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The Best Shrubs for Autumn Colour

October 19, 2020
Written by Aaron

So many of the best small shrubs for autumn colour in Southern Ontario are available here at Eising! Folks are quick to assume that spring is the ideal time for planting, but autumn conditions are great for new landscape transplants because the soil is warm, the sunshine is mild, and the rainfall is steady. Savour those last few months of outdoor entertaining, and plant some fall bushes to add spectacular colour to the landscape! Bundling up with an extra sweater is so worth it when you get to enjoy scenery this beautiful.

7 Fall Shrubs to Plant Now

There are fewer sights lovelier than a yard full of gold, orange and red bushes in fall. Toss in some blue and purple berries that attract local wild birds, and even a few late-season blooms to draw in butterflies and bees, and you’ve got a perfectly picturesque landscape to end off the year. Plant these bushes in the fall for an instant pop of bold landscape colour, followed by some gorgeous flowers in spring or summer!

"The clusters of berries that it produces in fall are such a bright shade of purple, they almost don’t even look real!"

Oakleaf Hydrangea

This hardy hydrangea has lobed leaves just like an oak tree, and in October, their jade-green leaves turn fiery shades of orange, red, gold, and purple. Their blossoms, which grow in panicles similar to lilacs, actually appear in late summer, and in early fall, they begin to turn pink, so this hydrangea really doubles down on the fall colour! Plant them in full sun to partial shade, and keep their soil consistently moist but not soggy.

oakleaf hydrangea and spirea autumn foliage


There are many different spirea varieties—some are spring-blooming, while others are summer-blooming—but they always have incredible foliage in fall. Depending on your chosen cultivar, the leaves may turn bright gold or ruby red, and sometimes mid-transition, when some of the leaves have still kept their green, it looks like a rainbow tie-dye explosion! Full sun or partial shade is ideal, and well-draining soil is a must.


While they’re known for their sweet and spicy fragrance and voluminous clusters of blossoms, viburnums put on an incredible show in fall! Their leaves change colour and produce bright clusters of berries in contrasting colours that make for quite the spectacle. Some have burgundy leaves and electric blue berries; others have golden orange leaves and bright red berries. Full sun is best, but some viburnums may tolerate partial shade.

viburnum and beautyberry autumn foliage


It’s no surprise why this colourful bush got its name. The clusters of berries that it produces in fall are such a bright shade of purple, they almost don’t even look real! You’d think only Crayola could produce a colour like that, but Mother Nature is pretty amazing. Full sun and partial shade both suit this shrub fine, and moist, rich soil full of compost or organic matter will help it grow. Applying a layer of bark mulch will help to conserve soil moisture.


Chokecherries can either be grown as shrubs or small trees, with leaves that transition into one of many fall colours, like yellow, orange, red, or a particularly stunning dark purple. Their berries shift in tones from orange to red, purple, and nearly black, attracting plenty of hungry birds preparing for winter. The berries are edible to us, as well—however, you must take care to remove the stems and seeds without crushing them, as they contain toxic compounds. The fleshy fruit is safe to eat and is commonly used for tasty fall jams and homemade wine.

chokecherry and blueberry foliage autumn

Highbush Blueberry

Blueberries are some of the healthiest foods in existence, as they’re jam-packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamins to keep us looking and feeling our best. Though, we gotta say, the highbush blueberry looks the best in fall, with some of the most vibrant leaves you could ever imagine! This extremely cold-hardy plant does best in full sun and partial shade and requires a moderate amount of water.

Fragrant Sumac

Not to be confused with poison sumac, this ornamental (and completely safe) autumn shrubbery begins the season with bright yellow-green leaves, which transition to blazing tones of orange and red. When you crush their leaves, they give off a really lovely citrus scent. Rub it on the inside of your wrists for a little natural perfume! It can handle pretty much any sunlight level, from full sun to full shade. In springtime, it will greet you with cute yellow flowers.

Ready to give your yard an autumn makeover? Visit Eising to see the fabulous fall plants that are ready to go home. We’ve got curbside pickup and home delivery options available if needed, so feel free to give us a call at the store to make special arrangements. If you need any help transplanting your new plants into the ground, contact our landscaping services department. We’re happy to help!

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