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Shrubs with Autumn Color Steal The Show

Landscape Shrubs for Autumn Color

Autumn Color. Are you researching road trips to see the trees changing color? If you love the chanding colors of fall, try planting a few of the biggest "showoffs" in your own backyard.

Homeowners love the bright reds, vibrant yellows and neon oranges which typically bring to mind Sugar Maples, Autumn Blaze Maples and other towering shade trees. But designing a landscape that bursts with autumn color isn't just about trees. Small shrubs can add a HUGE amount of color to your landscape, in a palette of colors that changes throughout the season. By combining centerpiece trees with shrubs and perennial grasses it is easy to achieve a gorgeous fall scene in your own backyard. Below we have compiled a list of some of our favorite shrubs with orange, yellow and red autumn color. Enjoy!


Blackhaw Viburnum: This viburnum begins the year with creamy white flowers in May. This is followed by deep, dark green foliage with small, edible fruit in the summer months. It is in the fall, however, that these viburnum show their true colors : Their green leaves change to a lovely and arresting shade of burgundy. Blackhaw Viburums adapt to most soils and are tolerant of sun or shade. They can reach 12-15' tall with a spread of 8'-12'. The Blackhaw Viburnum would make a beautiful addition to any yard and is a great option for priv  acy screening.

*** Need a smaller shrub? The Forest Rogue Viburnum is a narrow form version of the Blackhaw.


Scarlet Beauty Sweetspire: This nursery staff favorite was developed by Chicagoland Grows, a partnership of the Morton Arboretum, The Chicago Botanice Gardens and local plant nurseries to develop, evaluate and introduce new quality cultivars.  The Scarlet Beauty compares to the Little Henry Sweetspire but is even better. It is hardy to zone 4, making it even more acclimated to our tough winters and is very tolerant to alkaline soils. But here's the best part. It is lovely from spring to fall. Named appropriately, the Scarlet Beauty has earned it's spot on our list of fall color "show-offs".


Burning Bush: As its name implies, this bush is noted for the turn of its leaves in the fall from green to a bright, flashy crimson. The Burning Bush shows well in borders, beds, and even as a specimen in a container. They will grow in almost any type of soil and prefer partial to full sunlight. They can reach 15' tall, although there are dwarf varieties available as well for those who want that brilliant color, but on a smaller scale. You may not hear God speaking to you through this shrub, but you can bet your yard will be a more heavenly place with the addition of a Burning Bush. In case you're wondering this is the "Shrub with red leaves in the fall".


Show Off Starlet Forsythia: The Forsythia is a quick growing, hardy shrub. It is one of the first plants in the spring to burst forth with new growth and its signature bright yellow flowers. It maintains landscape interest throughout the year due to its transition from the bright yellow of its all encompassing flowers in the spring, to the green of summer leaves to shades of bronze, crimson, burgundy or gold (depending on the variety) in the fall.  The Show Off Starlet is a dwarf, compact variety and  reaches 2 to 3 ft. tall and 3 to 4 ft. wide.


Common Witch Hazel: Common Witch Hazel is anything but a common shrub. Reaching 15-20' tall, this deciduous shrub is notable for its fall blooming habit. Stem-hugging clusters of fragrant bright yellow flowers, each with four crinkly, ribbon-shaped petals, appear along the branches from October to December, usually after leaf drop but sometimes at the time of fall color. Common Witch Hazel would make a bewitching and uncommon addition to any garden or yard. Plus it works in any area; from full shade to full sun.



Autumn Jazz Viburnum: The Autumn Jazz Viburnum is well known for its riot of varied colored fall foliage. Ranging from burgundy, to bronze and gold, these Viburnum are real rock stars in the landscape. White, flat topped flowers from May eventually will form into the into ornamental, blue black fruit in the fall. A very fast grower, the Autumn Jazz Viburnum will reach a height of 8'-10' with a spread of 6'-8' in ten years.

*****Have a small garden? The Lil' Ditty Viburnum is a dwarf shrub version of the Autumn Jazz. Learn more about this small shub here.


Mini Salsa Barberry: The Mini Salsa is a small shrub;  a dwarf variety of barberry characterized by its deep burgundy foliage that is present spring through fall. Perfect for borders and hedges, this little guy prefers full sun and well drained soil and grows at a moderate rate to 2' tall and 3' wide. This shrub might be small, but as a wise man once said “Good things come in small packages.”  The Mini Salsa is an improved variety of Crimson Pygmy that stays denser and maintains its shape.


Gro Lo Sumac: The Gro Lo Sumac will only reach 1'-2' in height, but it more than makes up for it with a spreading habit of 6'-8'. It's divided leaves are slightly fragrant when brushed against or crushed and these same leaves will turn enchanting shades of red and orange in the fall, accompanied by small clusters of hairy red berries which may persist until the winter. Tolerant of poorer soils, the Gro Lo is great as a ground cover or for use in stabilizing embankments. Tough as nails!


Dwarf Fothergilla: *** Top Pick of Nursery Staff*** This low, compact and incredibly bushy shrub looks great from spring to fall. Spring's splashy flowers give way to bright green leaves in the summer which eventually change to hues of luminous orange, yellow and red in the fall. Rounded and slow growing, the Dwarf Fothergilla will eventually reach 3-4' tall and will spread even wider.


Tor Spirea: The Tor is a birch leafed variety of spirea that is easy to grow and produces tiny white flowers in small, flat clusters in late spring. In the fall, its foliage changes to a kaleidoscope of colors ranging from yellow and orange to red and purple. This lovely shrub stays compact with a max height of 2'-3' and a max width of the same. It's spring flowers are attractive to butterflies.

Want to buy plants online? Create a list with our Plantfinder and submit it online. We will create a bid for you and send it back for approval. Give us a call to complete the order and voila!

Or visit our Garden Center & Nursery in Cary, IL to shop all these shrubs and enjoy the color and variety in our 10 acre nursery.

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