Colorful Shrubs to Plant this Fall

While the foliage on trees gets a lot of attention during the fall months, there are some shrubs that are also known for the colors and interest they bring to yards this time of year.

In this article, we’ll cover six of the colorful shrubs to plant this fall that we recommend:

  • Ash Leaf False Spirea
  • Snowberry Galaxy
  • Ninebark Summer Wine and Tiny Wine
  • Aronia Lowscape Mound
  • Beauty Berry Early Amethyst
  • Gold Mops Cypress

Continue reading to learn specific information about these colorful shrubs, the conditions they prefer in your mid-Michigan landscape, and more.

The fern-like foliage of the ash leaf false spirea plant.

Ash Leaf False Spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia)

The popular groundcover is known for its fern-like leaves and for its prolific suckers. Ash leaf false spirea can grow to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide, so be sure you have a lot of room for it to grow and spread!

This shrub prefers full sun to partial shade and needs consistent moisture. The dark green leaves emerge as burgundy in spring, and small white flowers bloom during the summer months.

If left untouched, the shrub will grow rapidly, so we recommend some pruning to control the growth. The good news, however, is that this shrub is very hardy and, as long as it is planted in the correct place, difficult to kill.

The white berries and green leaves of the snowberry galaxy shrub.

Snowberry Galaxy Shrub (Symphoricarpos albus x Doorendosii ‘kolmgala)

The snowberry galaxy shrub gets its name from the clusters of white berries that emerge in the fall and last into the winter months, even after the leaves fall. It prefers full sun to part shade and the spring flowers attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Thanks to some vigorous roots, this shrub does well even when planted on slopes or banks. They commonly grow to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide and will need regular pruning to keep suckers at bay and to remove any diseased or damaged sections.

Two photos: The photo on the left shows the burgundy leaves and white flowers of the summer wine ninebark, while the photo on the right shows the fall red leaves of the summer wine ninebark.

Ninebark Summer Wine (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Seward summer wine’) and Ninebark Tiny Wine (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Seward tiny wine’)

Named for the bark that peels away to reveal many different colors on mature plants, ninebark shrubs are native to Michigan so do well when planted in mid-Michigan yards and properties.

Ninebark shrubs are also known for their small spring flowers and their colorful leaves. The summer wine and tiny wine ninebarks are known for their red-to-purple-colored leaves that contrast well with the small white or pink flowers. The leaves turn an even brighter red in the fall.

The mature size of the shrub depends on the variety you choose. Summer wine ninebark grows 3 to 6 feet tall and wide, while Ninebark tiny wine grows 3 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.

A ninebark’s leaves will turn green or even brown if they spend too much time in the shade, so we recommend planting it in full sun or maybe partial shade to fully enjoy the burgundy foliage.

Two photos: the one on the left shows dark purple berries of the aronia plant, the photo on the right shows orange fall foliage of the aronia plant.

Aronia Low Scape Mound (Aronia melanocarpa ‘Low Scape Mound’)

Also called black chokeberry, this groundcover plant is known for its beautiful glossy green leaves. In fall, the leaves turn to a bright red and/or orange. As the name implies, it grows in a mounded shape and prefers full sun or partial shade.

In the spring, it has small white flowers, and later, purple fruit. It can grow 1 to 2 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. Little maintenance or pruning is needed which makes it an easy-to-care-for plant for your landscape.

Small purple flowers and bright green foliage of the early amethyst beautyberry shrub.

Beautyberry Early Amethyst (Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’)

Purple beautyberry has that name for a reason; this shrub has beautiful, light purple berries that grow from late summer through fall. The berries stick around even after the deciduous leaves have fallen.

In summer, small flowers attract bees and butterflies.

The early amethyst cultivar is named because of the fruit that ripens before other types of beautyberry plants.

Growing up to 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide, this shrub prefers full sun or part shade, but will flower best in full sun.

The yellowish gold foliage of the cypress golden mops shrub.

Golden Mops Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’)

Golden mop, or Sawara cypress, is a conifer with golden yellow foliage year-round. It is a dwarf variety so it will grow to 2 feet tall and wide but in some cases can ultimately reach up to 5 feet (both tall and wide). It grows very slowly, however, and may only reach 2 feet tall after 10 years.

Golden mop cypress prefers full sun or light shade and only requires pruning for broken or dead branches. It can naturally grow into a rounded or conical form and has some resistance to drought once established.

Not Sure What Colorful Shrubs to Plant this Fall? Bay Landscaping Can Help!

While all of the shrubs listed in this article can add interest to your yard during the fall (and other) months, we know that sometimes you can feel overwhelmed with choices.

If you’re not sure what to plant or if your landscape has the right conditions for any of these shrubs, contact Bay Landscaping.

Our skilled landscape designers can assist you by helping you plan what trees, shrubs, and plants would work best for your specific property.

And if you have any questions while you are browsing the planting options in our nursery, the Bay Landscaping nursery staff is always happy to assist!

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Jerry Somalski

Jerry is a Landscape Designer, Project Manager, and the President of Bay Landscaping. He began learning about plants and landscape design as a young boy, hoeing in the family nursery and tagging along with the landscape crews who taught him the tools and methods of the trade. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Central Michigan University, he returned to the family business. Jerry has an enthusiastic yet practical approach to landscape design, focused on choosing the right plants (ones that thrive in the mid-Michigan climate) for the right place to create sustainable and spectacular landscapes. He loves to share what he knows with gardeners throughout Michigan! Learn more about Jerry >>

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