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Shrubs to consider for fall color

Spring and summer may be what you think of when it comes to colorful plant material and flowers, but if you plan ahead while planting, you can create a landscape that shows beautifully throughout the year. Fall is known for striking hues of yellow, orange and brown on trees, and similarly, there are perennials that will complement the color of those arbors, allowing autumn color to saturate your whole yard.

Crimson Pygmy Barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea ‘Nana’)

Crimson Pygmy Barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea ‘Nana’)

Burning Bush

Compact Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’)

Burning bush is often a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub that grows to 6-12′ tall. It develops a dense branching habit and often is wider than it is tall. The bark of older stems is gray or brownish gray with small fissures/furrows. Younger stems are green, having lateral tan corky wing appendages. Upper leaf surfaces are medium to dark green, while their lower surfaces are a lighter shade of green. Deciduous leaves burn bright red (true to its name) during the autumn before they fall to the ground.


Brandywine Viburnum (Viburnum nudum ‘Bulk’)

This large plant group is home to over 150 species and named cultivar varieties. Ranging from 2-30 feet in height, flowers can be sweetly fragrant and are primarily creamy white. Foliage ranges from glossy green to a dull, dark green, velvet appearance to foliage that is thick and leathery. Fall color is an attractive feature of viburnums with leaf colors ranging from a glossy red to scarlet or purple, with colorful fruit adding to the autumn show. Try Brandywine, Blue Muffin, or Korean Spice viburnums for fall interest.


Fire Light Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Wims Red’)

Known for their summer blooms, hydrangeas are a great way to add color into a landscape. As temperatures cool off, Hydrangea paniculata varieties like ‘Limelight’ will continue to bloom through early autumn. Re-blooming varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla may produce some blooms into the fall, just be sure to maintain them by pruning. A benefit to autumn blooms, is that you can bring the flowers inside as you prune, or when it starts to get too cold, arranging them in a bouquet or vase.

Just because spring and summer have ended, doesn’t mean you can’t optimize your landscape to show an interesting display throughout the year. Growing a diverse array of plants is good for aesthetics, and contributes to the biodiversity of your landscape. Stop into the garden center today and ask how to maximize your landscape for fall growth!

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