16 Pretty Garden Shrubs with Red Berries

Perennial shrubs add a layer to your landscaping, creating a beautiful backdrop for other flowering plants. Shrubs also create a hedge row, windbreak, or create a boundary at a property line. But what makes these shrubs stand out from the endless varieties to choose from? Well, the contrast between red berries and green foliage makes them even more visually appealing. Gardening expert Kelli Klein provides a list of 17 garden shrubs with red berries.

A shrub adorned with clusters of crimson berries and lush green leaves, creating a rich tapestry of color and texture in the garden landscape.


Aside from their visual appeal, shrubs with red berries can provide food and forage for wildlife and pollinators. These shrubs can act as natural bird feeders. They’ll flower first, then blooms will fade and turn into berries. The flowers will attract butterflies and other pollinators as well. 

Some of the berries are even edible for gardeners! It’s important to note that some of these berries are toxic to humans. Just because you see birds happily eating these berries doesn’t necessarily mean that they are safe for you to eat. Red berries attract birds, which is no surprise to anyone who has ever attempted to grow strawberries. Most birds will prioritize protein sources like bugs and seeds, but cedar waxwings and robins especially love berries. 


Clusters of red winterberries pop against lush green and crimson leaves, basking in the warm embrace of sunlight, a picturesque fusion of nature's vivid palette.
Winterberry ‘Red Sprite’ requires cross-pollination for fruit production.

Leading the list of shrubs with red berries is Ilex verticillata, commonly known as winterberry. ‘Red Sprite’ has very bright red berries. It’s native to much of the United States and Canada and grows reliably in USDA growing zones three through nine. It’s both heat—and cold-tolerant and prefers partial to full sun conditions.

This deciduous shrub will drop its leaves in the winter, but often, the crimson berries will remain clinging to the branches. These berries are edible to birds but are mildly toxic to humans and pets. This shrub requires cross-pollination to produce berries, so you’ll need to plant both male and female plants if you want them to produce berries.


A vibrant aronia berry shrub basks in sunlight, its ruby-red fruits ripe for picking, thriving along the roadside, a natural spectacle blending nature's bounty with human infrastructure.
Red chokecherry is a versatile plant native to North America.

The Aronia arbutifolia plant is commonly known as Aronia or red chokeberry. Aronia produces white flowers in spring, which turn into berries in summer, and the green foliage fades to red in fall. The flowers attract butterflies in the spring, and the berries provide food for birds in the fall and winter. It is native to Canada and the Eastern and Central United States.

These berries have a sour taste and are used to make jam, wine, candy, and syrup. The berries can also be eaten raw, but most prefer to process them in some way due to the sour taste of the uncooked fruit. They grow in USDA growing zones three through nine. Aronia is both heat and cold-tolerant and prefers partial sun to full sun conditions.  


A close-up of a holly shrub, showcasing its prickly foliage and red berries catching the sunlight's gleam, adding a festive touch to the natural scenery.
The American Holly requires cross-pollination for fruit except for the self-fertile ‘Croonenburg’ variety.

Ilex opaca, or American Holly, is native to the Eastern and South Central United States. Like most other holly shrubs, the berries only appear on the female plants. You will need both a male and female plant for cross-pollination so your female plant can bear fruit. However, there is one variety, ‘Croonenburg,’ that is self-fertile.

It grows in USDA growing zones five through nine and prefers full sun conditions. These berries are edible to birds but mildly toxic to people and pets. These shrubs can grow quite large, reaching heights of up to 60 feet

Red Elderberry

A cluster of red elderberries stands out against a backdrop of lush green leaves, showcasing nature's rich palette and the promise of fruitful abundance in the vibrant forest scene.
All parts of red elderberry are toxic to humans except the cooked berries.

Red elderberry, Sambucus racemosa, is a variety of elderberry that produces red berries. They’re native to Europe, Northern Asia, Canada, and the United States, where they grow up in riparian environments. They grow in USDA growing zones three through seven.

The fragrant flowers are a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds. Birds love red elderberries, but all parts of the plant, including the stems, leaves, roots, and raw berries, are toxic to humans. The berries are only safe to eat after cooking and have been traditionally used for their medicinal properties


A branch of bearberry shrub, leaves vibrant in sunlight, adorned with red berries, stands against a backdrop of blurred foliage, capturing nature's intricate beauty in a close-up composition.
Bearberries are edible for humans and have medicinal value in Native American culture.

