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Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet gum)

Beginner
skill rating
1 hour care
per year
25m
Max height
12m
Max spread
20 years
To maturity

Plant details

Botanical name

Liquidambar styraciflua

Other names

Sweet gum, American red gum, American sweet gum, Bilsted, Copalm balsam, Red gum, Satin walnut

Genus

Liquidambar Liquidambar

Species

L. styraciflua - L. styraciflua is a mid-sized tree with palmate leaves that change to shades of reds, oranges and purples in autumn. This tree could be mistaken for an Acer however it has alternate leaves, whereas an Acer's leaves are opposite.


Liquidambar styraciflua is: Deciduous

Tree shape

Broadly conical

Foliage

Mid-green in Spring; Red, Purple, Orange in Autumn

How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest-free.

Diseases

Generally disease-free.

General care

Propagation methods

Seed, Semi-hardwood cuttings


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Where to grow

Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet gum) will reach a height of 25m and a spread of 12m after 20 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, Low Maintenance, Woodland, Foliage only

Cultivation

Plant in acid or neutral soil in full sun to partial shade, although autumn colour is often best in a sunny position. Soil should be moist but free-draining.

Soil type

Clay, Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

Companion plants

Botanical name

Liquidambar styraciflua

Other names

Sweet gum, American red gum, American sweet gum, Bilsted, Copalm balsam, Red gum, Satin walnut

Genus

Liquidambar Liquidambar

Species

L. styraciflua - L. styraciflua is a mid-sized tree with palmate leaves that change to shades of reds, oranges and purples in autumn. This tree could be mistaken for an Acer however it has alternate leaves, whereas an Acer's leaves are opposite.

Foliage

Deciduous

Tree shape

Broadly conical


Colour

Foliage

Mid-green in Spring; Red, Purple, Orange in Autumn


How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest-free.

Diseases

Generally disease-free.

General care

Propagation methods

Seed, Semi-hardwood cuttings


Monthly care advice


Where to grow

Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet gum) will reach a height of 25m and a spread of 12m after 20 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, Low Maintenance, Woodland, Foliage only

Cultivation

Plant in acid or neutral soil in full sun to partial shade, although autumn colour is often best in a sunny position. Soil should be moist but free-draining.

Soil type

Clay, Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6

Defra's Risk register #1

Plant name

Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet gum)

Common pest name

Elm spanworm; Ennomid; white; Linden moth; snow-white

Scientific pest name

Ennomos subsignaria

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

General biosecurity comments

Polyphagous moth pest which defoliates deciduous trees and; with repeated infestation; can cause tree death. Present in North America and current import requirements do not fully mitigate the risk of introduction. A PRA will help to assess the level of risk more fully.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read "Don't risk it" advice here

Suspected outbreak? Click here for contact details to report to the relevant authority.

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

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This plant likes... Garden match
Soil types: Clay, Loamy, Sandy Tell us...
Soil drainage: Moist but well-drained, Well-drained Tell us...
Soil pH: Acid, Neutral Tell us...
Light: Partial Shade, Full Sun Tell us...
Aspect: North, South, East, West Tell us...
Exposure: Exposed, Sheltered Tell us...
Hardiness: Hardy (H4) Tell us...

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