5 Shrubs You Can Plant in Late Fall - Backyard Boss
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5 Shrubs You Can Plant in Late Fall

Shrubs are an exciting way to add color, texture, and height to your yard or garden beds. Some grow fruits and berries, others produce beautiful greenery, and some even bloom striking flowers. No matter which shrubs you choose to plant, you’ll add plenty of charm and variety to your outdoor space.

Shrubs require enough time to develop a strong root system before the first frost. However, it’s generally okay to plant them later in the year if the ground is still workable. So if you’ve got some room left over in your garden beds, it’s time to get digging! Check out the list below for the best shrubs you can plant in late fall.

Burning Bush

Burning bush against white brick wall
Image credits: cschikore via Pixabay

Burning bush is known for its brilliant red fall foliage, though the long and broad leaves are an eye-catching bright green throughout the spring and summer. The plant is a deciduous shrub that grows up to 20 feet tall, making it the perfect shade solution for growing along a pathway or driveway for added privacy.

These plants are generally very easy to care for, though they prefer well-drained loamy soil and full sun. If necessary, you can grow them in shadier locations with moist soil. Prune the shrub regularly to control its height and size.

The burning bush plant came to North America in the mid-1800s and is indigenous to Northeastern Asia, Japan, and Central China. Because the plant produces so many seeds and can outcompete other plants for sunlight and soil nutrients, it is sometimes considered invasive.

It is important to avoid planting this beauty near garden beds for this reason. Additionally, some jurisdictions classify it as a noxious weed. Check local regulations before planting it. 


Closeup of steeplebush
Image credits: MabelAmber via Pixabay

The steeplebush is a small, attractive shrub that wows with clusters of bright pink flowers that have an almost fuzzy texture. Blooming in late spring, the plant has pretty, petite green foliage throughout the rest of the year. As a bonus, the pinkish blooms attract pollinators such as butterflies.

Steeplebush grows to a height of 4 feet and prefers moist, acidic soil and full sunlight. Deadhead the plant throughout the growing season to encourage new blooms and prune back old wood before winter or spring, depending on your preferences.

Knock Out Roses

Knockout rose
Image credits: Deedster via Pixabay

Knock Out® roses are a rose family hybrid. They are a popular shrub rose because they require very little care and produce beautiful, vibrant blooms. The plants are resistant to diseases such as black spot and powdery mildew and are also drought tolerant. With that said, they don’t have as strong of a fragrance as other roses.

Plant these roses in well-drained soil with a pH sitting around 6.0 to 6.5. Opt for a sunny location where the plants will get around six to eight hours of light per day. Water regularly to keep the soil moist until the plants are established, which should take about a month. You can also top with a 3-inch layer of mulch for better insulation and water retention. 

Pussy Willow

Pussy willow branch
Image credits: pasja1000 via Pixabay

The name pussy willow encompasses about six different species, though they all look similar. The most popular variety is Salix caprea, known by the names French pussy willow or goat willow. The plant grows about 20 feet tall in an oval shape and attracts butterflies and songbirds.

Pussy willows are one of the first shrubs to bloom in spring, providing interest to your garden as the weather shifts. Throughout winter, the shrub boasts attractive and unique shiny branches and develops eye-catching, delicate fuzzy buds by spring.

They are also incredibly easy to transplant, preferring moist, fertile soil and full sun. Prune the plants back to about a foot above the ground in spring to encourage new growth and maintain the size and shape.

Pro Tip: If you’d like to keep the elongated stem with a cluster of flowers for decoration, remove them before the pollen appears. Do not place them in water; instead, allow them to dry out. Add them to dried bouquets as decor around your home, and enjoy them for weeks on end.


Firethorn blooms
Image credits: Marjonhorn via Pixabay

Growing between 6 and 18 feet in height and width, the firethorn is a broadleaf evergreen to semi-evergreen with unique foliage that changes drastically throughout the seasons. In fall and winter, the stems have sharp spines and bright, vibrant orange or red berries. You’ll see shiny green foliage and soft white blooms in spring and summer.

You can train firethorn shrubs to climb walls or fences, which are perfect for adding visual interest or privacy. The plant thrives in full sun to partial shade with moist, well-drained soil. With that said, it is drought-tolerant and can survive in hot, dry conditions. Firethorn does best in soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH.

Get Growing!

Whether you’re interested in dazzling, vibrant blooms, unique foliage, or striking branches and stems, these five shrubs are perfect to plant in fall. The shrubs should have enough time to establish so you’ll see new growth by spring. As an added bonus, they’re easy to care for and add plenty of curb appeal to your yard.

Have you ever grown any of these shrubs before? Share in the comments below!