Top 10 Colorful Year-Round Shrubs and Bushes
Liven up your yard in every season with year-round shrubs and bushes! From holly to beautyberry, there's a perfect pick for everyone.
Year-Round Shrubs: Oakleaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia, Zones 5 to 9
Oakleaf hydrangea gets its name from unique oaklike leaves, which set it apart from other hydrangeas and deliver some real color in fall. The carefree year-round shrubs reach 6 feet tall. In summer, look for large cone-shaped ﬂowers. Long-lasting blooms look lovely even as they fade and also make good cut ﬂowers.
Why we love it: Large white blooms turn purplish pink, plus purple-red fall foliage.
We found the top 10 small evergreen shrubs to grow for year-round curb appeal.
Variegated Red Twig Dogwood
Cornus alba ‘argenteomarginata’, Zones 3 to 7
There’s a lot to love about dogwood, especially the variegated types. Besides beautiful foliage, this one offers bird-pleasing berries, exceptional fall color and striking red stems in the winter. Red twig dogwood shrubs grow 6 to 8 feet tall. Remove older stems periodically to keep color strong with new growth.
Why we love it: Green and white foliage during the growing season and red stems add contrast and interest to this pick for year-round shrubs.
Attract more birds with a silky dogwood shrub.
Rhododendron ‘karens’, Zones 5 to 8
Even at just 2 to 4 feet tall, Karens has no problem getting attention in spring. That’s when this azalea unfurls a boatload of rich lavender-purple blooms. The tiny, glossy green leaves look pretty all summer, but in fall they seem to catch ﬁre when they transform into brilliant reddish copper tones.
Why we love it: The ﬂowers literally cover the plant in spring, and the fall foliage is an unexpected treat.
Add glamour to your yard with Bollywood azalea.
Callicarpa americana, Zones 5 to 10
American beautyberry grows 3 to 5 feet tall with long arching branches that add character year-round. Small clusters of pink ﬂowers appear in late spring, followed by iridescent purple berries favored by birds. It is root hardy in Zone 5, so it will resprout, ﬂower and set fruit if cut to the ground in spring.
Why we love it: Berries bring a welcome burst of unexpected color to the garden.
Beautyberry is also known for being drought tolerant—check out more drought-tolerant shrubs.
Leucothoe fontanesiana, Zones 5 to 8
This broadleaf evergreen looks fantastic trailing over a retaining wall, showing its fountainlike drape to best advantage. Leaves emerge light green infused with purplish tints, mature to dark green in summer and gain more purple coloration in fall and winter. Drooping laurel grows 3 to 6 feet tall and wide.
Why we love it: Ever-changing foliage looks good even in winter, especially with that graceful, arching habit.
If you’re interested in year-round shrubs, you’ll love pretty winter plants to fill your backyard with cheer.
Heptacodium miconioides, Zones 5 to 8
With a mature height of up to 20 feet, seven-son ﬂower has a real presence and a lot of interest to share: a large multistemmed habit with plenty of character, peeling bark and blooming ﬂowers late in the season. The white ﬂowers mature into cherry red fruiting structures.
Why we love it: The late-blooming nectar-rich ﬂowers are attractive to migrating butterﬂies in fall.
Plant Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick for year-round interest.
Fothergilla gardenii, Zones 5 to 8
Growing just 2 to 3 feet tall, dwarf fothergilla has a lot to offer. There are fragrant white ﬂowers in spring, blue-green leaves in summer and a ﬁery mix of red, orange and yellow hues in fall. Moreover, the compact habit is easy to ﬁt in any garden with a bit of shade.
Why we love it: Fall foliage is outstanding, and bottlebrush ﬂowers attract hummingbirds.
Plant Valentine bush for flowering beauty in winter.
Ilex spp., Zones 5 to 9
As a staple Christmas decoration, holly excels in winter—that’s when the red berries are at their showiest. Some species are evergreen, others drop their leaves to really showcase the berries. Many have attractive foliage, especially the variegated cultivars. With their dense foliage, hollies make natural privacy screens for small backyards.
Why we love it: The abundant red berries are a visual treat, and many holly plants can be pruned into whatever shape you desire.
Check out our complete guide to holly trees and berries.
Pyracantha coccinea, Zones 6 to 9
Scarlet ﬁrethorn grows 8 to 12 feet tall and carries stiff, thorny branches, so it adds privacy. Glossy dark green foliage, white ﬂowers in spring, and a preponderance of orange-red berries from fall to winter make it an attractive barrier plant.
Why we love it: Simply put, the berries. They are outstanding and a real boon to late fall and winter landscapes.
Grow these perennial plants with year-round bird benefits.
Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus, Zones 5 to 8
Rose of Sharon is the hibiscus to grow if others have failed you. It reaches 8 to 12 feet tall but takes pruning well. The large ﬂowers, which come in white, red, pink, purple and bicolors, appear from midsummer to frost. Or for an earlier show, try one of the cultivars with variegated foliage.
Why we love it: These upright year-round shrubs bring late-season color to the yard, and honeybees also love the big ﬂowers.
Next, learn how to grow croton plants for year-round fall foliage.