The Types of Red Berry Bushes

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The Types of Red Berry Bushes
Red berries add colour to the landscape. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Bushes that produce red berries often attract beneficial wildlife species to the landscape. Many species of birds are attracted to red berries, and bees and butterflies visit the flowers that precede the red fruits. Shrubs with red berries come in a variety of sizes, heights and spreads. They can be evergreen, keeping their foliage year-round, or deciduous, losing their leaves in winter. Each species of shrub grows best in a specific range of climactic conditions, as represented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

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Choose shade-loving species for sites that only receive indirect sunlight. Alexandrian laurel (Danae racemosa) produces red-orange berries in autumn. This evergreen, which grows to 3 feet tall with an equal spread, has glossy, bright-green foliage and blooms in spring with yellow-green flowers. It grows best in partial to full shade and prefers soil rich, moist, well-drained soil, though it tolerates clay and sand. Alexandrian laurel is hardy in zones 7b to 9.

The nandina (Nandina domestica) produces showy clusters of bright red berries that last from autumn through winter. Nandinas have shiny, bluish, evergreen foliage and grow to 8 feet tall with a 3-foot spread. These drought-tolerant bushes are hardy in zones 6 to 9 and thive in sun to shade and a range of soils.

Partial Shade

Partially shaded sites receive two to three hours of sunlight or a constant mix of shade and light. The perny holly (Ilex pernyi) grows to 12 feet tall with a 6-foot spread. This shrub produces tiny yellow flowers followed by clusters of small red berries. Perny hollies have spined, evergreen foliage and grow best in sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Plant perny hollies in zones 6 to 9.

The red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) produces clusters of long-lasting, deep-red berries in fall and grows in a stiff, vase-shaped form. This deciduous shrub turns orange and red in autumn and grows to 10 feet tall with a 5-foot spread. It is hardy in zones 4 to 9 and prefers sun to partial shade. Red chokeberries tolerate a range of soils, from wet to dry.

Acidic Soils

Acidic soil has a pH level less than 7.0. The female winterberry or sparkleberry (Ilex verticillata) produces long-lasting red berries. This deciduous shrub grows slowly to 15 tall with a 10-foot spread and prefers sun to partial shade. It is hardy in zones 3 to 9 and grows well in fertile, moist and acidic soil, though it tolerates wet soils.

The linden viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum) produces clusters of showy, bright-red berries in autumn. This shrub's dark-green, deciduous leaves turn red in fall. It grows to 9 feet tall with a slightly narrower spread and prefers sun to partial shade and moist, acidic soil. Liden viburnum grow in zones 5 to 8.

Well-Drained Soil

Some shrubs thrive in well-drained sites. The red barberry (Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea) grows to 6 feet tall with an equal spread. This deciduous shrub thrives in sun to partial shade and tolerates a range of well-drained soils. Red barberries bloom with yellow and purple flowers followed by bright-red berries that last from autumn through winter. Hardy in zones 4 to 8, this drought-tolerant shrub has red-purple foliage and grows well as a hedge.

The scarlet firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea) grows to 15 feet tall with and equal spread and is hardy in zones 6 to 9. This semi-evergreen has thorned branches and glossy, serrated foliage. It blooms with corymbs of white spring flowers, followed by long-lasting red-orange berries. Plant scarlet firethorns in sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.

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