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Liquidambar styraciflua

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© RHS

Characteristics

Plant type

Tree

Habit

Bushy

Resilience

Hardiness

old H4 (hardy)

Colour

Flower

Green in Spring

Foliage

Green in Spring and Summer
Orange, Purple and Red in Autumn

Size

Ultimate height

Higher than 12 metres

Ultimate spread

wider than 8 metres

Time to ultimate height

more than 50 years


Preferred common name

sweet gum

Family

Altingiaceae


Liquidambar are deciduous trees grown for their alternate, maple-like leaves which take on brilliant and long-lasting autumn colour; flowers and fruits are inconspicuous

L. styraciflua is a deciduous tree to 20m tall, broadly conical in outline, with rather glossy, maple-like, 5 to 7-lobed leaves which turn to shades of orange, crimson and purple in autumn

Other common names

  • American red gum
  • American sweet gum
  • bilsted
  • copalm balsam
  • red gum
  • satin walnut

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun
  • Part shade

Aspect

  • South-facing, North-facing, West-facing or East-facing
  • Sheltered or Exposed

Cultivation

Grow in lime-free soil in sun or partial shade. Suitable for woodlands

Soil

  • Well-drained or Moist but well-drained
  • Acid or Neutral
  • Loam, Clay or Sand

Propagation

Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Flower borders and beds


How to care

Pruning

Pruning group 1

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free