When selecting shrubs for fall color, Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) is automatic. But let’s be honest the shrub is rather boring to look at the rest of the year. There are several shrubs with great fall color that add interest to the landscape through out the growing season. The following are some multi- season performers.
1. Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.)
Blueberry shrubs really have 3 seasons of interest. They flower heavily in the spring, followed by their delicious fruit in the summer. The fall color is a vibrant red/ burgundy color. These are often found in the garden, but they make a great landscape shrub and container plant as well. Blueberries come in a variety of heights and flavors. Make sure media or soil has a low pH for optimum growing conditions. Having different varieties for cross-pollination will increase the yield.
2. Hydrangea spp.
Hydrangeas are known for their summer flowers and not thought about for their fall color. There are several varieties that are spectacular in the fall. This one is Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Twist & Shout’. Other varieties are Oakleaf, Pee Wee, Sykes Dwarf and Preziosa. There is a Hydrangea for almost all locations. Most like shade, but some can tolerate almost full sun. The re-blooming varieties work well in containers. Grafted patio trees are another great way to incorporate these beauties into the landscape.
3. Itea spp.
Itea are another multi season plant. White, fragrant flowers cover the plant in the spring, followed by the scarlet/ crimson fall foliage. It is a great addition to any landscape. Two varieties are easily found, Henry’s Garnet and the dwarf version Little Henry. These are low maintenance shrubs perfect for any landscape. Prefers moist, fertile soils and will do well in sun or shade.
4. Abelia Kaleidoscope
Abelia Kaleidoscope has variegated foliage that is interesting all by itself. It has abundant small white flowers summer through fall. The new foliage has is blush color. Fall foliage is a mix of green, yellow, orange and red. This is a great small plant for the front of a border, mass plantings, small groupings or anywhere a splash of color is needed. Abelia Kaleidoscope is a low mounding shrub that requires little maintenance.
Other plants to consider for multi-season interest are Fothergilla, Aronia and Rhus. When choosing a plant for the landscape, don’t just settle on beauty one season where there are so many options for lasting interest.