. Followed by a wave of orange-red, non-toxic berries. 

Water deeply and apply a general-purpose fertilizer to promote vigorous growth and blooming. Prune only to maintain a well-groomed hedge.

Spiraea 'Double Play Big Bang'

7. Spiraea ‘Double Play Big Bang’ (Spiraea japonica)

  • Hardiness Zones: 3-8
  • Bloom Time: Spring through fall
  • Ideal Position: Full Sun to light shade and well-draining soil.
  • Difficulty: Adaptable, requiring minimal care in a variety of soil types.

This hybrid presents an array of vibrant foliage colors, including fuschia and red, with panicles of pink blooms that attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

While off-putting to deer, this Spiraea is listed as non-toxic to people and pets.

Regular watering and a 10-10-10 NPK will promote a mature size of 3ft tall and wide. Deadheading blooms will stimulate further leaf and bud development.

Hebe ‘Frozen Flame’

8. Hebe ‘Frozen Flame’ (Veronica speciosa)

  • Hardiness Zones: 8a-10b
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Ideal Position: Full sun to light shade and moist, well-drained soil.
  • Difficulty: Relatively low-maintenance in borders and container gardens.

The ‘Frozen Flame’ is non-toxic and named for its dazzling red and green variegated foliage that matures to a deep purple and pale green as winter approaches. This is an excellent choice for pollinator gardens, as its 4’ tall and wide structure, covered in small, lavender flowers, is brimming with nectar and pollen.

Once established, regular watering is usually sufficient with little to no fertilizer being necessary. Potted specimens will require more frequent watering and fertilizing, due to leaching.

Weigela 'Wine and Roses'

9. Weigela ‘Wine and Roses (Weigela Florida ‘Alexandra’)

  • Hardiness Zones: 4-8
  • Bloom Time: Late spring, repeating in mid-summer
  • Ideal Position: Full sun and moist, loamy soil.
  • Difficulty: Deer resistant, drought-tolerant, and little-to-no maintenance once established.

The Weigela Florida hedge plant may not be evergreen, but it presents the most vivid red foliage making it an equally strong contender when considering plants with red leaves for your garden.

The completely non-toxic ‘wine and Roses’ weigela reaches 5’ tall and wide, at maturity. Creating a stunning hedge or garden feature. Glossy, burgundy foliage remains steadfast throughout the growing season, adding shiny, pink trumpet flowers to the mix that hummingbirds love!

Water weekly or bi-weekly, allowing the soil to dry out in between and fertilize with a 10-10-10 NPK for lush growth and blooming.

Pieris Mountain Fire Plant

10. Pieris Mountain Fire Plant (Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’)

  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Bloom Time: Early spring
  • Ideal Position: Full sun to part shade and free draining, slightly acidic soil.
  • Difficulty: Drought-tolerant, hardy, and low-maintenance shrub.

Long, lanceolate leaves emerge a striking copper-red from a bed of mature foliage that spans 8’ tall by 6’ wide, at maturity. Cascading plumes of small, white flowers complete the spring presentation.

Once established, the Mountain Fire is drought tolerant and will thrive on rainfall, alone. Water only in times of prolonged drought. Fertilizing and pruning are also rarely necessary.

It’s important to note, however, that this plant contains Grayanotoxins that can negatively affect the heart, brain, and nervous system of people and pets.

Autumn Bonfire® Encore® Azalea

11. Autumn Bonfire® Encore® Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Robleza’)

  • Hardiness Zones: 6-10
  • Bloom Time: Late sprint to the first autumn frost
  • Ideal Position: Full or partial sun-moist, well-draining, acidic soil.
  • Difficulty: Hardy, pest/disease resistant, and low maintenance

Azaleas offer an impeccable combination of form, function, and luxurious beauty, plus they also make great companion plants. Those that bloom red raise these features to new heights. The Bonfire Encore is a perfect example.

Reaching 3’ tall and wide, this hybrid presents both single and double blooms of brilliant red that repeat several times throughout spring and summer, with rich green foliage remaining evergreen through winter.

Water weekly and fertilizer with a balanced NPK for acid-loving plants. Light pruning will encourage more blooms and denser foliage.

Yuletide Camellia (Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide')

12. Yuletide Camellia (Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’)

  • Hardiness Zones: 7-9
  • Bloom/Fruiting Time: Late fall to early spring
  • Ideal Position: Partial sun and well-draining, acidic soil.
  • Difficulty: Relatively dry soil with filtered morning sun and afternoon shade.

Abundant red blooms are triggered on this 10’ tall and wide shrub by declining autumn temperatures and light levels. Filling your garden with vibrant flowers and glossy, green foliage when most other plants are dormant.

The American Camellia Society advises that this non-toxic, winter bloomer is a heavy feeder and performs best with regular feedings with balanced NPK. One inch of water per week will ensure the proper metabolism of these nutrients.

13. Red Oleander (Nerium oleander)

13. Red Oleander (Nerium oleander)

  • Hardiness Zones: 8-10b
  • Bloom/Fruiting Time: Early summer to mid-autumn
  • Ideal Position: Full sun and well-drained, acidic-to-alkaline soil.
  • Difficulty: Virtually maintenance-free with sufficient rainfall; tolerant of heat and drought.

Reaching 8-12’ tall and wide, the red-blooming Oleander produces an upright growing habit and a generous yield of vibrant, trumpet flowers scattered among long, lanceolate leaves.

Oleander is a popular option for creating carefree privacy barriers around large plots of land. However, being highly toxic, it’s not recommended for planting in spaces where children and animals wander.

During periods of extended drought, water these plants deeply yet infrequently and feed with a triple 10 NPK for increased blooming in poor soil.

Plant Care for Healthy Hedges

No matter which of these sensational red evergreens has become your favorite, their nutritional needs are fairly similar. A balanced NPK with added secondary nutrients like magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc will support vibrant color and lush growth.

The difference lies in the soil pH preferences of each. Azaleas, Pieris Mountain Fire, leucothoe, oleander, and camellias all need a lower pH (acidic soil) in order to properly absorb nutrients. When growing these, make sure that your balanced fertilizer includes sulfur to increase soil acidity.

What makes each of these low-maintenance is the fact that they need deep yet infrequent watering (weekly or bi-weekly), full or partial sun (a common aspect around most homes), and are tolerant of most soil types.

Many of the red evergreen shrubs on this list can also be propagated through cuttings, if you feel inclined to add more of them to your landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

What bush stays red all summer?

The Flirt™ Nandina Shrub and ‘Ever Red’ Loropetalum shine a brilliant red all summer before darkening to a rich green as winter approaches. Deciduous shrubs like Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’, Smokebush varieties, and Japanese Barberry also offer red, summer foliage before dropping their leaves in autumn. 

What evergreen shrub turns red in the fall?

The Firethorn Shrub and Fire Chief™ Thuja Shrub put on a fantastic fall show as evergreen foliage loses chlorophyll and ebbs to a vibrant red and flowers give way to great swathes of red berries.

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.