11 Perfect Deciduous Shrubs (Plus Care Tips)

Deciduous Shrubs

Shrubs are often defined as “miniature trees” with multiple stems, just a shorter height. Knowing what is available is a must if you are interested in having deciduous plants (a plant that sheds its leaves each year).

Keep reading to learn about some of the most popular deciduous shrubs available to figure out which ones you want to add to your landscape or garden.

1. Hydrangeas


You can find hydrangeas in several colors, shapes, and sizes. While they can look quite different, there are three things that all hydrangeas have in common:

  1.       They prefer rich soil
  2.       They need a steady supply of moisture
  3.       As you move south, more shade is required

While the tags you may read in plant nurseries may recommend planting your hydrangea in the full sun, it will typically wilt if it is in this location. A better option is to ensure they have plenty of shade, especially if you live in the southern part of the country.

The leaves on hydrangeas are usually large and coarse. The bunches of flowers are the shrub’s most striking feature and will bloom from late spring into early summer.

2. Korean Spice Viburnum


Korean spice viburnum is a flowering, deciduous shrub with aromatic flowers. It produces beautiful spring blossoms, with the flowers starting as pink buds and then changing to white blooms with just a hint of the original pink colors.

It’s best to plant this in the spring, and it gives the plant enough time to develop a robust root system before the cold of winter moves in.

3. Barberry “Rose Glow”


The “Rose Glow” variety of barberry or another one of the yellow-leaved forms will add quite a bit of color to your garden area. In fact, it will maintain these colors throughout the growing season.

The shrubs will treat you with their colorful leaf display and changing flowers as seasons change. After the shrubs show off their yellow flowers, the Rose Glow variety produces bright red berries around fall into winter.

4. Dogwoods


Dogwoods, like hydrangeas, come in several shrub forms and many different colors. You can also find variegated varieties, like the Siberian dogwood.

For a three-season shrub, try fothergilla, which has dramatic flowers in spring, with vibrant red, orange, or yellow fall foliage.

5. Blue Chip Butterfly Bush


This bush offers a compact size and produces several small flowers from its spikes. The flower is blue and appears from mid-summer and into October.

To get the best flowers from the plant, it requires full sun. While it can live in shady areas, it will not bloom as much, nor will the blooms be as bright in color.

Well-drained soil is a must for the blue chip butterfly bush, and without this, it may experience rot root.

6. Staghorn Sumacs


Another type of deciduous shrub, this variety produces foliage that looks like ferns. It will turn a deep scarlet color during the fall months.

Some people avoid these shrubs because of their wild and weed-like relatives, and because of the relation, they must poison sumac, poison oak, and poison ivy. However, staghorn sumacs are not poisonous or weedy and look and grow well in shade or sun.

7. Gold Mound Spirea


The most noticeable feature of the gold mound spirea is the bright, golden leaves that grow in spring and transform to a brilliant yellow in the fall. While other shrubs may produce more striking foliage or better flowers, there’s not one that outdoes the gold mound spirea when it comes to spring foliage.

The shrub is just two to three feet tall and three to four feet wide when fully grown. It requires partial to full sun and prefers clay soil.

8. Burkwood Daphne


When fully grown, this shrub is just three to four feet tall, making it great for areas where you want a little something, but not anything that will grow too large. It features blue-green leaves that are semi-evergreen and produces pink and white flowers in May.

Daphne can be tricky to grow. It requires well-drained soil that is neutral to slightly alkaline. It will also thrive in full sun or partial shade.

9. Bush Honeysuckle


As the bush honeysuckle shrub grows, the newly emerged foliage will be green and have a bronze tint. The leaves may turn orange and red in fall.

When mature, the bush will be about three feet tall and produce yellow trumpet-shaped flowers in June or July. The bush honeysuckle is a shade-tolerant shrub but will also sucker easily. This plant is commonly used for ground cover on shady hills and slopes.

10. Potentilla


Potentilla is another deciduous shrub that grows to be around two to three feet tall. It will flower from the late spring until summer and produce orange, red, pink, white, gold, or yellow flowers. If you live in high-heat areas, you may notice some colors tend to fade over time.

While the color in the flowers may fade, the bush itself can tolerate high heat and drought. After about two to three years, you may notice your shrub has a bit of an unkempt or straggly appearance. You can rejuvenate these plants by pruning them to the ground during winter.

The foliage will vary from a medium green to gray-green during summer, and in fall, the leaves turn a brownish yellow color.

11. Indian Currant Coralberry


The Indian currant coralberry doesn’t have much ornamental value, but it is exceptionally adaptable and can thrive in many climates and temperatures. It grows best in clay soils, shade, and other sites where other plants don’t seem to do well.

When fully grown, it will be three to four feet tall and produce small, berry-like fruit that turns a reddish-purple in the fall and stay until winter.

Since this plant can also sucker, it can be used as a source of ground cover if you have a steep slope on your property.

Choosing the Best Deciduous Shrubs For Your Landscape

As you can see, you have many options when trying to choose deciduous shrubs for your property. Be sure to consider some of the popular options listed here, as they will provide the aesthetic you want for your property.