Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.
Colorful Trees in Fall
What better way to appreciate glorious autumn fully than to grow some trees in your garden that will show off the season's gorgeous reds and oranges and yellows to best advantage?
What Trees Look Best in Autumn?
Most deciduous trees produce some autumn colour, but for more resplendent hues, choose varieties of tree that are genetically programmed to give good autumn color, like oaks, dogwoods, hickories and maples. There are loads to choose from, but here are my three favorites.
1. Sweetgum Tree (Liquidambar styraciflua)
My first selection for you is the glorious sweetgum tree. Even the name of this majestic gem rolls so beautifully off the tongue—liquidambar.
The sweetgum or liquidambar tree produces lobed leaves that turn a mix of red, orange and yellow in autumn. Some leaves even turn a shimmering black. You can often have these different colors all on the same tree.
How to Grow Sweetgum
Grow liquidambar in full sun or part shade. It prefers damp soil, but also grows well in regular garden soil. It needs soil with a pH of acid to neutral. This is a medium-size to large tree that is hardy from zones 5 to 9.
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2. Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica)
My second tree is the Persian ironwood, or Parrotia. This beauty has leaves that turn yellow or gold in autumn, with splashes of crimson. Leaves can have splotches of red on them, giving the impression that some sloppy painter has recently passed by.
How to Grow Ironwood
Grow in full sun in moist but well-drained soil. It's not fussy about soil pH. The ironwood tree is a small tree and therefore suitable for a small garden. It's hardy in zones 6 to 9.
3. Full Moon Maple (Acer japonicum)
My final tree is the full moon maple. It produces deeply cut, fern-like leaves that turn a burning red in autumn. The variety pictured above is 'Aconitifolium', and it's classified as a large bushy shrub or small tree, so suitable for a small garden.
How to Grow Full Moon Maple
Grow this tree in full sun or part shade. In fact, leaf color is best in partial shade! Grow in moist, well-drained soil with a pH of acid to neutral. It's suitable for hardiness zones 5 to 7.
More Tips for Autumn Gardening
- How to Plant a Crocus Lawn (With Demo Video and Care Tips)
Plant a crocus lawn in autumn to watch it flower in spring, year after year. Here's how.
- Lifting Dahlias: How to Lift Dahlia Tubers in Fall
Learn when to lift your dahlias and how to properly store them over winter with this step-by-step guide!
- How to Sow Cornflowers in Autumn for Bigger Plants in Spring
Autumn sowing cornflower seeds is a great way to ensure an early, colorful display of annual plants.
© 2021 Rachel Darlington