Liquidambar styraciflua

Sweet gum

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous tree


Autumn colour, Aromatic foliage



Skill level


photo by Lee Avison, copyright GAP Photos (212661)

Plant details

This handsome tree from Eastern USA and Mexico produces fantastic autumn colours of orange, red and purple. For the best display, grow in full sun, however it will tolerate partial shade. The common name of sweet gum comes from the resin-like scent that its leaves produce when crushed. Young shoots often have distinctive corky ridges. It makes a beautiful tree for woodland plantings or as a specimen. Grow in neutral to acid soil that is moist but well-drained. To propagate sow seeds in pots in a cold frame in autumn.

Family: Hamamelidaceae

Genus: Liquidambar

Species: styraciflua

Plant type: Deciduous tree

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Autumn colour, Aromatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Acidic, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 2500cm

Spread: 1200cm

Time to plant seeds: September to November

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