Shrubs can be real showstoppers in fall as they provide layers of color and texture to your autumn landscape. Adding these top 10 fantastic fall shrubs to your yard can bring the beauty of the season to all your beds and borders.
Top 10 Fall Shrubs
There are many stunning shrubs and hedges that offer colorful foliage, long-lasting berries, and other fantastic features to enjoy through fall and into winter. While the best shrubs for your yard will depend on the soil type, sunlight levels, and general climate available, these ten choices are amazing options for most landscapes.
- Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
Many viburnum species are great fall shrubs, but arrowwood viburnum is truly outstanding with its yellow, orange, and red autumn colors on toothed leaves. This comes after bright white flowers appear in spring and early summer followed by beautiful blue berries.
Plant arrowwood viburnum as a dramatic background for landscaping beds or back borders in the yard. This shrub can tolerate many soil types, even clay soils, and is hardy through winter for easy maintenance.
- Beautyberry (Callicarpa sp.)
The foliage of beautyberry may not be dramatic, but its tightly clustered berries in bright purple to magenta shades add a pop of color to the late summer and autumn landscape. Birds and wildlife will feast on these berries, bringing energy and action to the yard as well.
Beautyberry grows best in moist, rich soil, preferably in full sun to part shade. As a disease-resistant shrub, this is a good choice for beginners and expert gardeners alike, and it looks best in groups or when scattered amongst other shrubs in a thicket-like setting.
- Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
The large leaves of bottlebrush buckeye make a dramatic autumn show in brilliant yellow and gold hues. Vivid fall colors brighten the late season landscape and follow summer flowering of upright white blossoms.
Well-drained, preferably rich soil is best to help this shrub reach its full potential. Adding plenty of organic matter to the native soil when planting will help to improve drainage. Be sure to give this plant lots of room to spread.
- Chokeberry (Aronia sp.)
There are several species of chokeberries that can be beautiful additions to the autumn landscape. While their foliage will vary, it is the bold crop of berries in shades ranging from red to purple to nearly black that add interest to the yard, and will attract birds and wildlife.
These shrubs perform best and produce the heartiest berry crops when planted in well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. The more sun the plant receives, the more luxurious its foliage and berry crop will be for a superb autumn performance.
- Fothergilla (Fothergilla sp.)
Also called witch alder, this taller shrub is well-known for its downy twigs. In fall, however, its foliage will put on a stunning show of bright yellow, orange, or red foliage – often with all colors appearing on the same plant.
This low-maintenance shrub prefers moist, rich, acidic soil, and should be positioned in full sun to part shade for the best fall performance. It is relatively slow-growing but will continue to show its amazing autumn colors each year.
- Heirloom Roses (Rosa sp.)
Many types of heirloom roses can reveal a surprising pop of autumn color when allowed to mature to colorful hips, which can appear in shades of orange, red, and purple. Semi- and semi-double bloom varieties will yield the most hips for fall color and interest.
Take care to plant heirloom roses where they will thrive best, depending on the sunlight levels and soil types each variety prefers. To encourage hip formation, avoid deadheading in late summer so the hips can come to maturity.
- Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.)
Highbush blueberry’s beauty goes far beyond its crop of tasty summer berries. In autumn, this shrub bursts into bold shades of red, orange, yellow, or purple, and its green or red twigs also provide additional color and interest into winter.
Grow this shrub in acidic soil, sandy and well-drained is best. This plant prefers full sun for the best growth.
- Itea (Itea viriginica)
Often known as Virginia sweetspire, this shrub has stunning firework-like sprigs of white flowers in early summer, and it is a favorite of butterflies. In autumn, however, this deer-resistant shrub bursts into rich hues of yellow, orange, red, and mahogany.
Itea can thrive in full shade to full sun and is a great option not only for the landscape, but for autumn-themed containers and porch pots as well. The berries this shrub produces in late summer will also attract birds and wildlife.
- Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifoli)
The oak-like leaves of this colorful hydrangea are reminiscent of the most popular deciduous trees, and turn bold hues of purple, bronze, red, and orange as fall advances. This is well after the plant’s big summer flowers, that range from white to purple to pink, have faded.
This plant prefers rich, well-drained, slightly acidic soil amended with compost to add rich nutrition for abundant flowering. While these plants thrive in part shade to full sun conditions, the autumn color will be more brilliant if the shrub is in full sun.
- Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
While the foliage of red twig dogwood will briefly turn rose or golden before fading to brown, it is the unexpected brightness of its stems in sharp crimson hues that make it outstanding in the fall and winter landscape, long after the leaves have fallen.
This shrub will do best in slightly acidic, moist soils, and it will be happiest if it receives at least four hours of sun per day. Lightly shaded placements, particularly from afternoon sun, are suitable for red twig dogwood.
Caring for Fall Shrubs
No matter which shrubs you choose to add autumn drama to your yard, they will need proper care to perform their best. Be sure to site them with the appropriate sunlight levels and amend soil as necessary to provide a supportive pH for healthy growth and brilliant color. Mulch autumn shrubs to protect their root systems as seasonal temperatures drop. Choose these fantastic fall shrubs for a glorious autumn palette in your yard for years to come.