Top Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color

Add an explosion of fiery hues to your yard this fall with these trees and shrubs.

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  • Sugar Maple

    A great, extra-reliable tree that makes a big statement in fall, sugar maple offers gorgeous red, orange, or yellow end-of-the-season leaves.

    Name: Acer saccharum

    Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 70 feet tall

    Zones: 4-8

    Native to North America: Yes

  • Dogwood

    Dogwoods look great just about any time of year. They're most loved for their white or pink springtime flowers, but don't overlook the gorgeous purple-red tones they'll bring to your fall landscape.

    Name: Cornus kousa

    Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 25 feet tall

    Zones: 5-8

    Native to North America: No

  • Chokeberry

    A wonderful shrub in several seasons, chokeberry offers white flowers that look like apple blossoms in spring; rich red fruits in late summer and autumn; and brilliant orange-red fall foliage.

    Name: Aronia arbutifolia

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, but well-drained soil

    Size: To 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide

    Zones: 4-9

    Native to North America: Yes

  • Stewartia

    This top-notch tree looks beautiful throughout the year. Its dark green leaves make a nice foil for the late-summer, white camellia-shape flowers. In fall, the leaves turn festive shades of orange, yellow, and red.

    Name: Stewartia pseudocamellia

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 70 feet tall

    Zones: 5-8

    Native to North America: No

  • Ginkgo

    Slow-growing ginkgo adds grace to the landscape; its fan-shaped leaves are among the most elegant of any tree. In autumn, they show breathtaking shades of luminous, golden-yellow. After the leaves drop, you'll be waiting for next fall.

    Name: Ginkgo biloba

    Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 100 feet tall

    Zones: 4-9

    Native to North America: No

  • Amur Maple

    Another top-notch maple for fall color, Amur maple is a small tree or large shrub (depending how you prune it) that bears bright red leaves in fall.

    Name: Acer ginnala

    Growing Conditions: Sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 25 feet tall

    Zones: 3-7

    Native to North America: No

  • Fall Tree Care Guide

    Follow these easy steps to keep your tree looking its best this fall.

  • Sumac

    An incredibly tough shrub, sumac provides some of the brightest red color you'll see in autumn. One note, though: While extra-tough and beautiful, sumac is a fast spreader and is not a great choice for small-space landscapes.

    Name: Rhus typhina

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 15 feet tall

    Zones: 3-8

    Native to North America: Yes

  • Viburnum

    This rounded shrub offers beautiful clusters of white flowers in spring, then bright foliage in warm shades of red come autumn. Those eye-catching leaves are accented by ruby-red fruits.

    Name: Viburnum trilobum

    Growing Conditions: Sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 15 feet tall

    Zones: 2-7

    Native to North America: Yes

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    Serviceberry

    A plant for season-long beauty, we adore serviceberry for its display of white springtime flowers, delicious summer fruits, and amazing orange and red fall foliage.

    Name: Amelanchier canadensis

    Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 20 feet tall

    Zones: 3-7

    Native to North America: Yes

  • 11 of 21

    Bald Cypress

    A "fooled-you" plant come autumn, bald cypress looks like an evergreen conifer. But in fall, the needles turn russet-red before dropping from the tree, revealing the tree's dramatic architectural shape that you can enjoy all winter.

    Name: Taxodium distichum

    Growing Conditions: Sun and moist or wet soil

    Size: To 120 feet tall

    Zones: 5-10

    Native to North America: Yes

  • 12 of 21

    Sweet Gum

    Sweet gum's star-shape leaves turn a kaleidoscope of colors -- including red, orange, and burgundy -- giving the landscape a carnival feel at season's end.

    Name: Liquidambar styraciflua

    Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and well-drained soil

    Size: To 80 feet tall

    Zones: 6-9

    Native to North America: Yes

  • 13 of 21

    Fothergilla

    A wonderful but underused shade-loving shrub, fothergilla offers blue-green foliage in spring and summer. Its leaves reveal warm shades of gold and orange in fall. And fothergilla has honey-scented springtime flowers to boot.

    Name: Fothergilla major

    Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall

    Zones: 5-8

    Native to North America: Yes

  • 14 of 21

    Virginia Sweetspire

    Enjoy this great shrub for months. In summer, it offers fragrant white flowers. Then in autumn, it develops rich purple-red leaf color. Plus, it's very easy to grow.

    Name: Itea virginica

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 10 feet tall

    Zones: 5-9

    Native to North America: Yes

  • 15 of 21

    Oakleaf Hydrangea

    One of our favorite shrubs for shade, oakleaf hydrangea offers beautiful clusters of white blooms in summer, then wonderful burgundy fall foliage.

    Name: Hydrangea quericifolia

    Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall

    Zones: 5-9

    Native to North America: Yes

  • 16 of 21

    Witch Hazel

    A true plant for autumn, witch hazel leaves turn golden-yellow in fall. As they drop, they're joined by delightful spidery yellow flowers.

    Name: Hamamelis virginiana

    Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 12 feet tall

    Zones: 3-8

    Native to North America: Yes

  • 17 of 21

    Japanese Maple

    One of the best-known plants for an autumn show, Japanese maple turns on their glowing shades of red, orange, or yellow at season's end.

    Name: Acer palmatum

    Growing Conditions: Shade to part shade and moist, but well-drained soil

    Size: To 25 feet tall

    Zones: 6-9

    Native to North America: No

  • 18 of 21

    Sweet Birch

    A beautiful tree, we love sweet birch for its cinnamon-colored peeling bark and triangular dark green leaves that turn beautiful golden-yellow in fall.

    Name: Betula lenta

    Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 50 feet tall

    Zones: 3-7

    Native to North America: Yes

  • 19 of 21

    Burning Bush

    This tough shrub earned its common name because of its autumn hues: In fall, the foliage turns glowing shades of red and pink. It's a knock-your-socks-off plant!

    Name: Euonymus alatus

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 20 feet tall

    Zones: 4-8

    Native to North America: No

    Note: This plant can be an invasive pest in some areas. Check local restrictions before planting it.

  • 20 of 21

    Smokebush

    Loved as much for its summer purple or gold foliage and plumes of soft, shimmery flowers, smokebush also offers great fall color --- often in bold shades of orange and pink.

    Name: Cotinus coggygria

    Growing Conditions: Shade to part shade and moist, but well-drained soil

    Size: To 15 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 5-8

    Native to North America: No

  • Next Slideshow Our Favorite Small Trees

    Our Favorite Small Trees

    Small trees can pack a big punch into your landscape. Here are some of our editors' favorite varieties.
    Begin Slideshow »
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