Shrubs for the Fall Landscape

Fall is an excellent time for gardening, not only for your own comfort, but for the comfort of your plants as well. Summer vacations are complete, nights are cool, days are warm, there is morning and evening dew for suitable moisture and the soil is warm to stimulate roots. This is the perfect recipe for successful planting. This time of year there are many quality shrubs available that sport the fantastic colors of fall, and if you add a few of these to your yard you can enjoy their autumn beauty immediately.

Top Shrubs for a Stunning Fall Landscape

There are many beautiful shrubs that can enhance your autumn landscape. The most popular and easiest to grow options include…

  • Dwarf Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’) – This shrub truly lives up to its name. With brilliant red fall coloring and a compact form, this choice is excellent for hedge and specimen use.
    Height: 8-10’, Spread: 8-10’
  • Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii) – This unique shrub has brilliant yellow, orange and scarlet fall coloration, often all on the same leaf for a vibrant display.
    Height: 2-3’, Spread: 2-4’
  • Enkianthus (Enkianthus companulatus) – This shade-loving shrub prefers an acidic soil. Foliage is clustered in a rosette at the tips of the branches. Foliage is often an exceptional yellow/orange/red combination.
    Height: 6-12’, Spread: 4-6’
  • Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) – Choose from many varieties that reveal colors ranging from orange to fiery red to burgundy. Upright cane-like stems add interest throughout the year and can be used as a screen.
    Height: 6-8′, Spread: 3′
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) – This plant boasts large, coarse, deep green foliage that turns a stunning scarlet shade in the fall. Upright panicles of white flowers appear in late June. Tolerates partial shade.
    Height: 5-6’, Spread: 6-7’
  • Purple Beautyberry (Callicarpa diochotoma) – Incredible electric purple berries from September through the end of October. Leaves turn yellow in the fall and fruit persists beyond leaf drop. An easy to grow shrub!
    Height: 2-4’, Spread: 3-5’
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) – Serviceberry is an attractive low-spreading shrub or small tree. The young branches and buds are reddish brown and smooth while the older twigs are gray. White flowers are plentiful, fragrant, and grouped in showy white clusters of 3-20 flowers. The fall berries are initially red, later ripening to dark purple.
    Height: varies, Spread: varies
  • Viburnum (Viburnum) – This genus of shrubs and small trees is a valued food source for birds and other wildlife. Most plants in this group are tolerant of wet soil and partial shade, and are useful as specimens or for informal hedge and screen plantings. For fruit production, it is best to set out two or more plants of a species and plant in a sunny location. ‘Highbush Cranberry’ is a popular upright shrub with maple-like leaves bearing showy clusters of white flowers in late spring, followed by bright red berries in fall. The berries often persist through much of the winter.
    Height: varies; Spread: varies
  • Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) – An underused landscape plant, this shrub blooms white flowers in June, followed by a superb fall show of brilliant reddish-purple leaves. Loves moist areas and is perfect for massing and naturalizing.
    Height: 3-4’, Spread: 5-6’
  • Winter Berry Holly (Ilex verticillata) – Persistent red berries make this plant a standout for the winter landscape. Several selections like ‘Sparkleberry’ have an upright, tree-like form. Some tolerate wet feet and all selections are excellent for attracting birds to the landscape.
    Height: 3-14′; Spread: 4-8′

With so many beautiful shrubs to choose from, your autumn landscape can be a riot of amazing seasonal color.