Organic Gardening

11 Shrubs With Red Leaves All Year Round + Growing Guides

Hey there, fellow plant lovers! Are you looking to add some color and vibrancy to your garden or backyard? Look no further than these 11 shrubs with red leaves that stay stunning all year round.

From the striking red foliage of the Japanese barberry to the deep red leaves of the black lace elderberry, these shrubs add a pop of color that will leave your neighbors in awe. Not only do they look beautiful, but they also provide a great backdrop for your other plants like purple flowering trees

Red Leaf plants
Red Leaf plants

Whether you’re looking to create a bold statement or just add a touch of elegance to your landscape, these 11 shrubs are sure to impress. So let’s dive in and explore the world of red-leaved shrubs!

1. Sand Cherry (Prunus × cistena) 

Sand Cherry
Sand Cherry

The Sand Cherry is a striking shrub with deep red to purple leaves that add a splash of color to any garden or landscape. 

This shrub grows well in a variety of soil types and is low maintenance, making it a popular choice for gardeners. Its compact size and graceful arching branches make it an ideal choice for hedges or as an accent plant. 

In addition to its beautiful foliage, the Purple Leaf Sand Cherry also produces fragrant pink flowers in the spring that attract bees and other pollinators.

Botanical Name: Prunus x cistena  
Growth Rate:  Low
Native Range:  North America 
Hardiness Zones: 2-8
Exposure:  Full sun
Soil Needs:  Well-drained 
Tolerate: Drought 
Fertilizing  Needs: Low 
Pruning Needs:  Moderate 
Water needs: Low 
Sand Cherry Growing Guide Chart

2. Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)

Japanese Barberry
Japanese Barberry

The Japanese Barberry is a hardy shrub that features deep red leaves and small, spiky thorns, making it a great choice for adding texture and color to any garden or landscape. 

This shrub is easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance, making it ideal for both novice and experienced gardeners. In the spring, the Japanese Barberry produces small yellow flowers that attract pollinators, and in the fall, its leaves turn a brilliant shade of orange-red. 

It’s also a great choice for creating hedges, as its thorns provide added security and protection.

Botanical Name: Berberis thunbergii
Growth Rate:  Moderate
Native Range:  Japan 
Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade 
Soil Needs:  Well-drained
Tolerate: Drought, poor soil conditions 
Fertilizing  Needs: Low 
Pruning Needs:  High
Water needs: Low to moderate 
Japanese Barberry Growing Guide Chart

3. Spiraea Double Play Big Bang (Spiraea x)

Spiraea Double Play Big Bang
Spiraea Double Play Big Bang

Spiraea Double Play Big Bang is a stunning shrub that boasts vibrant red and yellow leaves, making it a standout in any garden or landscape. 

This low-maintenance shrub produces pink flowers in the spring and fall, and its colorful foliage remains throughout the year. It is a versatile plant that can be used in mixed borders, as a foundation plant, or as a specimen plant. 

The Double Play Big Bang is also resistant to common plant diseases and pests, making it a great choice for those looking for a durable and long-lasting addition to their garden.

Botanical Name: Spiraea x 
Growth Rate:  Medium 
Native Range:  Eastern China 
Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade 
Soil Needs:  Well-drained 
Tolerate: Deer
Fertilizing  Needs: Moderate 
Pruning Needs:  Low
Water needs: Moderate to high 
Spiraea Double Play Big Bang Growing Guide Chart

4. Red Majestic (Corylus avellana)

Red Majestic
Red Majestic

Red Majestic is a stunning shrub with deep red, almost burgundy-colored leaves that add a vibrant burst of color to any garden or landscape. This low-maintenance plant is easy to grow and thrives in a variety of soil conditions, making it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. 

Its compact size and rounded shape make it a great choice for creating borders or hedges, and its unique foliage provides year-round visual interest. In the spring, the Red Majestic produces small yellow flowers that add an additional layer of beauty to this already-striking plant.

Botanical Name: Corylus avellana
Growth Rate:  Moderate 
Native Range:  Europe and Western Asia 
Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade 
Soil Needs:  Well-drained 
Tolerate: Drought 
Fertilizing Needs: Low to moderate 
Pruning Needs:  Moderate 
Water needs: Moderate 
Red Majestic Growing Guide Chart

5. Red Tip Photinia (Photinia × fraseri)

Red Tip Photinia 1
Red Tip Photinia

Red Tip Photinia is a popular shrub that is prized for its bright red leaves that emerge in the spring and remain vibrant throughout the year. This hardy plant is easy to grow and thrives in a variety of soil conditions, making it a versatile choice for gardeners of all levels. 

Red Tip Photinia can be used as a hedge, border plant, or accent plant and looks particularly striking when planted in groups or clusters. In the spring, the Red Tip Photinia produces clusters of small white flowers that add an additional layer of beauty to this already stunning shrub.

Botanical Name: Photinia × fraseri
Growth Rate:  Fast
Native Range:  Hybrid of species from China and Japan 
Hardiness Zones: 7-9
Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade 
Soil Needs:  Well-drained 
Tolerate: Pollution 
Fertilizing Needs: High
Pruning Needs:  High 
Water needs: Moderate to high 
Red Tip Photinia Growing Guide Chart

6. Diablo Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’)

Diablo Ninebark
Diablo Ninebark

Diablo Ninebark is a stunning shrub with deep red-purple leaves that turn burgundy in the fall. This shrub is a great addition to any landscape design, as it provides a striking contrast against green foliage. 

