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McKay Nursery Company

McKay’s Top 14 Fall Color Plant Picks

Oct 29, 2014 8:47:28 AM

Written by

McKay Staff

in Plants

Fall is known for it’s majestic yellows, oranges, reds and purples painting stunning Midwest landscapes. There are many options to attain such rich autumn foliage in your landscape. Here are McKay’s top 14 plant picks to achieve some great fall color.

Fall Color


1. Forest Rouge Blackhaw Viburnum - Fall color is an outstanding maroon that is wildly long lasting, which is what the plant is named for.
2. Autumn Brilliance (Cole’s Select) Serviceberry - Excellent glossy blue-green leaves turn a very characteristic and consistant brilliant red-orange in fall.
3. Cleveland Select Pear – Foliage turns brilliant red and purple, with some yellow in the inside in late fall - one of the last trees to put on its show.
4. Sumac Tiger Eyes – A beautiful plant. It’s bright chartreuse leaflets change all season long to yellow and fiery orangey-red contrasting the pink stems.
5. Dwarf Burning Bush (Euonymus Alatus Compacta)  – One of the best shrubs for fall color. In the sun, this plant turns an excellent long lasting rose-red throughout the fall season.
6. Maple Trees are well known for making a big statement in the fall. These trees offer gorgeous red, orange or yellow fall season leaves. A few of our favorite varieties include Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple (classic red-orange), Autumn Fantasy Maple (fire engine on the top of the leaf, and soft pink on the undersides of the leaves for quite a show), Burgundy Belle Maple (brilliant red aging and intensifying to a beautiful burgundy), and Autumn Blaze Maple (the classic red that you see everywhere).
7. Northern Red Oak – Rich foliage turns a glossy bronze-red in the fall.
8. Northern Pin Oak – Glossy dark green leaves with pointed lobes will turn a deep, dark red in the fall.
9. Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla) – Bronze-green foliage turns reddish in fall.
10. Birchleaf Spirea – The fall brings a myriad of color showing red, orange and purple for an outstanding display.
11. Northsky Blueberry – Not only are these great plants for their fruit, but their green leaves turn a marvelous red in the fall, making it a great ornamental plant to use in your landscape.
12. Flame Grass - The dark green leaves change to a bright red-orange in fall, and eventually fade to a silken white in winter. The feathery white seed heads appear in August and are showy and persist throughout the winter months – a fun addition to the winter landscape
13. Royal Raindrop Crabapple - Fall color is an assortment of bronze, orange and purple. Tiny, bright red fruits emerging in late summer are appreciated by wildlife and add winter interest.
14. Black Chokeberry – In addition to the many amazing health benefits of the fruit - aronia berries (new antioxidant super fruit), this is an excellent landscape shrub with multi-season interest. The dark, glossy leaves turn purple, orange and dazzling red in fall.

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