The widely planted, but thorny Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is available in many cultivars, but one, atropurpurea Rose Glow, bursts with mottled pink and magenta leaves early each spring, which then darken through summer to a deep red by fall. It's a dense bush with closely knit branches, and when mature it will measure about 6 feet tall, but you can keep it trimmed to a smaller size. It likes full sun, and produces bright red berries that hang on through the winter.
Ruby Lorepetalum is an evergreen shrub that sprouts showy new red growth each spring. As the season wears on, its foliage darkens to deep burgundy by fall. In spring, it also blooms with pink fringes of flowers that line the branches. Loropetalums grow in sun or partial shade and tolerate drought conditions. It will mature to 5 feet, which is compact for a loropetalum, but you can keep it pruned and shaped to suit your needs.
The unusual redleaf rose, Rosa glauca, is notable for its deep red foliage with undertones of blue-green. In June, it blossoms with lightly scented pink single flowers. It also bears deep red rose hips, or fruit, that cling to the branches through fall. It will grow to 4 feet wide and develop rangy canes that arch and may reach 5 to 7 feet tall. Like other roses, it accepts pruning to limit the size. Also like other roses, it likes full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. It tolerates wind as well. The redleaf rose needs moist well-drained soil.
Red Leaf Hibiscus
Like other hibiscus, you can start red leaf hibiscus, or Hibiscus acetosella, from seed and transplant it into the garden after the risk of frost has passed. It's a tropical shrub that gardeners appreciate for its deep wine-red leaves that look a great deal like maple leaves. Purple flowers may bloom in late summer. Being tropical, it likes full sun and moist garden soil.
Along with the red leaf, the hibiscus cultivar Kopper King stands alone among other hibiscus, whose leaves are green. It has copper-red leaves with deeply cut lobes. With its 12-inch pink or white blooms that have a burgundy eye at their centers, Kopper King's flowers are as big as those on other hibiscus plants.