Mt Cuba Center
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Liquidambar styraciflua

Native Plants

Sweet Gum

4 Photos


Grown especially for its fall foliage, sweet gum is a large, fast-growing tree tolerant of poor drainage and drier soils. Glossy green, five-point, star-shaped leaves adorn the tree throughout the growing season turning a combination of bright orange, gold, purple and red in autumn. In spring, inconspicuous flowers give rise to the iconic spherical clusters of seed capsules which turn from green to brown in winter. These “gum balls” persist on the tree and can be a nuisance when they drop. Sweet gum makes a good shade or specimen tree for moist, acid soils in full sun or filtered shade. It grows well with Aronia arbutifolia, Oxydendrum arboreum and Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Mt. Airy’.

More Details

  • Plant Type
  • Sun/Shade Conditions
    filtered-shade, full-sun 
  • Foliage Character
  • Soil Moisture
    average, dry, moist, wet 
  • Flowering Period
    early-spring, mid-spring
  • Soil PH
  • Flower Color
  • Summer Foliage Color
  • Fall Foliage Color
    orange, purple, red, yellow 
  • Fruit/Seed Color