Dwarf Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera): This could be the top of the list of under-used shrubs. Also known as northern bush honeysuckle and bush honeysuckle, this is a hardy native shrub of eastern North America. Though not a true honeysuckle, it has honeysuckle-like yellow flowers mid through late summer. Dwarf honeysuckle is very adaptable and can grow in full sun or partial shade. It grows 3-4 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide. The real show starts late August with gorgeous flush of bronze, orange and red. Plant several together for a striking fall color punch.
Peking Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster acutifolia): This is a large shrub, growing up to 8-10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide. Native to Siberia, this shrub is extremely hardy and adaptable to many soil types. It is densely branched making it excellent as a screen or hedge. Dark green leaves turn orangey-red early fall. Tiny white flowers early summer form dark red berries that birds love. Hedge cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucida) shares these same attributes and can be used interchangeably with Peking cotoneaster.
Amur Maple (Acer ginalla sp.): If you are searching for a bright red fall exclamation point, this is your ticket. Amur maple is a large multi-stemmed shrub that can grow up to 15 feet tall and wide. Amur maple is native to northern Russia and Eastern Mongolia and is extremely cold hardy. Glossy, deep green leaves through the summer develop intense red fall color in September. Amur maple varieties include ‘flame’ and ‘compact’.
Black Chokeberry (Aronia meloncarpa): Pretty clusters of white flowers in the spring are followed by black berries later in the summer that attracts birds. Glossy green foliage becomes brilliant orange in autumn. Black chokeberry is adaptable to wet or dry soils but prefers full sun. Grows up to 6 feet tall and wide.
Dogwood (Cornus sericea sp.): Dogwoods deserve a special mention, not because of their fall foliage color, but because of the colorful stems that remain once the foliage has fallen for the season. Gorgeous red or yellow branches add color to any landscape fall through the winter months. A mainstay for landscapes in our region, these durable native shrubs make great wildlife habitat and are adaptable to sun or shade.