Liquidambar styraciflua

Sweet Gum


Glossy, maple-like leaves that turn brilliant crimson, purple and orange in the autumn. Height after 10yr 6m x 3.5m. Read more


  • Deciduous
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • M Size: Medium
  • Tree shape: Standard
  • Prefers full sun
  • Needs well-draining site
  • Autumn colour
  • Attractive bark
  • Replacement prune
  • Prefers acid soil
  • Open space planting

Container Options

Size Form Price
12L container - £66.00
Full Description

Description: Liquidambar styraciflua makes a large tree with a broad, pyramidal crown if it's central leader is retained.  Its unique from it's cultivars in that has attractive, corky bark which is an all year round feature. Large, deeply lobed star shaped foliage is a glossy, mid-green throughout the spring and summer. The autumn colour is second to none, ranging from fiery red, orange and yellow through to sumptuous purple, and often stays on the tree into December. It's globed fruit which are known as burr balls grow fresh green in summer. These spikey balls darken in the autumn and can remain on the tree throughout winter.

History: Native to the humid swampy regions of America, where the Spanish herbalist Francisco Hernandez first came across it. He provided the botanical name due to its aromatic gum which he described as Liquidambar. It was first introduced to England in 1681 by the famous British plant collector John Bannister.

Liquidamber Growing Tips: Liquidambar should be planted in full sun to achieve their best colour, in neutral to acid soil that is moist but well-drained. Once the trees mature, they tolerate occasional drought as well as periodic flooding. Protect from frost when young.

Height and Spread (after 10 years): 6m x 3.5m.

Some FAQs

Tree Care

Your tree will have been pruned prior to despatch so there should be no need to prune straight away. The only exception is a bare root maiden which will not have been pruned. Some varieties will benefit from being pruned later – please see the variety specific information.

We would advise watering your tree when planting and then regularly during the first summer in the ground. Thereafter the level of watering will depend on the soil and weather conditions. It is best to not let young trees dry out.

A free booklet with simple instructions will also be included with your order.

You can also find more information in the ‘Advice’ section of our website. Click here for ‘How to Plant a Container Tree’ and here for ‘How to Plant a Bare Root Tree’.

Trees should always be planted as soon as possible. The only exception would be bare root trees if the soil is very frozen or waterlogged, in which case heel the trees in until the ground is ready. Bare root trees must be planted before new growth appears in spring, this is usually in March.

If your tree is to be kept in a container, then we’d advise repotting into a larger container as soon as possible. Please check to see whether the tree is suitable for a pot before purchasing.


Yes, you can collect the trees from the nursery. Please select the ‘Collect’ option when placing the order. We will email you as soon as your order is ready for collection, we will then need at least two working days to prepare your order.

The delivery charge is calculated according to the number of boxes needed to send the trees. One container grown tree will need one box; bare root trees vary but we can usually get about three in a box. The total delivery cost will be shown when you place the order.

We currently do not deliver to any addresses outside of mainland Great Britain.

We will notify you by email when your order has been despatched. It will usually be delivered within three days from notification.

Our boxes are 2 metres tall and 30cm square.

We are unable to offer a scheduled delivery service as we cannot guarantee an exact delivery date. We can aim for a specific week if you let us know.

Our courier company will leave the package in the safest place if there is no one there, so there is no need to sign for the delivery.

Container grown trees are available from August and bare root trees are available from November. We always aim to deliver your order as soon as every item is ready for despatch.

If the whole order is ready when purchased, it usually takes between 5 and 10 working days to arrive.

See below for a guide on when bare root trees are usually ready for despatch.

Early November – Two year old plums, cherries, apples and then pears.
Late November – One year maiden plums, cherries, apples and then pears.
Late November/Early December – Ornamental prunus, sorbus, thorns, malus and then pyrus. 

This is an estimate as the lifting of bare root trees is very weather dependent.


If you are unhappy with your tree when it arrives, please email within five working days and we will get back to you as soon as possible.