The Bearberry plant, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, is also known as kinnikinnick, bear’s grape, sandberry, barren myrtle, mountain box, and hog berry. This evergreen shrub is native to circumboreal regions around the world, such as Canada, Finland, and Russia. It prefers northern cold climates and does best in USDA growing zones three through seven.

It thrives on rocky slopes, making it perfect for a rock garden or other area where you may not be able to amend your soil. The shrubs produce tiny pink bell-shaped flowers that are surrounded by glossy green foliage. The flowers attract butterflies and this low-growing shrub is the host plant to several butterfly species. 

As its common name suggests, the red berries on these shrubs are beloved by bears and sought out as a source of sugar as they fatten up in the fall to prepare for hibernation. Many migratory birds will happily eat these berries as well. They are also edible for humans and have been used for their medicinal properties by Native Americans for centuries.  

Red Currants

Clusters of red currant berries dangle from slender stems, adorned with delicate green leaves, creating a picturesque scene of nature's bounty.
Varieties of red currants thrive in cooler climates with morning sun and afternoon shade.

Ribes rubrum, commonly known as red currants, produce translucent red berries. This shrub is native to Europe and is widely cultivated for its tasty berries, which are also rich in vitamin C and enjoyed by songbirds and humans alike.

Red currants grow in USDA growing zones three through seven and are extremely cold-hardy. They prefer cooler climates and do best when planted in an area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. 

Linden Viburnum

Linden Viburnum berries up close, showcasing their glossy texture and rich hue, contrasting beautifully with the blurred backdrop of lush green leaves in the background.
This plant was introduced in the early 1800s from Eastern Asia.

Viburnum dilatatum, is also known as linden arrowwood or linden viburnum. Native to Eastern Asia, it was introduced to the United States in the early 1800’s. It grows in USDA growing zones five through eight.

In spring, it produces clusters of small white flowers that transform into bunches of bright red berries in the fall. In fall, the foliage turns from green to red. Birds rely on these berries as a food source in the winter. If left to its own devices and not controlled, it can grow aggressively and form a dense thicket. 

Wild Coffee Plant

Red, green, and deep purple wild coffee plant berries nestled amidst luxuriant foliage in a natural setting, showcasing the diverse hues and textures of the flourishing plant life.
Psychotria nervosa produces edible berries that are attractive to butterflies and birds.

The wild coffee plant, Psychotria nervosa, is not a true coffee plant, but it is closely related. It produces white flowers which attract butterflies, including the Atala butterfly, a rare butterfly species in Florida. These berries are edible for both birds and humans. These berries don’t contain caffeine, but they can be roasted and used similarly to the common coffee berry.

Cardinals, catbirds, bluejays, and mockingbirds especially love these berries. This variety is not cold-hardy and grows in USDA growing zones nine through eleven, where they prefer partial sun to full shade conditions. 

Silver Buffaloberry

Red buffaloberries contrast against green leaves, soaking up sunlight in a vibrant display of nature's hues, a picturesque scene of crimson berries and shimmering foliage under the golden rays.
This shrub’s edible tart berries are favored by bears and humans.

Silver buffaloberry, Shepherdia argentea, is native to the northern and western United States and Canada. It grows in USDA growing zones three through nine. It produces bright red berries that are sought out by bears just before their winter hibernation (much like the above-mentioned bearberry).

The tart berries are also edible for humans and are most often used to make jams and desserts. These plants are compact and easy to manage, with a mature height between two feet and twelve feet tall. 

Red Gooseberry Bush

A close-up of a red gooseberry bush, its ripe berries dangling amidst lush green leaves, delicately supported by slender strings, showcasing nature's intricate balance and beauty.
They come in various colors and thrive in USDA zones 3-8.

Most gooseberries are known for their small, round, greenish-yellow, sour fruits. However, the red gooseberry bush, Ribes uva-crispa, produces red gooseberries. Birds love these berries and make a delicious pie filling as well. Gooseberries are native to Europe and western Asia and thrive in alpine thickets.

They grow in USDA growing zones three through eight. In the early 1900s, the federal government outlawed the growing of gooseberries to limit the spread of the fungal infection that also affects white pines. This ban was rescinded in 1966, but some northern states still prohibit their cultivation. Be sure to check for local restrictions before planting. 

