Top 10 Colored Shrubs of Autumn Featured

Super mountain shrubs with great fall colors.

Big Idea

  • Mountain plants that show the best colors in fall. 
  • Plants best planted in Autumn. Shrubs that turn red in the fall. 
  • What tree turns bright yellow in the fall? Maple with the best fall color. 
  • Why are my bushes turning yellow? Why is fall a good time to plant shrubs?
  •

Mountain landscapes are famous for their autumn colors.

This month's column is merely a list of the best-colored plants you'll find to plant in your backyard. Of course, there are more choices, especially if you include ornamental grasses and the mountain flowers that bloom through the end of the year. For an in-depth tour of all the possibilities of fall, plants consider this a personal invitation to visit the plant ambassadors here at Watters Garden Center:)

Here is the list of best mountain plants that can be planted now for autumn beauty:

Grow-Low Sumac spreads like a groundcover over hillsides and is native throughout the mountains of Arizona. They are so easy to grow and so popular here at Watters we have four different varieties in stock. Sumacs are the very first plants to show their colors and continue through October. They are available in ground cover height that stays below knee level to 12' towers that resemble mountain palm trees but love cold mountain winters. Javelina proof!

Goldflame Spirea is deer and rabbit proof. An old-fashion plant made famous by our grandparents, but it's still a 'rock star' in my garden. It is effortless to grow with little to no maintenance required once established. My personal favorites have bright gold foliage through summer and now show their fall colors of purple and reds. The equally brilliant flowers in April are simply a bonus to this garden showoff. It looks delicate, but deer, rabbits, and javelina detest the taste and leave this beauty alone. 

Burning Bush in color and ready for autumn planting is most famous for it's glowing red foliage that deepens in color through Autumn. It loves mountain sun and wind and performs best when subjected to at least 6-hours of hot sun per day. Dark green leaves reach to head height and are easily trimmed into hedges for an extra thick shrub.

Barberry is most appreciated for its ability to withstand the worst garden soils. I rate it as one of the bright shrubs of fall. You'll find at least four different barberries here at Watters most months, but now is when they show their best colors. Their shades of burgundy, golds, reds, and pinks can often be found on the same bush. Barberries are so hardy they can be planted right next to the driveway and stand up to the heat.

Nandina (Heavenly Bamboo) The autumn red foliage turns back to spring green at the start of each new growing season. Compact, rarely needs trimming, evergreen, and turns red in the fall - what more could you ask from a landscape plant? Oh wait, I forgot; this beauty is animal-proof and won't be eaten by even the hungriest mammals.

Virginia Creeper grows wild throughout Northern Arizona. It's tough enough to be used as groundcover up broken hillsides, creeping between boulders or a new trellis or fence. Each vine will easily reach eight feet in height, covered with soft green foliage. Autumn is when we sell the most Virginia Creepers because of its spectacularly red leaves. Animals won't bother this plant, with little to no water needs once rooted, this mountain plant has it all.

Boston Ivy is entirely different from English Ivy and is much brighter in the garden. Related to Virginia Creeper, this plant has an added advantage. It is one of the few vines that will self-cling to any surface whether a cinder block wall or up a rock face. More orange than red, this natural garden vine resembles an Arizona sunset as it moves into November.


Silverberry grows wild through the mountains. It is best known for its evergreen toughness, ease of care, and fragrant spring flowers. We figured out how to add a gold edge to the blue foliage while still maintaining its inherited native traits. It's a bit outside the autumn-colored box because this new native shrub looks bright all the time, but it shows best now through winter. It quickly trims into a privacy hedge or may remain a free-flowing shrub to head height. It is not attractive to deer or javelinas.

Latest Garden News – It's been seven months in the making, and the first edition is now online. I launched a digital garden center this month that just makes researching local plants easier. Plant organization is precisely how a designer investigates them in the landscape. Trees are broken up into Evergreens, Shade and Fruit Trees to narrow down your search. This is an active list of plants that often changes as crops are harvested and brought to Watters Garden Center.

Top10Plants.com is for locals of central Arizona only. Amazon will not be delivering a 300-pound tree to your doorstep. We have local delivery and planting teams hired to install plants for you or pick plants up yourself here at Watters Garden Center. Take a look and let me know how to make this new digital garden center even better.

Until next issue, I'll be here at Watters Garden Center, helping local gardeners brighten their autumn landscapes.


Watters Garden Center 2020 Garden Classes

Each Saturday @ 9:30am, Watters hosts a FREE garden class, open to the public!

Free Saturday Garden Classes at Watters Garden Center 

  • Classes are tailored to Mountain Landscapes
  • Top tree information for landscapes and privacy 
  • Newcomers can jump right in with these secrets

Free Garden Class offered every Saturday @ 9:30 am in the fresh air at Watters Garden Center, 1815 Iron Springs Road in Prescott. 

Classes are also live-streamed at FB.com/WattersGardenCenter - you can join right in!


Autumn Colors Best Enjoyed at Home

October 10 @ 9:30 AM

Landscapes in autumn can be stunning, but only with proper planning. This easy-care advice will bring the silver and blues out of the evergreens, showcasing brilliant bright foliage and crazy colored flowers. Make this the brightest fall of all!


Fall Containers that Bloom like Crazy!

October 17 @ 9:30 AM  

After this class, you’ll have what it takes to design great container gardens that sparkle in the afternoon heat.

Learn about proper watering, the best foods, companion plants, and more.

Everyone is going to comment on your potting success!

Bring your own container or buy a new one and we’ll have design stations open, with expert advice on hand.


Succulents, Cacti and the Low Maintenance Garden

October 27 @ 9:30 AM  

Succulents, Cacti and Low Maintenance Gardens are all the rage right now, and a great choice for busy gardeners!

These are the toughest, drought-tolerant plants that will grow like gangbusters in a tight space with very little care.

Students will learn how to use the local favorites that bring warm color and texture to your home.


Showy Shrubs of Autumn

October 31 @ 9:30 AM  

Shrubs are the backbone of good design.

They provide essential structure, beauty, fragrance, and color with a great variety of shapes.

Rock landscapes without shrubs tend to look strange, immature and lacking.

Learn how to use shrubs to create simple but effective planting combinations for a design impact that will WOW all four seasons of the year.

Free to gardeners that want more from their yard.


Best Mountain Evergreens to Plant in November 

November 7 @ 9:30 AM 

Tired of looking at the neighbor’s RV?  This class shows off the best, fastest-growing plants to fill in your privacy screens!  You can screen unsightly neighbors, enhance your view, or block pesky traffic and cut noise and light pollution after this class.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 07 October 2020 00:38
Ken Lain

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site.


We Believe Gardening should be Safe, Natural and Organic. Focus is on Superior quality plants with people that help you garden right. Vote best garden center 9 years running including the prestigious 'Most Revolutionary Award'. 

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