Are you looking to add some color to your garden but don’t want a big, splashy show? It’s perfectly fine to want a ‘less is more approach rather than establishing a cacophony of color in your landscape. Sometimes, all you want is just a little something.
Thankfully, I’ve got just the thing AND with just the right amount of color and interest in all four seasons. Que ‘trees with red berries add a little vibrancy to your garden, even when everything else goes dormant, as well as provide vital food for wildlife. It’s a win-win!
Trees with Red Berries
Berry-producing trees typically provide alluring interest in fall and winter. However, some enjoy warmer weather and are quite happy as a summer garden accent. Below, you’ll see lots of different options that produce red berries. All of which have beautiful, spring flowers and interesting foliage characteristics.
These examples also come in different sizes and growing habits. So, there’s one (or two) to fit every garden style.
When you see one that speaks to you, be sure to look for things like the hardiness zone, maturity size, care requirements, and how it would fit into your current landscape.
The most important thing to consider is whether you plan to grow your red fruiting tree or shrub as an ornamental or if it’s something you’d want to harvest crops from. The list below has both.
Keep in mind that the berries in some of the examples are toxic and not intended for consumption.
Nellie Stevens Holly
(Ilex X ‘Nellie R. Stevens’)
We’ll start with this highly versatile, evergreen shrub that grows 24-36” per year, potentially reaching 25’, in maturity, in zones 6-9. Due to its vigorous growth, this holly cultivar can be planted as a garden feature or ‘en masse as a privacy hedge.
A cross between English and Chinese hollies, the Nellie Stevens has spiny, dark green leaves that don’t dull in winter. Rather, they maintain a glossy appearance that’s highlighted by those quintessential red holly berries.
The versatility of these ornate shrubs begins with the fact that they actually enjoy warm weather while still being able to tolerate frost conditions.
In spring, tiny white flowers sprout, in contrast to the surrounding green foliage.
The small, red berries that grow on the Nellie R. Stevens holly are very appealing and often used as holiday decorations.
But caution is recommended, especially around small children. As, they are poisonous to humans and most animals, including household pets. Ingesting these berries may result in severe intestinal issues.
Robin Red Holly Tree
(Ilex hybrid ‘Conin’)
The colorful Robin Red Holly with its spiny, evergreen foliage can be seen adorning gardens in the same hardiness zones as the Nellie Stevens. The difference, of course, is in the details.
While evergreen, new leaves continue to sprout in spring, in a rich maroon hue. Compounding its lush appearance, year after year.
The flowers from which autumn berries form are so small that they’re often masked by the dense foliage. Making the berries seem to appear out of nowhere.
The Red Holly’s tidy, pyramidal shape can reach a mature size of 18’ x 15’ and thrives in both full and partial sun, moist conditions, and nutrient-rich, acidic soil.
Like the Nellie Stevens, this hybrid can also be grown as a privacy hedge with seasonal interest.
In autumn, large clusters of attractive, red berries form. But these should not be ingested. Holly berries contain a toxic compound called ilicin and should be considered dangerous around small children. Ingestion by children and animals may result in severe illness.
(Crataegus crusgalli ‘Crusader’)
Its ominous name notwithstanding, this Hawthorn cultivar is cute as a button. Growing to a compact, yet broadly crowned size of 15’ tall by 15’ wide, in zones 4-8.
This is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to improve your curb appeal. Horizontal branches, covered in dark green, serrated leaves, extend out from a stout trunk. From which large, five-petalled, white blooms hang in clusters.
Coarse, gray, and brown bark supports this attractive composition as it moves into autumn, donning shades of scarlet, plum, and bronze.
A cultivar of cockspur hawthorn, this quaint yet tough tree can tolerate drought and occasional flooding. But, will not perform well in shade. Six, or more, hours of full sun are needed for healthy foliage growth and abundant blooms.
In late summer, showy pomes begin to emerge from spent flowers in similar clusters that remain vivid, spotted red right through winter.
Fruits are technically edible, meaning they’re not necessarily poisonous to humans or pets. However, the Crusader Hawthorn is typically grown as ornamental.
This prolific producer has grown all over the world and has come to be known as the Jamaica Cherry, Panama Cherry, and Singapore Cherry. It is widely known as the Strawberry tree (despite being a cherry) for its delicate blooms that closely resemble those found on strawberry plants.
With the ability to be grown as a single or multi-trunked tree, this is a rapid grower with slender proportions. Reaching 25’-40’ in height and width, with horizontal-spreading branches, in zones 8-11. These can also be grown in pots, in zones 4-7. Then, wintered over indoors.
The Strawberry tree performs best in the full morning sun with afternoon shade. Having a reputation for growing in the poorest of soils, this fruit bearer is drought-resistant and will often produce fruit in the first year, after planting.
The bountiful cherries from this tree can be either red or yellow and have thin skin and pulpy centers that taste similar to figs. The leaves of the Strawberry tree can also be dried and steeped for tea.
Lapins Cherry Tree
(Prunus avium ‘Lapins’)
The uncommon Lapins Cherry is one of but a few, in the Cherry tree menagerie, that is self-pollinating. But, not before putting on a spectacular show of softly billowing, pale pink blossoms, suspended along out-stretched, sturdy branches. These, along with dense, green foliage, have evolved to sustain and carry an abundant yield, in zones 5-9. In winter, deciduous leaves fall, revealing an unyielding and appealing architectural form in the open landscape.
Maturing to an overall size of 20’x15’, this blooming beauty is self-fertile and an effective pollinator for other cherry tree varieties.
In full sun and well-draining soil, this cherry cultivar will prove to be adaptable to most soil types, low-maintenance, and hardy down to -10F.
In optimal conditions, your Lapins Cherry could produce an astounding 20 gallons of sweet, firm fruit with dark red flesh that isn’t prone to splitting.
Known as a late-season cherry, this cultivar ripens a full two weeks after common Bing cherries and can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for them.
Everbearing Mulberry Tree
This Mulberry cultivar is attractive, deciduous, and can be grown as a single or multi-trunked specimen. In spring, tiny white flowers form in catkin clusters. With bright green, lobed leaves lining stems and branches.
Vigorously growing and low-maintenance, these are adaptable to most soil types in zones 3 and 4. Growing to a mature size of 15’ by 10’, these trees are long-lived and disease resistant.
Everbearing mulberries require no pollinator assistance to produce fruit. But do need full sun, loamy soil, and a fruit tree fertilizer once a year. A dwarf variety is also widely available and makes a charming addition to decks, patios, and front porches.
Once flowers have faded, succulent mulberries grow in abundance, from June to August. Ripening at different rates, the growing and harvesting time is extended. Unlike other fruiting trees that are ready to harvest all at once.
Mulberries are an excellent source of iron and vitamin C. Studies have shown plant compounds to be linked to lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and cancer risk.
Canada Red Chokecherry
(Prunus virginiana ‘Canada Red’)
The Canadian Chokecherry will introduce vibrant, season-long color to any outdoor space, especially monotone landscapes. Once established, these can form a stunning and productive privacy barrier, in zones 3-8.
Lush green foliage, on upward-mobile branches, reveals snow-white blossoms in spring, which develop into juicy, edible fruit. Leaves then herald the coming of autumn as they fade to the color of fine, burgundy wine.
This northern beauty can grow to 20′ x 10’. But, can be kept small for containers and small garden spaces.
Wind resistant, and drought-tolerant, the Chokecherry can withstand temperatures down to -30 degrees. Ideal for gardens in regions with extremely harsh winters.
With proper fertilization and sufficient exposure to sunlight, this tree will produce a bumper crop of tangy fruit. The sour cherries of Canada Red trees have firm skin that pops with chewy goodness and tart juice.
This unique flavor profile makes Canadian chokecherries an easy go-to as a recipe substitute for red wine. As well as in jams, juices, and desserts.
Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry Tree
(Amelanchier × grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’)
This hybrid fall favorite is a deciduous ornamental that can potentially reach 25’ x 25’. But, can also be kept at a more accessible size with seasonal pruning.
At maturity, this Grandiflora serviceberry celebrates the season by releasing hundreds of white blooms, in early spring. Then, finishes the year out with an enchanting architectural form.
Elegant branches reach out and across in geometric patterns from a sturdy trunk. All of which display a smooth, silver-toned bark that beautifully compliments its winter surroundings.
Supported by tear-shaped, blue-green, summer foliage, spent blossoms become clusters of small, pink fruit that ripen to dark purple, similar to blueberries or saskatoons. A popular snack for local wildlife. But, even better for you when used in jams, jellies, and pies.
The Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry gains its name from the stunning colors reflected in its foliage throughout the growing season.
In spring, new leaves emerge with bronze and plum undertones. Maturing to a bright blue-green before fading to fiery shades of copper and crimson.
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Coniferous Tree with Red Berries
We’ve seen some lovely deciduous trees, that drop their leaves in fall, and evergreens, like the Nellie Stevens and Robin Red hollies. All of which flower before fruiting.
The term “conifer” is often used interchangeably with “evergreen”. By definition, these are actually two distinct categories of trees, with a bit of overlap.
All conifers are evergreens but not all evergreens are conifers. Why? Conifers produce seeds through the development of cones. All other evergreens produce seeds through flowers.
Let’s take a peek at the one unique conifer that produces bright red berries without actually flowering.
Hicks Yew Tree
(Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’)
This one-of-a-kind conifer stands a significant 12’ high and 4’ wide, at maturity, in zones 4-7. As each new branch matures, beautifully contrasting shades of green develop, all full of soft, flat needles.
Adding to its already impressive resume’, the Hick’s Yew has a wide variety of uses. Its tall and narrow growing habit, coupled with how quickly it grows, creates the ideal planting choice for low hedges, foundation plantings (as an alternative to boxwood), or a tall privacy barrier.
The Yew will thrive no matter which side of your home you plant it on, growing in both full sun and partial shade. It’s dependably cold-hardy and rarely experiences pest and disease issues.
Yews grow in both male and female forms. The males flower and release pollen which the females capture to produce seeds. It’s beneficial to plant both if red “berries” are desired.
In autumn, female yews produce bright red arils that look like berries. Fleshy, cup-shaped seed coverings that are open on the bottom, revealing the seed.
Shrubs and Bushes With Red Berries
Berry-producing shrubs and bushes are great alternatives to trees for small garden spaces. Or if you’re simply looking for something with a lower profile.
While trees offer impeccable architecture and color, shrubs don’t necessarily require as much pruning and maintenance to keep them in the desired shape and size. Especially for a low-growing hedge.
However, the following examples still offer edible or ornamental red berries and eye-catching foliage variations. Remember to consider the hardiness zone and maturity size, when you see one you like, and most importantly, whether each shrub’s berries are edible or toxic.
Pink Lemonade Blueberry Bush
(Vaccinium ‘Pink Lemonade’)
On traditional blueberry cultivars, fruit emerges pink, then ripens to dark indigo, to indicate ripeness. On the cutest blueberry bush you’ve ever seen, the berries turn pink when they’re ready to be harvested. But, not before putting on a showy display of pretty, pink and white flowers against bright green leaves, in spring. After harvesting, the show continues with foliage developing rich bronze and copper hues before going dormant for the winter. Contributing to dazzling, seasonal color and interest that’s actually nutritious!
This unique blueberry variety can grow to 4’ high. Allowing you to grow them ‘en masse, as a snackable privacy hedge, or even smaller in individual pots. These will thrive in full to partial sun and well-draining acidic soil, in zones 4-8.
Pink Lemonade Blueberries are firm and juicy with a subtle kiwi flavor. While other blueberry types ripen all at once, this variety has one of the longest harvest times. Peaking in late summer, then continuing to produce berries all the way through October.
