A picture of a Sweet Gum

Sweet Gum

Liquidambar styraciflua

Also known as

American Red Gum, American Sweet Gum, Bilsted, Copalm Balsam, Red Gum, Satin Walnut, American-Storax, Alligator-Wood, Red-Gum, Sweet gum, Liquidambar, Satinwood, Red gum, American sweet gum

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) in Mellon Park, Pittsburgh 01 by Cbaile19 (CC0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Sweet Gum

2014-11-02 13 06 29 Sweet Gum during autumn along Lower Ferry Road in Ewing, New Jersey
A photo of Sweet Gum
A photo of Sweet Gum
A photo of Sweet Gum

Sweet Gum Overview

A popular deciduous tree grown for their maple-like leaves with a serrated-margin, brilliant and long-lasting autumn colour. Their flowers and fruits are inconspicuous. It is often planted as an attractive border or hedge or to form beautiful avenues. It is a feature plant during autumn in any large garden providing shade in warm summers and allowing sun through bare branches in winter. After an injury to the stem, a red gum-like fluid appears that lead to the common name liquid amber.

Common problems with Sweet Gum

Problem free

    How to harvest Sweet Gum

    Harvest fruit in Autumn for seeds.

    How to propagate Sweet Gum


    Small 2 seeds within each capsule, from a spiked ball. Harvest the fruit in Autumn after they turned from green to dark brown. Allow fruit to dry (5 - 7 days) before planting.


    Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings. Keep moist while rooting.


    Propagate by budding in spring or from seed in autumn.

    Special features of Sweet Gum

    Autumn colour

    Orange, red or purple leaves cover the tree before it drops.

    Hedge plant

    Planted in rows acting as a wind breaker.

    Attracts birds

    Attractive leaves

    Maple-like palmate leaves.

    Other uses of Sweet Gum

    Foliage, shade, timber. Intense scarlet, purple, and yellow autumn foliage.


    Moisture Loving Plants - Top 20

    Damp, wet locations are perfect for these perennial plants.

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    Astilbe spp.

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