Liquidambar styraciflua
Photo by Flickr user Kew Gardens

sweet gum

This plant grows well in the following regions:

  • CVCentral Valley
  • NCNorth and Central Coast
  • SCSouth Coast
Map of regions (click to enlarge)
map of California regions


In garden settings, this beautiful tree grows to heights of 60 feet, beginning with a narrow form and then spreading with age. Foliage is green but turns brilliant purple, red, or yellow (depending of variety) in fall before dropping. The individual leaves are maple-like. Spiky seed pods remain on the tree through the winter.

Varieties differ in leaf shape and fall color. The varieties ‘Burgundy’, ‘Festival’, and ‘Palo Alto’ were developed in California and are well suited for the region and develop lovely fall color. These trees are well-suited for screens and fall color in gardens and landscaping. Liquidambar is native to eastern United States.

Sun needs:

  • Full sun

Water needs:

  • Medium water
Water needs information from WUCOLS unless otherwise noted