Fantastic fall shrubs


Autumn has officially arrived and with the coming of the new season, colorful trees and shrubs decorate our gardens and landscapes.

Some of my favorite plants for fall color and beauty are our woody plants, especially shrubs. Colorful, decorative and useful in so many garden situations, shrubs are often overlooked in the landscape in favor of flowering perennials.

However, it is during the fall season that many of our most spectacular and elegant shrubs put on their best display, showcasing colors, textures and growth forms that make them so useful and necessary in the garden.

From native shrubs to designer choices, these plans are available in all shapes and sizes.

These are some of my favorites for the beauty and the color they provide during fall.

Highbush Cranberry

A beautiful, medium sized native shrub, highbush cranberry viburnum features year round beauty, reaching a crescendo in fall with richly colored leaves and berries. Clusters of large, cranberry like berries at the tips of the stems gleam in bright, ruby red, matching the large, maple like leaves. The berries provide spectacular interest in fall and winter, provided the birds don't find them first.


There are dozens of varieties of ninebark available, one of the most versatile and spectacular of all garden shrubs. Many varieties feature colorful foliage in metallic shades of gold, bronze, copper and rust. These are perfect for fall landscapes.

For gardeners with smaller spaces to work with, there are no many varieties of dwarf ninebarks available that may only reach 2 to 3 feet in height.


Most people would not think of roses as a shrub for fall, however, many roses peak during the fall season. Not only do they provide stunning beauty in the form of colorful flowers, but the foliage of most roses transforms into spectacular color throughout the months of fall. In addition to the flowers and foliage, rosehips provide seasonal beauty in yellow, orange and red.

One of fall's most beautiful and elegant shrubs are the hydrangas, which may not be in peak color, but still provide stunning beauty and form.


With their decorative flower heads lasting well into fall, hydrangeas provide color, beauty and grace in the garden. There are many varieties available, from the classic massive ball shaped blooms of Annabel and her relatives to newer lace caps and panicle blooming hydrangeas. These shrubs also provide gorgeous fall color as they transform into oranges, reds and gold.

Golden conifers

For flashes of brilliant color in the fall and winter garden, the golden conifers or evergreens are one of my favorite choices. A consistent brilliant gold or chartreuse, these evergreens highlight areas of the garden as late fall arrives and most other plans begin to transform to say aids of gray or brown.


Viburnums come in many shapes and sizes, providing long-lasting beauty in the garden. From colorful berries in blue, red and white to vibrant, fiery fall foliage, these shrubs, many of which are native, are exceptional garden selections.

Tiger Eyes Sumac

Another of my fall favorites, Tiger eyes sumac carries lacy, lime green foliage for much of the season, highlighted by the deep red or wine colored stems. In fall, the foliage transforms to a beautiful orange yellow with rusty highlights, creating a spectacular backdrop among the fall garden blooms.

Weigelas are an excellent choice for fall foliage, with beautiful coloration and sporadic bloom continuing well into the fall months.


There are many excellent dogwoods available to gardeners in our area, many of which are native and grow quite well in a number of soil conditions. Those with colorful stems, such as red twig dogwood and yellow twig dogwood are especially popular and feature colorful foliage, brightly colored stands and colorful berries during the fall season. These are especially popular with migrating songbirds.

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