As the weather turns colder, we start to get some fantastic displays of autumn foliage. One of the best is Liquidambar whose maple-like leaves change from green through a range of oranges and golds to an eye-catching red falling.
Liquidambar is totally hardy but is best grown in a position sheltered from the wind so that the autumn foliage lasts as long as possible, and doesn't get blown away by strong winds.
It is a slow growing tree but, by careful pruning in late winter or early spring, can be maintained as a large bush. Un-pruned, it could ultimately reach 25m (80ft) but is easy to maintain much smaller than this. It is best grown in full sun as this gives the best autumn colours but can be grown in partial shade. Ideally plant in lime-free (ericaceous soil) that is kept moist but not waterlogged.
Liquidambars do look fantastic as a specimen centrepiece but can also be used as an effective backdrop. Consider using it with other autumn foliage plants such as acers which will benefit from similar soil conditions.