The Goji Berry plant is by far one of the easiest on this list to grow. Each shrub will gradually reach 10’ tall, at maturity. An abundantly-fruiting privacy hedge can be achieved by planting these 24” apart. Yet, since Goji shrubs are self-pollinating, a single plant grown in pots, or as a landscape feature, will still produce fruit.
In zones 5-9, these low-maintenance plants perform best in full sun and well-draining soil. They are hardy down to -18°F but also remain perfectly happy in the dry or humid conditions of warmer climates.
Bright purple, funnel-shaped flowers bloom in spring. These, then develop into long, orange berries that have been used for centuries as a superfood. Packed with antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins C, B, and E.
Caution is recommended, however. Consuming these berries has been known to result in severe allergic reactions. Those with autoimmune conditions should also refrain from eating Goji berries, as the Lectins they contain can disrupt the immune system even further.
Stevens Cranberry Bush
Cranberries are an icon of fall holiday meals. The Stevens Cranberry, in particular, is a favorite among chefs and home cooks, alike, for its sweeter flavor.
The Stevens has been cultivated to withstand a broad range of climate conditions. Everything from the severe winters of zone 3 to the warm and humid conditions of zone 9.
Traditional cranberries are typically farmed in bogs. But the Stevens cultivar thrives in nutrient-rich, acidic soil and full to partial sun.
This berry plant is also one that contributes to changing, year-round garden interest. Starting with fragrant, pink blossoms and dark-green foliage in spring. Followed by bright red cranberries that absolutely pop against the surrounding leaves.
Steven Cranberry shrubs can grow to a compact, mature size of 2’ x 3’. Comfortably fitting in borders and beds or pots and containers. These can also be pruned lower to serve as a fruit-bearing ground cover.
No matter where you grow them, come mid-autumn, you’ll have a bounty of cranberries from your own garden for your favorite recipes.
Winter Red Winterberry Holly
(Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’)
The Red Winterberry Holly is a highly ornamental, non-edible, fruiting shrub. Producing long clusters of glossy, red berries that extend out through dark green, deciduous leaves.
This unusual Holly not only has a different appearance than others of its kind, but it also has an extremely high tolerance for opposing climates. Freezing temperatures and thick layers of ice and snow, as well as warm, balmy conditions.
This convenient adaptability also includes most soil types, but this holly does require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Its versatility as a feature plant, hedge, or privacy wall is due to its mature height of 8’ x 8’.
Similar to a rose, new foliage emerges, in spring, a dusty burgundy hue. Highlighting these are tiny, white flowers. The Red Winterberry is not self-pollinating and should, therefore, be planted with the Apollo winterberry, the male version of this cultivar.
Once pollinated, the Red Winterberry will develop swathes of bright color that will remain so through winter. Even after the foliage has fallen.
Coral Beauty Cotoneaster
(Cotoneaster dammeri ‘Coral Beauty’)
Finally, we arrive at this prolific fruiter. A non-edible ornamental, this special cotoneaster presents a different appearance and growth habit, compared to other cotoneaster cultivars.
The growing season starts with a profusion of white flowers and small, polished, green leaves with gray undersides. As summer proceeds, flowers turn to coral red berries which persist through winter. Adding brilliant color to a dormant landscape. As Autumn approaches, foliage slowly fades to shades of plum and deep purple.
The Cotoneaster is one of the most ideal shrubs to grow either as a garden border, for foundation planting, or as ground cover, reaching a mere 2 ft tall. With a rapidly growing, 6 ft spread, per plant, it’s also one of the most economical.
The attractive qualities continue with its high adaptability to growing mediums. Cliff sides and rocky areas are no match for this shrub, in zones 5-10. Rock gardens and stone walls? No problem.
All this, plus its low-maintenance, pest, and disease resistant and even provides erosion control with its long, outward-reaching root system.
FAQ’s Trees with Red Berries
I often receive questions about different trees with red berries. Like, when they bloom and if there’s a way to tell if the berries are edible or not. Here, I’ll share some of those answers with you.