Whether you’re looking to feed the birds for the winter or want some color in your yard, you’ll find both in these top 10 fall berry bushes. These are some of my favorites!
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Top 10 Best Fall Berry Bushes
- Staghorn Sumac
- Possumhaw Viburnum
- American Cranberry Viburnum
- Winterberry Holly
- Northern Bayberry
- American Beautyberry
- Virginia Creeper
I love having birds in my yard year-round. Seeing them thrive and raise young puts a smile on my face. I also love to have the color in my yard, even in the winter.
Just when the glory of spring and summer flowers comes to an end, Autumn leaves’ magnificent colors provide another stunning show of color.
And then when that comes to an end, we still have the bright colors of our fall berry bushes. If the birds don’t gobble them up first, you’ll see them sticking out like ornaments against the wintery calm.
1. Staghorn Sumac
I had always loved the Staghorn sumac, even when I never knew what it was called. The shape of the bush and the slender leaves always caught my eye.
Then come fall, the bright red was one of the first to show as cooler days approached.
The Staghorn sumac has clustered of small red berries that resemble Red Amaranth. These berries will feed the birds all winter long!
USDA hardiness zone 4-8, it does very well in cold winters. The flowers in the summer also help a variety of beneficial insects.
Find the Staghorn sumac at Nature Hill’s Nursery. (Spend $50 and get $5 off by using “Nature5” promo code during check out!)
2. Possumhaw Viburnum
I am only recently familiar with the possumhaw.
But wow, not only will it give you an enormous amount of berries if planted in the sun, but it will feed the birds all winter long.
If you love bird and wildlife photography, this is your fall berry bush. It also has loads of pretty, creamy-white flowers in the spring that bees and other beneficial insects love.
You will need a male plant to compliment the female, though, for cross-pollination.
The hardiness zones are 5-8, but the possumhaw may need some protection in the zone 5 areas to survive winter.
Find the possumhaw at your local garden shop. I’ve also seen it online at various Etsy stores or Amazon.
You may be familiar with the American pokeweed if you live near a wooded area or any natural meadows. It loves growing on the edges of wooded areas.
Some love it, and some would rather not have it, but the pokeweed has these beautiful dark purple berries that birds devour. Robins and Cedar Waxwings seem to be on them regularly here in Michigan.
Although it can spread readily, it isn’t a fan of transplanting, so be cautious when doing so and make sure not to cut through the taproot, or it won’t make it.
Some people think it’s invasive, but as with anything else, just monitor it and get rid (or give away!) any unwanted seedlings.
It’s a unique looking, attractive plant that fills with whiteish flowers that resemble a butterfly bush.
The berries are poisonous, so exercise caution if you have a pokeweed in your yard. Actually, the entire plant is poisonous (if eaten at certain times) not only to humans but to pets.
This is a bit confusing since birds and wild animals will gorge themselves on this plant. Also, there are quite a few holistic remedies made from the pokeweed so again, use your own judgment as to whether this plant is for you or not. It really is a great fall berry bush!
Hardy in Midwest winters, I’ve seen it sell at some unknown (to me) nurseries, Etsy shops, and Amazon.
***Exercise caution when buying plants because, again, it’s not a fan of being transplanted.
4. American Cranberry Viburnum
This pretty fall berry bush has green leaves that resemble the Maple tree leaves.
Plant it in full sun to partial shade, and you’ll have a lot of lacy white flowers, which beneficial insects love!
Come fall, and brilliant red berries will replace those flowers, giving the birds a natural feast. The leaves also turn a pretty deep red.
The American cranberry viburnum has a growing zone of 2-7. It is a very hardy bush that can grow up to 12 feet tall, so make sure you give it some room!
Find the cranberry viburnum at Nature Hills Nursery or any other high-quality plant nursery.
5. Winterberry Holly
The winterberry holly is a beautiful fall berry bush that will also add color to your yard in the winter.
As the leaves drop on this holly, you are left with a blanket of bright red berries covering this bush. It gives excellent eye candy when most of the landscape is white or brown, and the birds absolutely love it and will come to rely on them!
Winterberry needs a male nearby for the female to produce the berries. But, as with most of these attractive fall berry bushes, you won’t mind the bonus!
The growing zone for winterberry holly is 4-8.
This gorgeous fall berry bush is attractive all year round.
Its a low maintenance bush with pretty white flowers in the spring that are very beneficial to butterflies, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects.
The black berries stand out against the marbled red leaves beautifully in the fall and continue to stay on the bush after the leaves have dropped. The berries also soften, making it even easier for birds to eat.
Birds love these berries and can feed on them into December and January.
Chokeberry is hardy in growing zones 3-8.
7. Northern Bayberry
The Northern Bayberry stands out from other fall berry bushes; it has white berries instead of the usual red or purple.
Birds love these berries, and if they aren’t all eaten up by spring, you’ll still see some hanging on this bush. If you are around the shrub during the spring and summer, you’ll notice a pleasant leathery aroma of the foliage.
The Northern Bayberry tolerates poor soil conditions and is a hardy bush that grows well in zones 2-9.
This attractive bush can be found at Nature Hills Nursery and many other reputable garden centers.
8. American Beautyberry
I just love this fall berry bush! American Beautyberry is beautiful indeed with its clusters of small bright purple berries that last into winter.
The berries dry up once they get too cold, but the birds will still feast on them!
The American Beautyberry is actually an important food source for various species of birds and many different small animals. Deer will occasionally browse on the leaves, so plant it closer to the house if this is an issue for you.
This is a native plant in southern states, so the growing zones aren’t as hardy. They grow best in zones 7-11.
Find this bush at a variety of quality garden centers or on Amazon.
Snowberry is another bird-loving fall berry bush who’s berries last well into winter.
The native Snowberry is a pretty bush with pink flowers in the spring, followed by white berries in the fall.
Pollinators and hummingbirds love the flowers, and some use it as a host plant.
Snowberry does best in zones 3-8 and stays pretty small at 3-6 feet tall.
Find this fall berry bush at Nature Hills Nursery.
10. Virginia Creeper
Technically, Virginia Creeper is a vine, not a bush. But the benefits and color of this pretty vine earn it a place on the fall berry bush list!
This plant is native to much of the United States. If you don’t think there’s any around, just wait until the beginning of fall, and you’ll see deep red colors of this beautiful vine all over trees and in woods everywhere.
No worries, this plant is NOT invasive and does no harm to the trees it lives on. As a matter of fact, this vine feeds an abundance of birds all fall and winter long. Over 35 species of birds have been recorded taking berries from it! I’m sure there are more!
It is also a host plant for the Virginia Creeper Sphinx moth and Achemon Sphinx moth. Many small animals also dine on this vine.
This valuable vine has a growing zone of 3-9, and more than likely, if you live outside of the city, you have some on your property somewhere, or at least nearby.
It is also worth noting that if this vine climbs on the side of the building or railings, it doesn’t “stick” to the surface as some vines can.
Find the Virginia Creeper at Nature Hills Nursery. It can also be started from seeds.
There are so many eye-catching and beneficial fall berry bushes to choose from!
The two main things I look for are how beneficial they are to pollinators, birds, and other wildlife, and if they are native. If they aren’t native, I make sure they aren’t invasive.
For the most part, though, I try to choose native plants and bushes. It’s just more beneficial as a whole.
What’s your favorite fall berry bush on the list? Do you have any other favorites? Please do leave a comment below; I’d love to hear! 🙂