Strawberry Tree

A cluster of red and yellow berries on a strawberry tree branch, surrounded by green leaves, with clusters of white and unripe fruits emerging among them.
This plant, native to France, bears edible but bland fruits loved by birds.

The strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, is also known as dalmatian strawberry or cane apples. It is an evergreen red-berried shrub native to France, Ireland, and the Mediterranean region. The fruits are edible for humans, though relatively bland and mealy. This shrub is mostly grown for its ornamental qualities rather than its edible fruits.

It produces beautiful, fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers that attract bees and other pollinators to the garden. The fruits first appear yellow and then ripen to a bright red color. Birds love to eat these berries as well. The strawberry tree is not cold-hardy and grows in USDA zones seven through ten. 

Spotted Laurel

A close-up of foliage from a spotted laurel plant with vibrant red berries, its distinctive leaves are adorned with elegant spots, creating a visually striking contrast.
The plant produces berries via cross-pollination and has variegated leaves.

Spotted laurel, Aucuba japonica, is a woody shrub native to China, Japan, and Korea. Most varieties require cross-pollination between a male and female plant to produce berries; however, there are also some self-fertile varieties.

In addition to the beautiful red berries, spotted laurel also showcases bright green and gold variegated leaves and makes a great privacy hedge. These berries are edible for birds but mildly toxic to people and pets. They grow in USDA growing zones seven through ten. 

Allegheny Serviceberry

A close-up of Allegheny serviceberry shrub, showcasing delicate white flowers against brown foliage, inviting a closer look at nature's intricate beauty and the intricate design of its blossoms.
This is a versatile plant with white spring flowers and red berries.

Allegheny serviceberry, Amelanchier laevis, is also known as smooth serviceberry. It is native to North America. It forms multiple trunks and grows wild in more of a shrub shape or can be pruned to one central leader and grown more like a tree.

In spring, it has clusters of white flowers that produce red berries that ultimately ripen into a bluish-black color. In autumn, the leaves change from green to red, orange, and yellow. They’re cold-hardy and grow in USDA zones four through eight. 


Vivid red bunchberries sit atop lush green leaves, their vivid hue intensified by the sunlight bouncing off their glossy surface, capturing a moment of natural brilliance and warmth.
Creeping dogwood is a cold-hardy, low-growing evergreen with edible berries.

Bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, is also referred to as creeping dogwood. This low-growing evergreen shrub produces bright red berries that birds like to eat. It is very cold-hardy and does well in USDA growing zones two through six. It grows in part shade and does well at the base of trees due to its native habitat in shaded woodland areas.

These berries are edible for humans as well, though the birds will likely get them first. Bunchberry is native to the cooler climates of Greenland, North America, and Northeast Asia. 

Bearberry Cotoneaster

A bearberry cotoneaster shrub up close, its leaves glowing under the sun's warmth, accentuated by clusters of delicate pale red berries nestled amongst the foliage.
This is a low-growing evergreen shrub that is native to southern China.

Bearberry cotoneaster, Cotoneaster dammeri, is a low-growing evergreen shrub that is native to southern China and has become naturalized across Europe. It has glossy, rounded, green leaves and produces white flowers that turn into red berries.

The foliage fades to a reddish-bronze in the fall and returns to green again in the spring. It grows in USDA growing zones five through eight and provides berries for the birds throughout the winter.  

Spindle Tree

A close-up of a spindle tree reveals branches decked with red berries, delicate purple flowers, and lush violet leaves, creating a colorful tapestry of nature's beauty.
Bird-dispersed spindle tree spreads via birds eating its berries.

The spindle tree, Euonymus europaeus, is native to most of Europe. Birds love the berries, and when the birds eat the berries, they can also spread the seeds. Keep an eye out for young saplings that might pop up where you don’t necessarily want them due to the birds spreading their seeds. 

However, this can be beneficial if you want to create a stand for these shrubs. They grow in USDA growing zones three through seven. 

Final Thoughts

Garden shrubs with red berries make a wonderful addition to your landscaping by adding a variation of heights and visual appeal throughout the year, including into the winter with the evergreen shrubs. They produce flowers that will attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

Plus, berries provide food for birds and other wildlife, and in some cases, for humans as well! Adding shrubs with red berries to your garden will provide wildlife habitat, food, and beauty. Who could ask for more? 

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