seeking tall red flower

yardmartyrJune 6, 2007

I have this space in one of my beds and this is what would be perfect in it: a long-blooming (I'm thinking June-Oct; I'm dreaming, right?), low-maintenance, appx 3-ft tall red flower. Oh, and it would be great if it didn't need staking. Is there such a thing? Thanks.

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pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)

The two tall red things in my garden are Bee Balm "garden scarlet" (monarda didyma) and Cardinal Flower (lobelia something) although for me, they dont really come out nicely until July.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 2:31PM
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Thanks! Those are good choices. Something else I forgot to mention is that the site gets full sun.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 3:51PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I too have red bee balm at the back of the bed. Two other options are lychnis chalcedonia 'Scarlet Lightning' and geum 'Mrs. Bradshaw'. Both are approx. 3' tall and tolerate full sun.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 5:14PM
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Some of the tall garden phlox come in red - unfortunately, you couldn't crank out a June to October blooming period.

Reds: Starfire (red) 24-40"
Adonis (bright red) 24-40"
Tenor (scarlet red) 36"
Nicky (Magenta) 30-36"

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 5:34PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I know this is a perennial forum...but what you are describing is a zinnia!
Monarda poops out after about 3 weeks as do garden phlox, which aren't really red...more magenta..
How about a red foliage? How about chocolate eupatorium? Perhaps penstemon huskers red?
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 7:26PM
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The truest red in my garden is the Lobelia Cardinalis - fab red spikes about 3 ft high. Mine is not budding yet and I think July is more like the time they bloom.

I think that Lychnis chalcedonia and L. arkwrightii are good sort of tomato-red flowers but they wouldn't last for months in full sun. Altho I really like these Lychnis

Check the astilbes to see if there is a tall red one. I have Red Sentinel (18") in almost full sun and I like the flower color and the burgundy-ish foliage also.

You could use another red plant in front and put red dahlias behind it - like Bishop of Llandaff - knockout red!
The dahlias would start in July-August while the other plant was declining. Whoever said zinnias had a good idea too for full sun.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:40AM
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woodyswife(z5 OH)

I also have lynchis chalcedonia (maltese cross) and it is true red. It is a carefree plant, but it is best to plant it at the back of the bed, as the foilage gets a little scraggly later in the season.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 9:01AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I just sowed some Zinnias called "Will Rogers" in the butterfly garden. They are 3-4 foot tall with large 5 inch scarlet red blooms. These are mixed in with "Cut & Come again" zinnias.

While they a take 6 weeks or so to get going, Zinnias bloom all the way up until a hard frost. The photo shows the Cut & come Again Zinnias on October 2nd last year.

Btw, those zinnias tried to take over the garden last year. I had no idea they would get so huge. I sowed them a little thinner this year. :)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 9:39AM
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nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)

How about a rose? Full-sun is perfect. Don't be afraid of roses. Try one from the "Carefree" series - other than occasionally spraying for aphids, they truly are carefree and will bloom non-stop from June to frost. I planted one last year and was quite impressed. Much lower maintenance than the hybrids I used to grow.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 10:48AM
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jkunkel(zone 7)

DId you want perennials, or anuals? Zinnias are annuals. I would suggest picking out a tall reblooming red daylily. You could even go with a nice spidery type. They will come back every year and they only get prettier, and they are not fussy at all. Heres a couple that are at least 3 feet tall (scape height)have 6 inch blooms and rebloom in red-
Rosy Meyer

War March

These are really red flowers, hope you pick something good, these are both abailable at Oakes daylilies, they send Huge healthy plants that always do well in my garden! Hope this helps - Jessica

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 10:50AM
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Jessica beat me to it...I was going to suggest red daylilies too. There a lot of different ones. I really like ordering from Homestead Farms.

There's also Lychnis chalcedonica (Maltese Cross) won't bloom all summer either, but mine is blooming right now :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Homestead Farms

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:29PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

Hmmmm, I was thinking cannas. Tall, healthy, true, fire engine red flowers and pretty cool foliage as well.

Or maybe a hibiscus.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 1:39PM
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jkunkel(zone 7)

Cannas, have to be dug up every fall and replanted again in the spring after the threat of frost is gone in zone 5. Not sure if a hibiscus would be hardy there either.
A rose is a good idea also, it depends on how much space you have to spare. Lilies are tall and come in reddish colors, but im not sure if they would be hardy in zone 5 either. It probably gets pretty cold up there. I still think daylilies are your best bet, they are a dependable plant for masses of beautiful flowers, even in zone 5. Just don't order any evergreen cultivators, they don't like the cold very much.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 3:09PM
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Wow, these are all great ideas. I'm pretty intrigued with the daylily suggestion, and an office mate mentioned lupines as an option. By the way, these flowers would be going behind a row of Rozanne geraniums and in front of an Etoile Violette clematis. I've got other colors in the garden but a blast of red just seems like it would work perfectly there.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 4:40PM
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I didn't realize I had this much red till I started looking at old pictures. I'm glad you brought it up. I'm not crazy about the combo of the yellow oenothera and astilbe red sentinel + Lychnis arkwrightii, reminds of Lifesavers. In my garden L. arkwrightii politely resows to make a nice area, and the L. chalcedonia eventually died out. They are both shallow rooted and easy to pull. They were planted together originally.

