Not so long ago we released a piece concerning the best perennials bred for their autumn flowers, but there are plenty of shrubs in bloom now too. Below you’ll find our selection, cherry picked (excuse the pun) from a pool of hundreds, for your viewing pleasure.
The enticingly named ‘Sunshine Daydream’ is a rounded, evergreen shrub with shiny, ovate leaves of a green hue blushed with crimson. Its fragrant, tubular flowers will show in white and pink, the latter of which will deepen with age. Expect a max height and spread of around 1.2m.
The ‘Rubra’ variety of Arbutus is one of my all round favourite flowering shrubs, purely for the consistent colour that its very assets will show in different seasons of the year i.e. the attractive leathery foliage that it bears year round is complemented in the autumn by rose-pink flowers and then in the winter by similarly coloured fruits. Will eventually reach a height and spread of up to 8ms.
Sharing names with a great villain of literature, the ‘Crimson King’ could not be further in personality from its nom de plume: it will bear large, vibrant blooms with five petalled flowers showing in bright pink with yellow stamen. This specimen will reach a maximum height of 6m and half that in spreading range.
This triple whammy of colour is an obvious contender for your soil space, showing alternately green and red foliage in summer and autumn and vibrant, deep blue flowers throughout both. Most varieties of Ceratostigma have a height and spread of around 1m and 1.5m respectively.
The ‘Japanese Aralia’ is a large, bushy evergreen with an open, spreading habit that will host a mess of bold, glossy, dark green leaves complimented by the candelabra-like heads of small white flowers it produces in the autumn, and then its black fruits. This shrub has an ultimate height and spread of around 4m.
The ‘Versicolour’ variety of this cultivar is a hardy deciduous shrub producing slim, tubular flowers in hot pink. They will reach an ultimate spread of 2m and a height of 3ms.
Hebe ‘Autumn Glory’
The ‘Autumn Glory’ is a small evergreen shrub with rounded foliage to match its growth habit, whose edges are blushed purple in correspondence with its lavender-like flowers that grow in bushy spikes. This is one of our smaller autumn shrubs with terminal height and spread of only 60cms.
The ‘Blue Chiffon’ is almost reminiscent of paper flowers rather than their organic counterparts, with its pale, frilled petals and their delightfully folded double centres. Within 5-10 years this plant should reach a mature height and spread of 3m and 2m respectively.
‘St. John’s Wort’ has been one of the most frequently revisited species in these articles and with good reason, with its bright yellow flowers and encircling orange stamen, not to mention the striking red fruit it bears in the autumn. Reaches a matching height and spread of about 1.5m
The California Tree Poppy is not dissimilar in shape to our native Poppy, however, they do differ in their colouration and habit. The American born variant’s petals are white rather than red, but let’s face it, the last colour you need more of in autumn is red! It ha a max height of 1.5m and a spread of 2.5m.
By Josh Ellison