Bushes that brighten the landscape with reddish leaves include varieties of chokecherry and viburnum as well as shrubby maples and barberry. Although many shrubs do wait until the gently warm days and chilly nights of fall to dress up in their most spectacular colors, others begin spring with glowing red to purple leaves.
The red chokecherry (Aronia arbutifolia) cultivar "Brilliantissima" turns bright red in autumn and is more compact than the often invasive burning bush (Euonymus alatus). Brilliantissima grows up to 8 feet tall, tolerates a wide variety of soils and is cold hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) zones 4 to 9. Its small, tart fruit make good jam. Plant it in full sun to part shade.
The leaves of Viburnum Witherod (Viburnum cassinoides) turn red to purple in autumn. Cold hardy to USDA zone 3, the bush grows up to 6 feet tall and wide and has creamy white blossoms in June. It's pink berries mature in September and attract birds. Witherod does well in full sun to partial shade and tolerates a variety of soils.
Acer palmatums are members of the Maple tree family. Some, such as "Beautiful Little Girl" (Acer palmatum Beni komachi), are short, graceful shrubs. Beni komachi is cold hardy to USDA zone 6 and grows from 5 to 9 feet tall. Its lacy crimson leaves intensify to scarlet in autumn. Beautiful Little Girl does well in containers and rock gardens and likes shade.
As bushes go, Japanese red barberry has a bad boy reputation for being thorny and invasive in some areas. But "Rosy Glow" (Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea) is popular due to the lovely variegations and purple-to-red cast of its foliage throughout the year. It is cold hardy to USDA zones 4 to 7 and grows up to 6 feet tall. Rosy Glow tolerates a variety of soils, but likes full sun and plenty of moisture.