Additional Woody Plants with Fall Color

Additional Woody Plants with Fall Color
Shrubs and trees are excellent sources of colorful fall foliage. Here are some examples.


Spice bush is a scented native shrub that is found in the East into parts of the West. The plant grows in woods and swamps in the wild.

It reaches 15 feet in height. The dense plant is named for the spicy scent of the foliage and twigs.

The small yellow blossoms appear before the foliage in mid-April. Fall color is a clear yellow-gold.

The round fleshy berries also ripen to red in late fall and add color. The berries, foliage, and fruits have been used for herbal tea. Easy to grow, spicebush is suited to most soils. It prefers a moist site in part shade.

Star Magnolia

Star magnolia is only ten feet tall with a spread of 15 to 20 feet. This species can be a small tree or a spreading bush. It blooms when only three years of age.

The slow growing plant bears blooms in very early spring before the leaves emerge in March and April. The free flowering plant has white blooms, which can be scented. There is a variety with pink blooms.

In some years, these flowers can be damaged by late frost. They’re three inches across. In these flowers, the sepals and petals are the same.

Star magnolia is a popular garden plant in the South, but it isn’t well suited to the Deep South. This tree brings yellow to brown fall color. The young growth is very hairy.


Also called gobberwood, the yellow-wood is native to the South. This 30 to 50 feet tall tree is considered a great ornamental. It belongs to the pea family.

The scented pea-like flowers form long, pendulous clusters, over a foot in length. The leaves turn yellow in the fall. The fruit pod is 5 inches long.

The tree is named for the yellow wood. It is native from Illinois and Missouri to North Carolina and Georgia.

Yulan Magnolia

Yulan magnolia is considered one of the best magnolias. Hardy to zone 5, this tree is a source of yellow to orange fall color.

Reaching 35 feet tall with a spread of 30 to 40 feet, this tree blooms in early May before the leaves emerge. It has particularly fragrant creamy white, single blossoms. These can be up to six inches across and are almost shaped like a tulip.

They make a good cut flower. The tree begins flowering at a young age, about 6 to 7 years after it is planted. The flowers can be damaged by late spring frosts.

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