With flurries of amber leaves dusting Britain’s streets and crisp golden sunshine greeting us each morning, it suddenly feels like autumn is in full effect.

Here I share with you my top ten plants to give spectacular Autumn colour.

Virginia creeper

Without a doubt, this plant screams out autumn with its bright scarlet leaves as it covers the front of many houses and cottages.

It holds itself on with little suckers and climbs up a wall very quickly, so—beware, but if you have an unsightly garage or wall that you want to encourage to have foliage colour and serve as garden interest, you can’t go far wrong with this.

It’s a fast climber, self-supported with lovely green leaves through spring and summer and affords spectacular gob-smacking autumnal colour.


What a perfectly named tree.

Liquidambar styraciflua is a medium-sized tree that is noteworthy because of its autumn colour.

The leaves change colour at different levels, so on one tree you can have orange, red and gold—hence its name.

It’s ideal if you’ve got quite a sizeable space in the bottom of your garden and it will add a real amount of character and colour at this time of year.


Japanese maple


Unquestionably, many different varieties of Japanese maple all give fantastic colour during October and November.

There are many varieties, the straight palmatum has the full five-lobed leaves but you can also get a ‘Dissectum’ variety which has leaves in a feathered form.

Some varieties are green during the spring/summer and then turn into autumn colour, but you can also buy some that are purple varieties to give warm shades later on in the year.


Otherwise known as the smoke tree, this is another really nice shrub.

It has oval foliage and is quite a sizable specimen, growing up to about 8ft tall and even bigger once it’s been well-established—so it’s a great filler.

It has these small floret flowers and buds which give the impression it’s smoking during the summer.

There are green-leaved and red-leaved versions which both tinge with fantastically coloured leaves in the autumn.


Crab apple


It’s not just about trees for foliage, crab apples are also perfect for colour.

These are great pollinators for your normal apple trees, but the fruits are really just for ornamental use.

There is a lovely one called Malus ‘John Downie’, which offers foliage in glistening gold and ruby red. Another variety called ‘Golden Hornet’ is pure golden in colour and there’s also a variety with cherry red apples called ‘Red Sentinel’.

These trees can offer sensational flowers in spring, lovely summer cover and fruits in the autumn too.

Sorbus aucuparia

Also known as rowan or mountain ash, this small tree is another for fantastic colour—you get the autumn colour and the berries.

It’s not just all about the red berries, of course.

There’s one called ‘Joseph Rock’ which has lovely golden berries and Sorbus vilmorinii has almost mother of pearl colouring—it’s white but flushes of pink throughout.


Cotoneaster horizontalis


In addition to that, there is a really nice shrub called cotoneaster.

There are many different varieties, you can get ground cover varieties and tree cotoneasters, but they all have bright berries with them. Some are red, some are amber. This particular variety is otherwise known as the herringbone plant, with branches that grow out in opposite directions like a fishtail.

These bear not only lovely foliage for structure, but masses of autumnal colour from the clusters of berries too. It’s perfect to put underneath a window, against the side of the wall, or as a small shrub in borders.

Deciduous azaleas

There are two types of outdoor azaleas, evergreens—which are small and green throughout the year in bright colours, and then the deciduous azaleas which lose their leaves during autumn.

When they lose them, they turn into brilliant bold colours; scarlet, burnt oranges and golds.

These grow slightly taller than their evergreen friends and give a huge amount of garden interest.



Not only is a blueberry shrub great for the fact that you can pick the berries and have them in your yoghurt, or the fact that these make really great medium-sized fruit bushes in fruit and flower borders, but you also get spectacular autumn colour as they lose their foliage for winter as well.



Grow your own pumpkins, it’s remarkably easy to do.

You can grow them from seed earlier on in the season or as young plantlets in spring. Some varieties, like ‘Atlantic Giant’, grow quite large and are edible too.

But you don’t just have to position these in a growing space, you can grow them between plants you already have or in raised beds to give flares of striking orange tones amongst your garden greenery.

Adorn your garden in spectacular cold-season colour and it will lift your garden right through to next spring.

Happy gardening everyone!


When picking up pumpkins,

never do so from the stem. A broken pumpkin

won’t last as long.

Reader questions

What can I do to prepare my paving for winter?


To prepare paving for the colder months ahead, clear slabs of any debris, such as fallen leaves or weeds and then give them a good clean with a stiff brush and water. Check paving for any damage and fill any cracks to avoid them becoming worse with the onset of snow and ice. Finally, remember to lay grit or salt to keep paving slabs safe in frosty conditions.

How do I braid garlic for winter storage?

fresh radishes

Using three garlic bulbs as your starting point, tie together under the base of bulbs with twine and, as you crisscross them, add in more stalks as you go. You can soak stems to make them more pliable but, generally, this works best with softneck varieties over hardneck which have tougher stalks making them harder to manipulate.

Is your garden ready for autumn? Find out below:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: