Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Hallmark holiday, though it may be, we decided a little celebration was in order, so we compiled a list of ten of our favorite red and pink varieties. These beautiful red and pink vegetables, flowers, and herbs are sure to leave a mark on your heart.
Sweet Valentine Lettuce
We couldn’t have a Valentine’s list without including Sweet Valentine! This romaine lettuce has deep red leaves and is the sweetest lettuce we offer. It’s perfect for spring planting, and the heads hold long into the summer heat without bolting.
Scarlet Runner Beans
Easily recognized for its scarlet red flowers, these beans look just as at home in an ornamental garden as in a vegetable patch. Scarlet Runner beans are a timeless heirloom that dates to pre-1750. Early colonists grew these beans after receiving seeds from Native Americans. They are beloved by gardeners alike.
They’ve got more than good looks, though! Scarlet Runner beans produce 8-12 inch pods with mottled reddish-purple beans. Harvest these versatile beans as snap beans when pods are small, or use them as green shelly or dried beans, each offering a unique culinary experience. Dried beans from the Runner Bean possess a delightful nut-like flavor.
For optimal growth, be aware that high temperatures over 90°F may limit pod set. If grown for consumption, expect pod production primarily during late summer or early fall in the Mid-Atlantic and southward. A bulbous root is produced in mild climates, allowing for fall digging and spring replanting.
These heavy-yielding tomatoes produce large, pink fruit weighing one to two pounds! Their distinctive oxheart shape resulted from a genetic mutation, probably around 1925! They have firm, meaty flesh with few seeds and mild flavor.
The fantastic folks at Uprising Seeds recently bred this OSSI variety. Beaujolais has glowing magenta or red veins, much like Swiss chard. However, its smooth, tender leaves are milder than baby chard. We’ve found that it bolts sooner in spring than Bloomsdale types but has good survival of winter freezes.
These stunning pink flowers are new to the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange listings for 2024. Pink zinnias are easy to grow and produce a smorgasbord of pink flowers on tall plants. They have a lovely mix of single, double, and semi-double flowers.
One of the best features of zinnias is that if you keep up with deadheading, zinnias can bloom until frost!
Crosby Egyptian (Early Crosby Egyptian) Beet
Beets are, without a date, one of the most intensely red vegetables we have! Before the advent of chemical dyes, beets were often the red dye of choice for cloth and food.
These Crosby Egyptian Beets are one of our favorite historical varieties introduced in 1880. Their parent strain originated in Germany in 1865. Crosby Egyptian beets grow predominantly on the surface of the soil. They grow 3 to 5 inches wide and have a unique flattened shape. They have a rich red interior.
Lipstick Sweet Pepper
Bred at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, these bright, sweet peppers are one of our earliest varieties. They’re great for short-season areas because they’re ready to harvest in just 55 days! Lipstick produces chunky, triangular peppers with flavorful, juicy flesh. The plants grow about 4 feet tall.
Thai Red Roselle
This hibiscus species produces bright red calyxes you can use to make “zingy” tea, sauce, syrup, jam, or even candy whole for a unique treat. Historically known as “Florida cranberry” in the 1890s, this plant offers edible flowers and young leaves with a citrus tang, perfect for Burmese cooking!
Thai Red produces beautiful 3 to 5-foot plants with striking red stems and leaf veins. These plants thrive in warmer climates and need plenty of space for good production.
Cherry Belle Radish
Cherry Belles are our sweetest spring radishes! Ready in just 24 days, they bring a lot of color and flavor to the garden early in the season with their round roots, bright red skin, and firm white flesh.
Cherry Belles are less susceptible to developing pithiness than other varieties and were the 1949 All-American Selection winner.
Bowling Red Okra
This heirloom was stewarded by the Bowling family of Virginia since the 1920s and was one of the best varieties in the Kerr Center’s trial of 30 heirloom varieties! The early, productive plants have beautiful red stems, red-veined leaves, and long, slim, tender red pods.
If you’re ordering yourself a little Valentine’s Day seed list, be sure to add a splash of red or pink! These stunning varieties will bring a lot of color to the garden and table in the coming season.