12 Fast-Growing Shrubs to Plant This Fall

Though spring is traditionally the biggest season for planting, fall is a great time to get in new shrubs. When planted at least a few weeks before the first frost, they have time to get their roots established before winter dormancy, and will be ready to burst forth with foliage and blooms in spring. Check out some of our favorite fast-growing shrubs you should consider planting this fall.

  1. Knock Out Roses

    Knock Out Roses

    If the thought of maintaining rose bushes seems intimidating, then you should try Knock Out Roses. This forgiving variety grows like a shrub, and takes the guesswork out of rose care. Knock Out Roses bloom profusely all season, and you can prune them at will—or not—without damaging the plant.

    Related:  The Best Trees to Plant for Fall Foliage


  2. Laurel


    There are many varieties of laurel to choose from, and they are all landscaping work horses. This hardy, evergreen shrub, can be grown as a single landscaping accent, or in a group to form a hedge. Skip laurel bushes are particularly fast-growing, and will provide your yard with good privacy in short order.

    Related: The Best 10 Plants to Grow for Backyard Privacy


  3. Privet


    There are about 50 species of privet (ligustrum), a shrub commonly used as a living privacy screen. Privet quickly grows to reach heights of 10–15 feet, and blooms with pretty, white, fragrant flowers. This shrub is a great choice for beginner gardeners, as it thrives in many soil types, and is drought-tolerant once established.

    Related: 9 Things to Do in the Yard Before the First Frost


  4. Burning Bush

    Burning Bush

    Burning bush (euonymus alatus) is probably best known for its ultra-showy fall foliage, which turns from green to fiery red. It grows quickly, and is low maintenance, which is what puts it on the short list of landscaping must-haves for many gardeners.

    Related: 30 Ways to Color Your Yard This Fall


  5. Firethorn


    Firethorn (pyracantha) is an easy-to-grow evergreen that puts on a show with its bright orange-red berries in fall. It’s well suited for a hedge, and will attract birds and other wildlife to your property. These shrubs will fill out quickly, and can grow up to 2 feet per year.

    Related: 10 Bold and Beautiful Flowers That Bloom in Fall


  6. Red Twig Dogwood

    Red Twig Dogwood

    Red twig dogwood (cornus alba) produces showy white flowers in summer, but its real star power comes out in autumn and winter when the leaves drop and bright red branches bring color to the chilly landscape. This hardy, drought-tolerant shrub is one you won’t be sorry you planted.

    Related: 10 Colorful Shrubs for a Standout Winter Garden


  7. Virburnum


    Virburnums are an incredibly versatile group of shrubs. They have appealing foliage, and pretty flowers—some of which are beautifully scented. Many species produce berries that attract birds and other wildlife. With more than 150 species, many native to North America, you’re sure to find one that fits the bill for your yard.

    Related: 12 Plants That Will Make Your Garden Smell Great


  8. Forsythia


    One of the most welcome sights in early spring is the emergence of blazing yellow blooms from forsythia. This low-maintenance shrub is wonderful as an accent, or grown as a hedge. Not only is it beautiful is spring, but it has colorful fall foliage as well. In summer, it provides a lush green background for any landscape.

    Related: 10 Fast-Growing Plants for (Almost) Instant Curb Appeal


  9. Hydrangea


    Although their show-stopping blooms might look high maintenance, hydrangeas are relatively easy to grow. They are happy in full to part sun, and thrive in a variety of soil types. With so many varieties to choose from—including the traditional “snowball” variety, oakleaf, bigleaf, and panicle—you should be able to find one to suit your climate and landscaping needs.

    Related: 14 Long-Lasting Flowers for Your Yard


  10. Spirea


    Spirea shrubs are hardy, quick-growing, require relatively little care. Cascading with flowers in late spring or summer, they come in a range of whites, yellows, pinks, and reds. Many varieties also have colorful fall foliage. Native to North America, spirea has been used by gardeners for hundreds of years.


  11. Pussy Willow

    Pussy Willow

    The springtime emergence of branches full of fuzzy catkins is a delight for both kids and kids at heart. These shrubs thrive in moist soils, and can be an asset in a yard with poor drainage. They are easily propagated by sticking a fresh cutting straight into the ground. So, find a neighbor or friend with a pussy willow and ask them to share!

    Related: 17 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping


  12. Elderberry


    Elderberry is native to North America, and grows easily in zones 3–10. Happy in both full sun and part shade, it blooms profusely with white flowers in summer. Its black fruit, the elderberries, follow in late summer, providing a feast for birds. This shrub is perfectly versatile, and widely available in nurseries.

    Related: 15 No-Effort Plants for a Foolproof Landscape


  13. Don't Miss!


    With a pinch of effort and almost no upkeep, you can have the lush, beautiful garden of your dreams. The secret is to choose plant varieties that enjoy a little hardship. We’ve compiled the essential list of hardy flora, with tips for care and maintenance. Go now!