Its compact size and low maintenance requirements make it an ideal choice for small gardens and borders. The Diablo Ninebark is also known for its attractive white flowers, which bloom in early summer, adding to its visual appeal.

Botanical Name: Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’
Growth Rate:  Fast
Native Range:  North America 
Hardiness Zones: 3-8
Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade 
Soil Needs:  Well-drained 
Tolerate: Drought, heat 
Fertilizing Needs: Moderate 
Pruning Needs:  Moderate 
Water needs: Moderate 
Diablo Ninebark Growing Guide Chart

7. Smoke Bush (Cotinus Coggygria)

Smoke Bush
Smoke Bush

The Smoke Bush, also known as Cotinus Coggygria, is a stunning shrub with leaves that appear to be covered in a smoky haze, earning it its name. The leaves range from green to a deep, dark purple-red, making it a great addition to any garden needing a pop of color. 

Additionally, the Smoke Bush is a relatively low-maintenance plant, making it a popular choice for gardeners of all skill levels. Its unique appearance and ease of care make it a standout in any landscape design.

Botanical Name: Cotinus coggygria
Growth Rate:  Moderate 
Native Range:  Southern Europe, Central China 
Hardiness Zones: 5-8
Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade 
Soil Needs:  Well-drained 
Tolerate: Drought 
Fertilizing Needs: Low 
Pruning Needs:  Low to moderate 
Water needs: Low to moderate 
Smoke Bush Growing Guide Chart

8. Little Miss Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

Little Miss Maiden Grass
Little Miss Maiden Grass

Little Miss Maiden Grass is a stunning shrub that adds elegance to any garden with its fine-textured leaves and feathery blooms. Its compact size makes it a great choice for small gardens and borders. 

This low-maintenance plant is easy to grow and requires minimal upkeep. With its striking red leaves that turn to bronze in the fall, Little Miss Maiden Grass is a perfect choice for adding a pop of color to any landscape design.

Botanical Name: Miscanthus sinensis
Growth Rate:  Moderate 
Native Range:  Eastern Asia 
Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade 
Soil Needs:  Well-drained 
Tolerate: Drought 
Fertilizing Needs: Moderate 
Pruning Needs:  Low 
Water needs: Low to moderate 
Little Miss Maiden Grass Growing Guide Chart

9. Coral bells (Heuchera )

Coral bells
Coral bells

Coral bells are a popular perennial plant with stunning foliage that comes in various shades of red, purple, and green. It is a great addition to any garden or landscape due to its low maintenance and ability to thrive in various conditions. 

Coral bells are a versatile plant that can be used as a border plant, ground cover, or as an accent in a mixed container. It also produces delicate, bell-shaped flowers on tall spikes that add to its visual appeal.

Botanical Name: Heuchera
Growth Rate:  Moderate 
Native Range:  North America 
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade 
Soil Needs:  Well-drained, rich, moist
Tolerate: Heat, humidity, drought 
Fertilizing Needs: Low to moderate 
Pruning Needs:  Low 
Water needs: Moderate to high
Coral Bells Growing Guide Chart

10. Fairy Wing ‘After Midnight’ (Barrenwort)

Fairy Wing Plant 1
Fairy Wing Plant

    Fairy Wing ‘After Midnight’ is a stunning shrub with deep, dark purple leaves that look almost black. Its foliage has a delicate, fairy-like appearance, which is enhanced by its pink flowers in the summer. 

    This low-maintenance plant is perfect for borders, rock gardens, or as a ground cover. Its unique color and texture make it a standout in any landscape design, adding depth and interest to your garden.

    Botanical Name: Barrenwort 
    Growth Rate:  Moderate 
    Native Range:  China, Japan, Korea 
    Hardiness Zones: 5-9
    Exposure:  Partial to full shade
    Soil Needs:  Well-drained, rich, moist 
    Tolerate: Deer, rabbits
    Fertilizing Needs: Low
    Pruning Needs:  Low
    Water needs: Moderate to high
    Fairy Wing ‘After Midnight’ Growing Guide Chart

    11. Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

    Black Lace Elderberry
    Black Lace Elderberry

    The Black Lace Elderberry is a stunning shrub with deeply cut, dark purple leaves that make a dramatic statement in any garden or landscape. It also produces clusters of pinkish-white flowers in the spring, followed by dark berries in the summer. 

    This hardy plant is easy to grow and low maintenance, making it a great choice for gardeners of all skill levels. Use it as a focal point in a mixed border or as a hedge for added privacy and beauty.

    Botanical Name: Sambucus nigra 
    Growth Rate:  Moderate to fast
    Native Range:  Europe and Western Asia 
    Hardiness Zones: 4-7
    Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade 
    Soil Needs:  Moist, well-drained
    Tolerate: Drought, air pollution
    Fertilizing Needs: Low to moderate 
    Pruning Needs:  Moderate 
    Water needs: Moderate to high
    Black Lace Elderberry Growing Guide Chart

    Final Thoughts

    In conclusion, if you’re looking to add a touch of bold color to your garden or landscape design, these eleven shrubs with red leaves all year round are an excellent choice. 

    With careful consideration of each plant’s needs for sunlight, soil, and water, you can enjoy their year-round beauty and enhance the overall aesthetics of your outdoor space. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, these shrubs are a great way to add visual interest and variety to your landscape.



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