Deciduous Flowering

Liquidambar styraciflua

Common Name:

Sweetgum

General Information:

Sweetgum grows naturally in a narrow pyramid. It has glossy, star-shaped leaves which turn bright red, purple, yellow or orange in the fall/early winter. The trunk is normally straight and does not divide into multiple trunks. The bark becomes deeply ridged. It is native to North America.

Family:

Hamamelidaceae.

Lighting:

Will grow in full sun or partial shade.

Temperature:

Zones 5B - 10A. More restricted zones may apply to some of the dwarf varieties.

Watering:

It is moderately drought tolerant.

Fertilizing:

To retain and produce small leaves, do not feed high nitrogen fast-acting fertilizers. Feeding three times a year is sufficient to maintain good color and healthy growth without enlarging the size of the leaves.

Pruning and wiring:

Much shaping can be done by pruning.

Propagation:

Cuttings, seeds.

Repotting:

They transplant well. Any type of soil with a pH of 7 or less, and with good drainage seems to grow them well. They have heavy root growth so must have root room.

Pests and diseases:

Bagworm, fall webworm, leaf miner, cottony-cushion scale, sweetgum scale, walnut scale, and tent caterpillars. Diseases include canker and leaf spots.

Bibliography:

USDA Fact Sheet ST - 358

Compiled by Thomas L. Zane