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Shrubs for Autumn colour

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  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,836
    edited November 2020
    If it's dry, no. Against a wall is usually drier, unless it's in the direction of the prevailing weather, and you'd then need to ensure that it was protected from wind too. A combination of dry conditions and wind, is what frazzles them. In a pot - even harder.
    They don't stop at three or four feet either, when they eventually get to that height. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • peteSpeteS Posts: 964
    @Fairygirl...I'm loving the look of autumnal acers...at least in a pot I can keep them watered when needed...but I think they are the very definition of a slow growing plant...20 years to reach full size...it would certainly test my patience.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,836
    edited November 2020
    It was something I considered when seeing your thread title,  but the reasons I gave are why I didn't suggest them :)
    They need a lot more attention in a pot, and the pale ones and green ones need more protection from wind than the dark ones, although they all get frazzled by it. 
    Entirely up to you of course - but it might be nicer to have that as a specimen somewhere it can really be enjoyed, but  without the hassle, if that site isn't going to be perfect. As you say - in a pot, it can be moved and watered accordingly etc, but it depends on whether you want to do that. I should have said too - I'm not sure whereabouts you are, or what else you have planted nearby either- and that can make a huge difference to your choices - especially an Acer   :)  

    The growth rate is a different matter of course  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • What about dogwoods? They have some amazing foliage colour in the autumn and then their stems are brilliant colours that glow against the grey skies of winter.
    They don't really give great summer points but then other plants do that instead.
    So many to choose from and can be cut back to encourage new growth.
  • Loropetalum declines in alkaline soil—from personal experience. However, even on my alkaline clay, my Acer japonicum is doing pretty well (though suffering from the recent hot spells). There are some quite small forms, although these can be more sensitive too. If you are OK with only autumn colour, then one which fits the bill would be more modest sized varieties of Hydrangea quercifolia; they can tolerate some shade. Clipping is also a way to keep a purple-leaved form of Physocarpus opulifolius within bounds. Mine is doing fine in part shade. 
  • OmoriOmori Posts: 1,673
    @peteS Acer 'Sango Kaku' grows a bit faster in my experience than some other Acer types, lovely colouring on the leaves and bark. Would need to eventually go in the ground though, if you have a sheltered spot. 
  • peteSpeteS Posts: 964
    @Omori...I am definitely edging towards an acer to fit my needs, and Sango Kaku looks a real beauty. A great website which I've come across which sells acers have 2.5mtr specimens growing healthily in 45ltr pots...which shows you have considerable mileage in growing them in pots before having to put them in the ground.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,836
    You still need the right conditions or it's a bit of a waste @peteS - of money apart from anything else. A specimen the size you're talking about isn't cheap, and smaller ones don't become that size in a couple of years   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    If your heart is set on an acer, I say go for it, Pete. I have an acer palmatum dissectum atropurpureum in a very large pot, been in it for over 15 years and around 3ft high. I doubt it was planted in the required ‘slightly acidic’ compost and it takes my very hard water no problem so I agree with @Cambridgerose12, they are definitely more tolerant of alkaline conditions than many sites suggest (if that’s what you have?). It gets dappled morning sun and does colour up reasonably well. I do think you get better colour on acers if they get a little sun though, but I suspect that’s true of all colourful foliage.

    Overall, I don’t really have the right conditions for acers, but my one seems to be bucking that trend too so I’m tempted to try another. Coincidentally I was looking at this one, which seems to be a mini-me of Sango Kaku:

    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,836
    Neutral to acid is fine, but if it's going in a pot, it's largely irrelevant  :)

    I'd still like to know more about the site though. It's a shame to waste a specimen shrub or tree if it's among a load of other stuff. I would day the same about the Euonymous alatus that's been suggested - it's  a specimen shrub/tree and deserves a good spot, not just used as a filler. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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