Gumball Sweet Gum

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Gumball'

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Gumball Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua 'Gumball') at Weston Nurseries

Gumball Sweet Gum

Gumball Sweet Gum

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Gumball Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua 'Gumball') at Weston Nurseries

Gumball Sweet Gum foliage

Gumball Sweet Gum foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  5 feet

Spread:  5 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  5b

Other Names:  American Sweet Gum, Gum Ball Sweetgum


A dwarf shrubby version of the species with interestingly shaped leaves that turn deep burgundy-red in fall; somewhat particular about growing conditions; often grafted onto a single trunk; an ideal size for garden use or the smaller landscape

Ornamental Features

Gumball Sweet Gum has forest green deciduous foliage on a plant with a round habit of growth. The lobed palmate leaves turn an outstanding burgundy in the fall. However, the fruit can be messy in the landscape and may require occasional clean-up.

Landscape Attributes

Gumball Sweet Gum is a dense multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a high maintenance shrub that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Messy

Gumball Sweet Gum is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Gumball Sweet Gum will grow to be about 5 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 50 years or more.

This shrub should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the foliage in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Accent  Screening  Garden 
Fall Color 
Ornamental Features