Red Bushes for Landscaping
Red bushes can add dashes of vibrant color and interesting texture to your home's landscape. Red shrubs come in various growth habits and sizes, from low-growing varieties to those that reach up to 15 feet in height. Select red landscaping bushes according to your intended use, your USDA hardiness zone, the plant's mature size, bloom time and potential problems.
The Bonfire variety of ornamental peach shrubs (Prunus persica "Bonfire") reaches 5 in both height and spread within five years. This landscaping bush bears deep red leaves that retain their color during the entire growing season. The pink to red blossoms appear in April, followed by inedible fruits in the summer. Winter hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8, the Bonfire ornamental peach prefers acidic, moist soils in fully sunny positions. This ornamental peach bush sometimes attracts peach twig borers, spider mites and aphids. Use Bonfire bushes in your shrub borders or as a specimen plant.
Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is a dense bush featuring red to reddish-purple leaves and thorny, red-brown stems. Insignificant yellow flowers appear in April, followed by vibrant red berries that last throughout the winter. Japanese barberry typically winters well in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8. This deciduous shrub tolerates some drought and urban conditions, but needs fully sunny locations for the best leaf color. Mature plants reach between 3 and 6 feet in height with spreads ranging from 4 to 7 feet. Barberry webworm, scale and aphids sometimes feed on the foliage. Use Japanese barberry as hedges or barrier bushes.
The Red Select variety of Japanese maple (Acer palmatum "Red Select") bears lacy leaves that emerge pale red in the spring, mature to dark reddish-purple in the summer, and turn vibrant crimson red in the autumn. Non-showy, red flowers appear in April. This deciduous shrub typically reaches 4 to 6 feet in height within ten years. Winter hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9, the Japanese maple prefers rich, slightly acidic soils in fully sunny to partially shady locations. Avoid planting these bushes in excessively dry, hot or windy locations. Potential pest problems include root weevils, mites and borers. Stem canker, root rots and leaf stops occasionally affect these bushes. Plant Japanese maples near ponds, water gardens, rock gardens or patios.
Center Glow (Physocarpus opulifolius "Center Glow") is a ninebark variety known for its interesting red foliage. The leaves emerge a green-gold in the fall, but age to an attractive burgundy red. Flat clusters of white to pink flowers appear in May and June. Mature bushes feature peeling bark that reveals pale brown to red inner bark. Winter hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7, ninebark forms mounds ranging from 6 to 8 feet in both height and spread. This deciduous shrub has the best color in fully sunny locations. It tolerates a variety of soil conditions as long as it has good drainage. Leaf spots and fireblight are occasional problems. Plant Center Glow ninebark bushes as hedges, shrub borders or screens.