Euonymus europaeus 'Red Cascade'

10 unusual shrubs for autumn

Autumn can be a spectacular time in the garden - discover some lesser known shrubs that will really make an impact.

Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean that your garden needs to stop looking good.

In autumn, many perennials, trees and shrubs come into their own, offering flowers, fiery autumn foliage or brightly coloured berries.

Discover 10 plants for autumn colour.

Here are 10 unusual garden shrubs that look good all year, giving structure and interest to the garden, but look especially spectacular during the autumn months.


Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' is underused shrub whose violet berries team with flaming foliage in autumn, both held on the plant for several months. It likes fertile, well-drained soil, and sun. Find out how to grow callicarpa.

Callicarpa japonica 'Leucocarpa'

Callicarpa japonica 'Leucocarpa' is similar to Callicarpa bodineri var. giraldii 'Profusion' but has lots of white berries in autumn. The leaves also colour up nicely, turning yellow and bronze before they fall. 

Enkianthus cernuus f. rubens

Enkianthus are not widely grown but have much to offer. Enkianthus cernuus f. rubens produces clusters of deep red, bell-shaped flowers in spring, and purple-red foliage and dark berries in autumn. Enkianthus prefer soil that is on the acid side.

Enkianthus perulatus

Enkianthus perulatus is a compact, deciduous shrub, that produces pretty white bell-shaped flowers in May. The leaves are a fresh green colour, before turning a brilliant red in autumn. It can also be clipped into neat shapes, or cloud pruned.

Euonymus alatus 'Compactus'

Autumn is when many euonymus come into their own, with spectacular foliage and seed pods. E. alatus 'Compactus', as its name suggests, is a small shrub. Its leaves turn a red in autumn, and the small fruits contain orange seeds.

Euonymus europaeus 'Red Cascade'

Euonymus europaeus 'Red Cascade' (spindle tree) is a British native. In autumn the foliage turns a dramatic shade of red, complementing the orange-pink winged fruit, which remain on the tree long after the leaves have fallen. Grow in well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.

Leycesteria formosa

Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan honeysuckle) is a handsome shrub with trailing white and claret flowers from mid- to late summer, followed by reddish purple berries in autumn. The flowers are a magnet for bees and the berries attract many species of bird. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.

Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Eva'

Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Eva' has very dark foliage, the perfect foil to the pink-flushed summer blooms. In autumn, its leaves turn a rich red and black berries are produced. Leave them for the birds, or use them to make wine or crumbles. Grow in a sunny spot and cut plants back to ground level every year in early spring.

Viburnum opulus

Viburnum opulus looks good for much of the year - it has with large, lacecap white flowers from late spring and fresh, green leaves in summer. The foliage turns red in autumn and is accompanied by bunches of small, bright red, fleshy fruits in autumn.

Viburnum 'Dart's Red Robin'

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Dart's Red Robin'  is a spreading, tiered shrub that has large white lacecap flowers in spring and early summer. These are followed by abundant red berries and colourful foliage in autumn. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.

In autumn, many perennials, trees and shrubs come into their own, offering flowers, fiery autumn foliage or brightly coloured berries.


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