Red Leaf Bush: Adding Vibrancy to Your Garden All Year Round

When the sun sets earlier and the temperatures drop, your garden can quickly lose its color and vibrancy. But fear not! You can keep the magic alive with the help of evergreen foliage. And here’s the best part: these evergreens don’t have to be green! Autumn brings about a stunning transformation of leaves, with shades of crimson, mauve, and deep burgundy taking center stage. Imagine capturing the enchanting hues of fall all year round!

Master Horticulturist Colin Skelly emphasizes that the key to creating a captivating display with red-leaved shrubs is the contrast they provide. It’s all about finding the right balance between red and green foliage. With that in mind, let’s explore the top nine (mostly) evergreen shrubs that will add a touch of fire and effervescence to your garden landscape.

1) Hazel ‘Red Majestic’

With its striking reddish-purple foliage, crinkly textures, and interweaving branches, the Hazel ‘Red Majestic’ is a showstopper. This unique shrub adds intrigue to your garden, and its dark leaves remain beautiful all year round. In late winter, purplish-pink catkins appear, adding another layer of aesthetic appeal. Growing up to 4m in height and spread, it’s a slow-growing shrub that is fairly easy to care for.

2) Japanese Barberry

The Japanese Barberry is a deciduous or evergreen shrub that offers a delightful display of reds, purples, and pinks throughout the year. Spring brings a burst of buttery yellow flowers, accompanied by barbs on its branches. Don’t let the thorns deter you, as the dramatic flair it brings to your garden, especially with scarlet berries in autumn, is well worth it.

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3) Chinese Witch Hazel ‘Burgundy’

The Chinese Witch Hazel ‘Burgundy’ is a transformative shrub that showcases red foliage throughout its lifetime. Its leaves start with an almost pinkish hue, darkening to olive as they mature. Bright pink tassel-like blossoms adorn the plant in late winter and early spring, creating a pleasing contrast with the foliage. With an overall height and spread exceeding 2m, this shrub is a stunning addition to any garden.

4) Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry

The Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry, a member of the rose bush family, boasts leaves ranging from red to purple, with maroon, burgundy, and brown tones. Springtime brings delicate pink flowers that beautifully offset the vibrant foliage. Growing up to a meter in height and spread, this hardy and self-sufficient shrub thrives in sunny locations with well-draining soil.

5) Red Robin

Red Robin, also known as Photinia x fraseri, captivates with its deep red leaves. Although the foliage can transition to a lusher green as it matures, pruning can maintain the desired balance of green and red. Clusters of white flowers in spring add to the plant’s visual appeal. With a maximum height and spread of 4m, Red Robin is an excellent choice for hedges.

6) Smoke Bush

Named for its clouds of pink flowers that resemble smoke in the summer, the Smoke Bush offers a wide variety of leaf colors. Cultivars such as ‘Grace,’ ‘Royal Purple,’ and ‘Golden Spirit’ provide year-round red appeal. Ranging from 4m in height and spread, Smoke Bush is a popular choice for creating boundaries and hedges. This low-maintenance shrub thrives in full or partial sunshine.

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7) Wine And Roses

Wine and Roses is a sought-after Weigela variety, known for its purply-red foliage. As the plant matures, the foliage intensifies in color. Pink blossoms in spring add to its allure, and some plants may even bloom again in summer. With a height just shy of 2m, Wine and Roses responds well to pruning and adapts well to various soil types.

8) Ninebark Diabolo

Ninebark Diabolo doesn’t provide red foliage year-round but makes up for it with its deeply reddish-purple three-lobed leaves. The texture of the foliage adds interest, while delicate white flowers in spring create a stunning contrast. Although it takes time to reach its maximum height of 2.5m, this shrub is worth the wait. Ninebark Diabolo thrives in acidic soil and requires full or partial sun exposure.

9) Double Play Big Bang

For a garden palette bursting with autumnal colors, Double Play Big Bang is an excellent choice. Its foliage oscillates between yellow, orange, and red throughout the seasons, creating a warm and inviting ambiance. This deciduous shrub offers pink blossoms in summer and grows up to 90cm in height. Plant it in a sun-facing location with well-draining soil for best results.

Adding red-leaved shrubs to your garden landscape will infuse it with year-round vibrancy. With contrasting foliage, captivating flowers, and dramatic hues, these shrubs create an enchanting display. Explore the world of red leaf bushes, and let your garden come alive with a riot of colors and textures.

For more gardening inspiration, visit Ames Farm Center.