5 Best Shrubs for Fall Color

Add shrubs that bring beautiful fall colors to your landscape this autumn.

In many parts of the country, fall is a time of beauty thanks to leaves changing from their summery green hue to beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds. To celebrate the change of season at home this year, add some shrubs to your landscape that will give you a picturesque change of scenery.

1. Fothergilla


In late fall, Fothergilla shrub leaves turn from green to a brilliant red or gold. Passion4nature / iStock / Getty Images Plus

This native five-foot shrub is late to turn color in fall, but when it does, it lights up in brilliant red or gold, depending on the variety. Also known as witch alder, fothergilla produces white bottle-brush flowers in early spring. It grows best in part shade and acidy soil.

2. Virginia Sweetspire

Virginia Sweetspire

In the spring, Virginia Sweetspire has white-bottle brush flowers. In the fall, the leaves turn to a scarlet red color. Roman Babakin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Virginia Sweetspire grows three to five feet tall, spreads by easily-controlled runners, and gets arching white bottle-brush flowers in June. The highlight, though, is the glossy scarlet fall foliage that hangs on for weeks – way longer than the better known (and invasive) burning bush. Best in part shade and damp soil.

3. Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf hydrangeas are known for their beautiful flowers and large leaves that look like maple leaves. In the fall, its leaves turn from green to a rich, burgundy color. HenryPhotos / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Native to the United States is this 6-8 ft. shrub that produces large hand-sized leaves shaped like maple leaves. It turns deep, rich burgundy in fall. Oakleaf hydrangeas also produce large cone-shaped white flowers in summer and have interesting, peeling, cinnamon-colored bark for winter interest. Prefers sun or part shade.

4. Viburnum


During autumn, viburnum gets both fall berry-sized fruits and gold to deep red leaves. Alexander Nesterov / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Most types of this spring-blooming, mid-sized shrub get both fall berry-sized fruits and brilliant fall foliage that ranges from gold to deep red. Some are native, most have fragrant May flowers, and there are different types available for everything from full sun to shade. Most grow in the 6-8 foot range.

5. Blueberry


Following the summer fruit harvest, blueberry shrubs show beautiful bright-red and glossy foliage in the fall. TT / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Yes, the plant that gives us those tasty blue fruits in June and July also is an under-appreciated fall-foliage plant. Most blueberries have bright-red and glossy fall foliage, are native plants across the US, and they’re a favorite of birds – unless you net and pick the fruits first or grow them in containers where they can be better protected. They grow four to five feet tall, ideally in full sun.

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