Fall color in the garden is no doubt stunning, but changing foliage color isn’t the only way to get fall interest in your garden. Fall berries give you a pop of color and add a new texture to your fall space. Berries are also beneficial to wildlife, namely birds, who will happily gobble them up.
There are a number of shrubs that produce berries in the fall, but we’re gonna take a look at 10 big ones. But first, let’s dive into what it means for a shrub to need a pollinator in order to produce fruit.
What does it mean for a berry-producing shrub to need a pollinator?
Some berry-producing shrubs need a pollinator in order to bear fruit. There are dioecious shrubs that bear male and female flowers on separate plants, and only the female shrub gets berries. In this case, one male plant can pollinate up to five female plants. There are also shrubs, namely viburnums, that just need a different variety of the same species for berries to set, and in this instance, both plants get berries. In both cases, the compatible pollinator plant should be planted within 50 feet of the other plant; this is because 50 feet is the distance you can reasonably count on a pollinating insect flying during foraging trips. There are also shrubs that are self-fruitful and don’t need a pollinator to produce berries.
10 Shrubs for Fall Berries
Beautyberries really live up to their name, as dazzling purple berries cover their branches in late summer/early fall. Pearl Glam® Beautyberry gives the added interest of dark purple foliage from spring to frost. Pearl Glam® doesn’t require a pollinator to produce berries as it is self-fruitful.
2. Coral Berry
Coral berry is a native shrub known for its densely packed clusters of berries. Proud Berry® coral berry sports blue-green leaves all season, and then clusters of bright pink berries replace its bell-shaped flowers in late summer/fall. A pollinator is not needed for Proud Berry® to produce its big pink berries.
Pyracomeles is a great, easy-to-grow shrub with tiny evergreen foliage. Berry Box® has the added appeal of pea-sized orange-red berries. Berry Box® doesn’t require a pollinator plant to produce an abundance of berries.
4. Winterberry Holly
Winterberry hollies are native shrubs that are most known for their winter display of bright berries, but the berry show actually starts in fall. Berry Poppins® and Berry Heavy® boast vibrant red berries, and Berry Heavy® Gold produces bright gold berries. All three of these female winterberry hollies require our male variety, Mr. Poppins®, to produce berries.
5. Arrowwood Viburnum
Another native shrub, arrowwood viburnum, sports snowy white blooms in spring and blue berries in late summer/fall. Plant Blue Muffin® near another arrowwood viburnum for berries. Glitters & Glows® doesn’t require another variety to ensure pollination as it combines All That Glitters® and All That Glows® viburnum in one pot. Unfortunately, Glitters & Glows viburnum blooms at a different time than Blue Muffin so they are not a compatible pollinator. To get berries on Blue Muffin viburnum, we recommend Chicago Lustre viburnum (please note, this is not a Proven Winners variety).
6. Witherod Viburnum
Witherod viburnum is a native shrub that produces white, red/pink, then blue berries along with red foliage in fall. Like other viburnums, witherod viburnum typically requires another variety to fruit, but Brandywine™ fruits well without a pollinator. It also functions as a pollinator for the classic variety ‘Winterthur’.
Aronia, also known as black chokeberry, is a cold-hardy shrub native to Eastern North America. With its striking red/burgundy fall foliage and dark blue/black berries, Aronia is a stunner in any fall garden. Low Scape Snowfire®, Ground Hug®, and Low Scape Mound® each offer three seasons of interest in a durable package, and like other aronia, they don’t need a pollinator to produce berries.
Juniper is a durable evergreen tree or shrub, and many varieties have blue-green berry-like fruits in fall. Gin Fizz® has a handsome conical habit that is dotted with sage green and blue berries. Gin Fizz® doesn’t require a pollinator to produce berries.
9. Blue Holly
Ilex x meserveae
Blue holly is a hardy, broadleaf evergreen that produces vibrant red berries in the fall. Castle Keep® and Castle Spire® are both female varieties and will set fruit when planted near our male variety, Castle Wall® blue holly.
Elderberries are typically known for their flowers and foliage, but the fall berries that replace the summer flowers add even more interest to this stunning shrub. Laced Up® and Black Lace® elderberries have pink flowers that turn to black berries, and Lemony Lace® elderberry has white flowers that turn to vibrant red berries. Two different elderberry varieties are needed for both plants to set fruit.
Not sure where to start with your fall garden? Check out this Fall Plant Combos blog for some more inspiration.