Shrubs are an important part of San Antonio landscapes. Shrubs not only provide aesthetic beauty to you homes, they also can offer screening/privacy, shade, and some provide food (berries) and shelter for wildlife.

It’s important to research the shrubs you are interested in incorporating into your landscape. Learn what their mature height is, learn their sun exposure requirements, and learn if they are evergreen or deciduous, and learn if they have any special soil requirement. The following list gives you a quick peek at some of the shrubs we have found to be favorites of our customers of Rainbow Gardens throughout the years. Take a look and see if any of these peaks your interest for the fall planting season. For those interested in native shrubs, check out our fall-blooming, native shrub showcase here.

Shrubs at Rainbow Gardens

(We’ve got a great selection of shrubs and trees for fall planting.)

10 Favorite Texas Landscape Shrubs

  1. Abelia (Abelia spp.): These are great flowering shrubs for partially shaded areas in the landscape. They grow with arching branches, and have colorful foliage along with tiny, but profuse, flowers in summer and fall. Abelia come in a wide range of sizes depending on variety, so there is most likely a perfect one for every landscape. Pollinator friendly, low water usage once established.
  2. American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana): A decidiuous, medium-sized shrub (average 4′-6′ tall x wide), the American Beautyberry puts on an amazing show in late summer when its magenta berries begin forming in an ombre pattern up the arching stems in a stunning contrast to chartreuse green foliage. The berries make a great winter snack for foraging wildlife. Adapts to shady or full sun areas and anything inbetween. Deer resistant
  3. Aucuba (Aucuba japonica): For those of you with all shade, these shrubs will be in heaven. Will not tolerate sun. Uprights shrubs with large leaves (green or variegated) will grow about 4′ tall x 3′ wide. Aucuba looks like a tropical plant, but is actually a hardy, evergreen specimen. Deer resistant.
  4. Barberry (Berberis thunbergii): Barberry shrubs come in multiple sizes (compact, arching, upright) and foliage colors (crimson, bronze, rose-pink, sunset yellow, green, etc…), so these are interesting specimens to include in your landscape. If you pick the right one for the right spot, minimum maintenance is needed. Deciduous and deer resistant for your sun to part sun areas.
  5. Boxwood (Buxus microphylla): If you are all about hedges, or creating Edward Scissorhand topiaries, boxwood shrubs are the way to go. These shrub are great for manipulating into the shape you prefer. The evergreen foliage on boxwood shrubs may turn a beautiful bronze in winter, depending on the variety. Average growth is 2′ – 6′ tall x wide, depending on pruning. Sun to part sun will keep these shrubs growing happily. They also do great in containers
  6. Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp.): This fast-growing shrub generally has tiny grayish-green foliage and puts out bright-red berries for the birds in fall. Not much maintenance is needed once these are established. Grows in a sprawling manner wider than taller. Can be hedge-trained.  Average 2′ – 4′ tall x 5′ – 7′ wide depending on variety. Deer resistant.
  7. Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana): Pineapple Guava is a larger specimen of shrubs, averaging about 10′-15′ tall x wide in the landscape. An evergreen with grayish-green leaves, this shrub also produces gorgeous red and white flowers with unique and showy stamens that look like little exploding fireworks. Edible fruit is produced in fall! Sun to part shade is best for these pollinator attracting shrubs. Size is altered when planted in pots.
  8. Pyracantha (Pyracantha spp.): This shrub tends to run the gamut of love it or hate it. People love pyracantha for its dazzling shock of crimson/orange berries that practically cover the entire plant in fall and winter. They hate it because of its numerous thorns. However, you could make use of its thorns and grow it as an espalier on a fence to help keep undesirables (whatever that may be be) out, and grow as a privacy and barrier screening plant. Pyracantha stays evergreen, is deer resistant, and drought tolerant once established. Average landscape size is 2′-8′ tall x 3′-6′ wide depending on variety and pruning. What’s a few pokes and scratches, am I right?
  9. Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens)Of course we are going to include Texas Sage in our favorite shrubs for San Antonio. These silvery-gray or silvery-green shrubs are one of our favorite natural barometers, putting out a flush of magenta-lavender flowers when conditions are favorable for rainfall. (It is literally sensitive to changes in humidity and barometric pressure). How cool is that? As if that wasn’t reason enough for you to have this shrub in your landscape, it is also drought tolerant, deer resistant, pollinator friendly, and an all around amazing native plant! Does best in full sun, and it MUST have well draining soil. Come get you one!
  10. Thryallis (Galphimia glauca): This shrub is a stunner when it blooms its long racemes of golden-yellow flowers late spring through fall. Average landscape size is growth is about 6′ tall x wide. An evergreen shrub, except in the coldest of our winter temperatures, Thryallis prefers full sun, is deer resistant, attracts pollinators, and is drought tolerant (although it appreciates supplemental water during the driest and hottest of our summer days).

You can learn more about and see pictures of some of these shrubs on the plantfinder tool on our website. This is a useful tool for researching any plant you are interested in incorporating into your landscape. (The plantfinder tool does not represent current availability at the stores. please call locations fo up to date stock availability.) Fall is the best time for planting trees and shrubs!

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy