Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Ten Native Shrubs Possessing Great Fall Leaf Color By: Dr. Hugh Conlon

Some native U.S.  landscape shrubs are not only great spring/summer flowering shrubs, but their fall foliage color(s) are an added attraction. Here are ten of my favorites listed alphabetically by genus:

Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parvifolia) – foliage of this summer flowering shrub turns bright yellow in fall. (zones 4-8)

Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) – under-planted native shrub that grows 6 – 10 feet high. White flowers appear in early spring; recommend compact cultivar ‘Brilliantissima’ with attractive glossy red berries and red fall foliage color. (zones 4-9)

Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii) or (F. x ‘Mt. Airy’)  both selections are among the finest spring flowering shrubs along with red fall leaf color. (zones 5-8)

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) – is a highly variable flowering shrub, available in a range of sizes from 3-25 feet. Some varieties exhibit exceptional red or bronze foliage in autumn. (zones 5-9)

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) – blanketed with fragrant blooms in May and dependable red-purplish leaf color in autumn (zones 4-8)

Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) – grow 2-6 feet tall (depending on variety planted). Plant two or more different varieties for more berries.  Blueberries require a highly acidic soil pH around 5.0-5.5. Its bluish-green summer foliage turns bright red in autumn. (zones 5-8)

Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) – an under- planted native viburnum that blooms in May. Fall foliage turns yellow to red to burgundy along with dark blue fruits. (zones 3-8)

Witherod viburnum (Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’) –white flowers in late spring are followed by bluish black fruits and red to reddish-purple  fall foliage. (zone 5-9)

American cranberry bush (Viburnum trilobum) – tall 12 feet high shrub deep burgundy-red fall leaf color and bright red drupes often persist through winter. (zones 3-7)

Blackhaw viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium) – flat white cymes (flowers) with numerous yellow stamens and purple-red fall foliage color. (zones 3-8)

About Dr. Hugh Conlon

I am a gardener, one who actually enjoys his addiction for plants.  I have been a horticultural educator for 30+ years.  Beginning my retirement years provides me with more time in my garden and more time to share my profession with those whose company I enjoy the most—you who till the soil.
Once Upon a Time…
Over the past 33 years, I have worked as the University Extension Area Horticulturalist in east Tennessee and in southwest Iowa. Over the past 23 years I have organized hundreds of educational meeting for commercial nursery and greenhouse growers, landscapers and garden center employees. I continue to teach training classes for the University of Tennessee Master Gardener program.  From 1974 to 1977, I served as Home Ground Extension specialist at the University of Rhode Island and taught plant identification courses at Michigan State University.
I continue to write garden features and articles for magazines and newspapers. I am a frequent contributor to various landscape and nursery trade newsletters as well as to the Southern Appalachian Plant Society newsletter. I have written over 40 Extension garden fact sheets under the “Tennessee Great Gardens” logo.
I have organized over 25 commercial industry and home gardening tours throughout the Southeastern and Northeastern U.S. I continue to lecture at commercial, horticultural and gardening events.  In 1994 I organized the first UT Master Gardener class in the Tri-Cities region of Tennessee, and I continue to play an active role in the Master Gardener program today.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, I pursued a PhD degree in Ornamental Horticulture for five years at Michigan State University. I earned a BS degree (Pomology) from Cornell University in 1967 and a MS degree (Plant Sciences) from the University of Delaware in 1969.
My wife Jane and I are proud parents of four children. Hobbies include photography, writing and traveling.

Leave a comment below. (Comments will remain hidden until approved by site administrators.)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: