Top 10 Autumn Shrubs!

In autumn many deciduous plants transform from their lush green summer coats to hues of yellow, red, purple and gold. These warm colours gracefully transition us from the warmth of summer to the cold of winter.

Many of us have gardens that are on the smaller side, and if you don’t have that much space for big trees, there are always alternatives like shrubs, bushes or even dwarf trees that are nice and compact and will fit any sized garden.

England Gardens Walsall Garden Shrubs

Top 10 most beautiful Autumn Foliage Shrubs.

  1. Berberis
  2. Nandina
  3. Witch hazel
  4. Beautyberry
  5. Oak-leaf Hydrangea
  6. Dogwood
  7. Physocarpus
  8. Viburnum opulus ‘Nana’
  9. Currants (Ribes)
  10. Blueberry

A few more beautiful Autumn Shrubs and climbers:

  • Dwarf Maples
  • Euonymus ‘Burning Bush’
  • Spiraea ‘Double White May Bush’
  • Parthenocissus ‘Virginia Creeper’
  • Parthenocissus ‘Boston Ivy’




Nothing says autumn colour like Berberis! Small delicate green, purple or variegated leaves turn crimson, amber and gold as the temperature gets cooler. They make wonderful seasonal features and suit Cottage or Woodland garden styles. 

Berberis grow a maximum of 2m high but can be kept all the way down to 50-70cm. Small birds love to hide amongst the branches!



A hardy, easy to grow evergreen garden favourite, the Nandina or Sacred Bamboo comes in a few varieties. The Dwarf and Moon Bay varieties are compact and colourful, only growing to 1m tall. Their foliage is lush lime green in the warmer months, turning a deep crimson as it gets colder.


Witch hazel

Bright blooms with wiggly petals pop up in late autumn in the nursery, causing customers to exclaim “what is THAT plant?” That is the often understated Witch Hazel! This medicinal plant produces phenomenal autumn colour and a really weird but staggeringly beautiful and fragrant flower. A must-have for the autumn garden.



This fun plant isn’t on this list for its autumnal foliage (though it does produce a gorgeous yellow and amber glow!) The Beautyberry, or Callicarpa bodinieri, sprouts dazzling clusters of purple berries along the branches against the gold backdrop, creating an incredible contrast in colour! Beautyberry grows roughly 2 metres in height.


Oak-leaf Hydrangea

A small flowering shrub with leaves like that of an Oak tree. The Oak-leaf Hydrangea flowers during the spring and summer, its leaves turning crimson, carmine, amber, maroon and purple in the autumn. A truly versatile shrub.



There are Dogwood trees and Dogwood shrubs. The trees are renowned for their autumn colour and beautiful summer flowers, whereas some shrub varieties also have vibrant autumnal foliage, but the branches underneath are the real show stoppers. Seen in autumn and winter are gorgeous, almost fluorescent stems of red or yellow. These shrubs grow from 1-2m tall.



Varieties of Physocarpus or, commonly named, Ninebark come in beautiful purples, greens and golds, all of which convert to the rich colours of autumn when it begins to get cooler. The colours on the large leaves change from the edge inward making little artworks on each leaf. Suitable for pots and small gardens, growing anywhere between 1-3 metres tall.

Viburnum opulus ‘Nana’

A striking, small deciduous shrub that turns a rich purple and crimson red in autumn, the Viburnum opulus ‘Nana’ or European Cranberry Bush, grows only 30-60cm tall and compact. It is ideal for edging and borders, Cottage style gardens or pots! Unlike other viburnums, this one very rarely produces flowers or berries and hence requires far less maintenance.


Currants (Ribes)

The next two are not only colourful but produce delicious berries in the summertime. Ribes nigrum or the humble Black Currant turns gorgeous reds, oranges and yellows in the autumn time. Ribes grow approximately 1-2 metres tall and should be pruned during the winter when they’re bare.



Bearing delicious, juicy blueberries in the summer under lush green foliage, the Blueberry bush is often forgotten for its autumn colour. Small, soft leaves change to gorgeous autumn colours. Blueberries grow best in acidic soil, benefit from a good trim and grow anywhere between 1-3 metres depending on the variety. Since different varieties produce berries at slightly different times of the year, planting a few different ones will extent the harvest period.


A few more beautiful Autumn Shrubs and climbers:

Besides the gorgeous plants mentioned above, here are a few others that are worth including in this list.

Dwarf Maples

Dwarf Japanese maples are excellent choices for smaller gardens because of their small stature and ability to thrive in small spaces.  Dwarf Japanese maples can be used in miniature conifer beds and rock gardens to provide dynamic contrast throughout the season. Dwarf Japanese maples can also be used in patio containers and bonsai.

Euonymus ‘Burning Bush’

A compact spreading deciduous shrub with stunning burning red foliage and ornamental berries.
Great as a feature plant or hedge that will add vibrant colour to your garden in autumn.
Plant in well-drained soil in a full sun to part shaded position. Approx growth 3mx3m. Frost and drought tolerant.

Spiraea ‘Double White May Bush’

Spirea is a semi-deciduous shrub with arching stems, lanceolate small green leaves and gorgeous white pompom flowers from spring to late summer. The leaves will change to a yellowish red colour in autumn before falling off. It will grow in coastal gardens and once established will tolerate frost, neglect and drought. Mature growth 2x2m

Parthenocissus ‘Virginia Creeper’

Virginia Creeper is a large deciduous climber that is very vigorous. Its foliage turns a bright red and orange in autumn. Given the space, it will ultimately grow higher than 12 meters with a spread of 4-8 meters.

Virginia Creeper thrives in a position of moist, well-drained soil and can handle both full shade and full sunlight. This vine makes for a gorgeous sight. It is generally easy to care for and is disease-free.

Parthenocissus ‘Boston Ivy’

Boston Ivy is a beautiful, classy small-leaved climber that is great for covering exposed or ugly walls, unattractive sheds, pergolas, arbours, rotundas, and trellises. The shiny green three lobed leaves turn spectacular shades of red and purple in autumn.

Check out some other articles that you may like:

Top 10 Autumn Garden Colour Shrubs 2022. Melbourne, Victoria. Australia.

Hello Hello Plants. 1477 Sydney Road, Campbellfield.