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​Best Vines and Shrubs for Fall and Winter Interest

virginia creeper in the fall Salisbury Landscape

Fall planting season is upon us, and while it’s tempting to start thinking about spring already (hello, tulip bulbs!), we’ve still got two long seasons ahead of us! Now is the perfect time to set your landscape up for vibrant colour, particularly for the days when the ground has frozen and the opportunity has passed. Here are the best vines and shrubs for fall and winter interest in Edmonton!

Virginia Creeper

A vine that requires virtually no maintenance (except, of course, if it grows a little out of control!). Virginia creeper is one of the most exceptional plants for adding vertical interest and fall colour to the landscape. A fast-growing, aggressive climber, the vines “creep” up the sides of walls, fencing, and shade structures, covering them with attractive masses of five-leaved ivy and bunches of inedible blue summer berries. Then, in the fall, the whole plant bursts into an astonishing red colour worth looking forward to all year.

red dogwood branches in the fall

Red Osier Dogwood

Dogwoods are a large family of shrubs and trees, but it’s no surprise why this one is a landscaping staple in Alberta. Red Osier is among the few flowering shrubs in which the blossoms are barely significant compared to its incredible fall foliage and unique red twigs, which provide exceptional contrast in the winter.

Limelight Hydrangea

This popular variety of panicle hydrangea is a show-stopper when most flowers are in their last act. Flowering in late summer to late fall, this low-maintenance shrub blooms abundantly with lime-green flowers that mature to a green-tinted shade of cream. When fall arrives, the flowers evolve again to shades of pink, red, and bronze, and the foliage will often take on a gold or reddish tint as well. If not cut, the flowers will often remain on the plant into the winter, adding additional visual interest to the snow-covered landscape. 


A variety of holly, this is one of the most spectacular shrubs for winter interest. Flowering in mid-summer, this deciduous shrub develops vivid red or gold berries in the fall before the leaves turn gold and eventually fall away. Left behind is the hauntingly beautiful sight of bright berries on dark, bare branches. The berries provide an important food source for birds through the coldest months of the year, a nice bonus on top of the shrub’s unbeatable winter appeal!

witch hazel blooming

Witch Hazel

This incomparable fall-flowering shrub combines exceptional fragrance, brilliant colour, and a special uniqueness thanks to its pom-pom-shaped blossoms. With its peak bloom time occurring from October to November, few plants at this time of year offer the same sensory payoff. The best place to grow witch hazel is near a patio, pathway, or three-season sunroom, where its inimitable aroma can be enjoyed as often as possible.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce

It’s easy to get caught up in the flower frenzy of spring and summer, but let’s not neglect the power of evergreens in the landscape! Dwarf Alberta spruce is among those wonderfully versatile conifers that provide much-needed structure and gorgeous blue-green colour to the winter landscape. While it may take a backseat to your flowering shrubs from spring to fall, you’ll be glad you planted it as we trudge through another long Edmonton winter!

Sunkist Cedar

With winter colour from chartreuse to orange, this is a spectacular evergreen specimen for adding soft texture and colour contrast to the landscape year-round. A word of warning; some level of protection is recommended for this shrub, which can be vulnerable to heavy snow and harsh winds. Planting near a house wall or fence is ideal.

bittersweet plant


This vigorous vine combines the visual appeal of winterberry with the vigorous climbing habit of Virginia creeper! The plant spends the early half of the season growing and climbing before producing understated flowers in the spring. The flowers give way to beautiful orange pods in the fall, which persist after the vine sheds its leaves. What follows is a slow show of orange pods that gradually open to reveal red, cherry-like berries—a riot of colour to be enjoyed from late fall to mid-winter.

Not sure where to plant these magnificent specimens? We now offer DIY landscape consulting to help you plan and execute a new vision for your outdoor space, while helping you source these and other great landscape plants. Book your consult today, and we’ll meet you at a Salisbury Greenhouse location near you!

Posted in Landscaping Inspiration

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