By Charlie Nardozzi
October means beautiful colors in many of our native forests and landscapes. While much of the attention in autumn is on the beautiful foliage of trees, many shrubs also play a role in the fall spectacle. Here are some shrubs to grow for fall color in your yard:
- Fothergilla is a native shrub that can stand 6 to 12 feet tall and grows well in part shade. It has fragrant white flowers in summer and beautiful yellow, red, and orange fall foliage.
- Itea, or Virginia sweetspire, is 4 to 6 feet tall and wide and provides beautiful deep red fall foliage. It’s a good alternative to burning bushes, which are now considered an invasive species in many areas.
- Black haw viburnum is one of the more attractive viburnum species for fall color. Not only does it have purple-black berries that birds love in fall and early winter, but the foliage turns a purple-red color in autumn. This native shrub is tough and grows 8 to 12 feet tall and wide, so it is a good shrub for a large area.
- Oakleaf hydrangea has white or red flowers in summer, but it’s mostly grown for its red to purple fall foliage. It grows well in part shade and only grows 4 feet tall and wide, making it a nice addition as a foundation plant around your home.
- Aronia, or black chokeberry, is a popular landscape plant. It produces edible black berries that are high in antioxidants. While this 6 to 10-foot-tall plant gets a lot of attention because it is low maintenance and easy to grow, its fall foliage color should be noted, too. Come fall, the leaves turn first red, then purple, making it stunning in the landscape.
- Smokebush is a large shrub that can grow 12 feet tall and wide and is known for its cotton candy-like white or pink flowers in summer. But this shrub also has beautiful fall foliage; its leaves turn yellow, then red.