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14 Shrubs that Offer Brilliant Fall Interest

Autumn has arrived and, oh, how we love the beautiful foliage it brings! While many of us think of fall foliage in terms of trees, there are many shrubs that offer gorgeous foliage in fall, too. Many of these offer berries. Have you considered adding a few of these beauties to your gardening beds?


Above photo: Barberry


  • Azalea: both deciduous and Encores. Deciduous Azaleas provide the colors of fall we all love, while Encore Azaleas are evergreen yet bloom in spring AND in fall.

  • Barberry: features berries in fall and has interesting color in spring, summer, and fall. It does have small thorns; keep that in mind if planting where children or pets might be near. Deer generally do not bother this plant.

  • Beautyberry: primarily grown for its highly ornamental fruit. It features an abundance of magnificent white berries in early fall. 'Duet' Variegated Beautyberry has attractive creamy white-variegated dark green foliage. The oval bipinnately compound leaves are highly ornamental and turn yellow in fall.


Above photo: Burning Bush


  • Burning bush: grows well in shade to full sun (although brightest fall foliage will be when planted in full sun), Burning Bush is a gorgeous shrub to add to a landscape for bright red foliage in fall.

  • Chinese holly: features berries and deep green, evergreen foliage. Birds love its berries and branches to make nests in.

  • Crape Myrtle: 'Diamond Dazzle' and 'Cherry Dazzle' are shrub-form varieties of Crape Myrtle. These deciduous shrubs have pretty orangeish-yellow foliage in fall (as well as large, beautiful blooms all summer!).

  • Loropetalum: also called Fringeflower, this shrub features magnificent blooms in early spring and dark purple foliage all year long. It grows well in part sun to full sun locations.

  • Nandina: upright, tall varieties feature berries and compact, mounded types feature beautiful foliage. Very easy to care for and evergreen.


Above photo: Spirea's fall foliage


  • Red Twig Dogwood: a common-looking shrub in spring and summer, this shrub becomes a showstopper in fall and winter! It's a wonderful addition to a garden! Makes a great addition to Christmas arrangements; its stems last for several weeks in a fresh-cut arrangement.

  • Spirea: a smaller, deciduous shrub (reaches 3-4' tall and wide) that features pretty clusters of flowers in early summer, followed by bright foliage in fall.


Above photo: Summersweet in autumn

  • Summersweet: bright yellow foliage in fall and small spikes of flowers all summer that hummingbirds love!


Viburnum in fall

  • Viburnum: depending on variety, red or deep-purplish red foliage in fall.

  • Witch Hazel: a medicinal shrub that features small, fiery blooms in fall and winter! They feature a spicy scent in fall and are gorgeous.

  • Yellow Twig Dogwood: akin to the Red Twig Dogwood, only, as its name suggests, bright, neon yellow stems grace this shrub in fall and winter! Has the most brilliant color when planted in full sun.

Autumn is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs. You'll want to water well during the fall any newly planted plants. Do not fertilize any new plants in fall, or any plants in general, as they are preparing to go dormant for winter. Any fertilizer you add now would only spur tender growth which would then be zapped by a cold frost, so wait to fertilize until late winter or early spring.


Consider adding one or more of these shrubs to your gardening beds for beautiful fall interest. We can assist you at the garden center to help determine the best one for your specific space. Happy planting!

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