The daylily afficionadoes can tell you about rebloom, but in my experience daylilies have the heaviest flush on the first bloom which would be June, then rebloom is sporadic, and not into the fall months. And they take up a lot of space for the amt of rebloom if you are trying to fit them in a border. I have a few big red daylilies and they don't rebloom. Maybe hybrids or dwarfs are better.

Lobelia cardinalis is still my favorite for color - but it prefers more moisture than zinnias or daylilies. It is a straight narrow plant that reaches maybe 3-4' depending on how much sun and stretching its doing. It expands a small clump slightly every yr - you would dig to divide. This is a part sun area. bloomed till Oct. July 22, 2006

Here is a different part of the garden - and the lobelia in tucked way in the back of a border in shade
Both on August 25, 2006 - everything was late last yr

This is Monarda Jacob Klein bloomed til end August. It blooms at different times in different parts of the garden. Monarda is a clumping spreader by runners and if it likes the conditions will start pushing other things out of the way. So either give it room or plan to divide July 1, 2006

Lychnis is a June bloomer and then its done and the foliage is a bit straggly. This is L. arkwrightii. I call this tomato red - same color as L. macedonia. The slight variation in color is correct - it does not come true to a color as it resows - some are darker some are lighter.
June 10th 05 --- note this is a different yr than below!

This shows the difference in reds. This is L. arkwrightii with Astilbe Red Sentinel beside it. Red Sentinel and Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff have almost black stems and dark burgundy-ish foliage. July 1, 2006

Zinnias, dahlias, cannas and red salvias thrive in the heat of summer and bloom hard till the first frost. This Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff bloomed till the first week of Nov. You control the height by pinching it but if let go its going to be minimum 4 ft August 25, 2006

Yesterday I was at Bluestone and they had vivid red annual vinca, bright scarlet annual salvia and a New Guinea Impatiens in bright red. Also annual begonias in red for the foot of the border.

At the risk of sounding corny - this was a fun walk down memory lane in my garden!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 7:06AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

A tall red flower that I am trying this year is Silene regia (aka "Royal Catchfly"). I have a bunch of reds this year in addition to that including a gardenview scarlet monarda, a starfire phlox, a "Pardon Me" daylily, some crocosmia "Lucifer" (still babies), and a Lobelia cardinalis - all for the hummers! I also have new red hot pokers (Kniphofia uvaria) but have not seen what the color scheme for bloom is going to be on them yet.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 2:05PM
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Wow, great pictures. I don't have enough red in my garden.

I'm another daylily enthusiast, but have to say that the bloom times, particularly in your zone 5 garden, will be much shorter than what you have in mind- probably July into early August at best. Lobelia and Monarda Jacob Kline are lovely choices and don't require that much attention either.

How large is the area you have in mind and are you considering annuals as well? If you have a large enough area you could mix some of those perennials with shorter bloom times, or add dahlias or other annuals in your zone to keep a that spot blooming red through the season.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 4:42PM
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I was taking notes on this thread -- 'cause I need some tall red in my perennial garden, too!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 5:07PM
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brandyray(Coastal NC/8a)

Wow, what great pics! And I'm jealous that some of you live close enough to Bluestone to just go over there and pick out plants!
I really like daylilies and there are lots of choices in red. If you want to look at them, you can check out That's where I order most of my bulbs from. I think their prices are good. I love my gladiolias but they are mostly finished blooming now.
I don't know about your area, but Dahlias have to be dug up for winter here. Thanks for starting this thread! Brandy

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 6:14PM
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Yardmartyr did we lose you? ! I checked back to say I had forgotten I have 1 small hybrid daylily in red, and I've only seen it bloom 1 time in 4 years because the dang deer get to it every year before I spray it. right now it has 1 bud on it and a bunch of empty stalks. I am soooo tempted to pull out every plant the deer eat and replace them all with aconitums (except they don't come in red.)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 2:19AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

I will second Silene regia. I'm growing the new selection 'Prairie Fire' and it has done very well in my garden for the last 3 years. The flowers are small but they are a brilliant red and a grouping of 3-5 or more should make a good impact. Full sun, and does well in drier soil than Lobelia cardinalis, with a long blooming period. Don't know how well it will do in zone 5, though.

Here's a closeup photo (but bear in mind that this flower is only about 1 inch across):

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 11:58AM
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Silene regia looks interesting. According to Grow Native it's hardy to zone 4, is a short lived plant that self-sows easily and may need staking. I may have to try it; my Lobelia cardinalis is pining away in a too dry, too sunny spot.

I plant Rocket Red snapdragons every year, they are about 3' and bloom until frost if dead-headed. A few always overwinter, but mostly the pink ones, which may have originally been seedlings of Rocket Reds, since I've never planted any other snaps here. The foliage is as red as the lobelia, and the bloom time is much longer. This may not be at all what you're looking for, but if you're considering annuals anyway, these might do it for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Silene at GrowNative

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 12:48PM
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You might think about Knockout Roses. I know some will so that is grossly overplanted and used but they are popular for a reason. They will get about 3 x 3 and I understand they truly are low maintenance.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 10:54PM
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