Sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua 'Slender Silhouette'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care


The Liquidambar styraciflua 'Slender Silhouette', commonly known as Sweet Gum, is a unique cultivar notable for its distinctive form and foliage. While omitting the size of the plant, one can still appreciate its narrow, columnar shape which lends an elegant and vertical aspect to landscapes. The leaves of the Sweet Gum 'Slender Silhouette' are star-shaped with typically five lobes, creating a symmetrical and appealing appearance. During the growing season, these leaves exhibit a rich green color, offering a lush and vibrant display. As the seasons change, the Sweet Gum 'Slender Silhouette' is renowned for its spectacular fall coloration. The leaves transition through a range of hues, including yellows, oranges, reds, and sometimes even purples, making it a standout for seasonal interest. The vividness of the autumn leaves provides a striking contrast against the backdrop of evergreens or the starkness of its own branches after leaf drop. The bark of the Sweet Gum is another distinguishing feature, with its deeply furrowed texture that becomes more pronounced as the tree matures. This gives the plant character even in the winter landscape when the branches are bare. Additionally, the Sweet Gum produces spiky, ball-shaped seed pods that hang from the branches. These brownish clusters persist into the winter, adding to the tree's textural interest throughout the colder months. Overall, the Sweet Gum 'Slender Silhouette' is a visually captivating plant that offers year-round appeal with its unique shape, attractive foliage, seasonal color changes, and textured bark.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      American Sweetgum, Sweetgum, Redgum, Satin-walnut, Star-leaved gum, Alligator-wood, Bilsted.

    • Common names

      Liquidambar styraciflua

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Sweetgum is generally not considered toxic to humans. There is no common report of poisoning from ingesting parts of the Sweetgum tree, including the Liquidambar styraciflua 'Slender Silhouette'. Therefore, no specific symptoms of poisoning are associated with this plant.

    • To pets

      Sweetgum is not typically listed as a toxic plant to pets. There is no well-documented evidence that the Sweetgum tree, including the Liquidambar styraciflua 'Slender Silhouette', causes toxic reactions in pets. Consequently, no particular symptoms or consequences of ingestion are expected. However, as with any non-food plant, ingestion of large quantities may cause gastrointestinal upset due to the physical properties of the plant material rather than specific toxicity.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      60 feet (18 meters)

    • Spread

      3 feet (1 meter)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Narrow Growth Habit: Ideal for small spaces or narrow landscapes, this cultivar has a slender upright form which requires less horizontal space.
    • Attractive Foliage: Offers vibrant green leaves that turn impressive shades of red, orange, and purple in fall for extended seasonal interest.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, it requires minimal care beyond occasional watering during dry spells, making it a good choice for low-maintenance landscapes.
    • Durable: It is tolerant of a range of soil types, from clay to loam, as long as the soil is well-drained.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Provides food and habitat for wildlife such as birds and small mammals, especially with its seed pods in fall and winter.
    • Urban Tolerant: Capable of withstanding urban conditions such as air pollution and compacted soil, making it well-suited for city environments.
    • Long Lifespan: With proper care, Liquidambar styraciflua 'Slender Silhouette' is a long-lived tree, creating lasting structure in the landscape.
    • Ornamental Fruit: Produces distinctive spiky fruit that can add visual interest to the winter garden when leafless.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • This plant is not used for medical purposes

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Woodworking: Sweetgum's wood can be used for making furniture, interior trim, or woodenware due to its workability.
    • Floral Arrangements: The spiky, round seed pods can be collected and used decoratively in dried floral arrangements.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The dense canopy of 'Slender Silhouette' provides shelter and nesting sites for birds and other small wildlife.
    • Winter Interest: The tree’s stark, narrow form provides visual interest in the landscape during the winter months when other plants have lost their leaves.
    • Beekeeping: Sweetgum flowers are a nectar source for bees, and the tree can be planted as part of a bee-friendly garden.
    • Photography Subject: The unique form and vibrant fall color make the 'Slender Silhouette' a striking subject for photographers.
    • Boundary Planting: Due to its tall and slender shape, it can be used to mark property boundaries without taking up much horizontal space.
    • Privacy Screen: When planted in a row, the 'Slender Silhouette' trees can act as a living privacy fence.
    • Tannin Production: The bark of sweetgum is rich in tannin, which can be used for tanning leather.
    • Educational Tool: This variety of sweetgum can be used in educational settings to teach about plant adaptation and selective breeding for specific traits.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Sweetgum is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Sweetgum is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Change and Adaptation: Sweetgum is known for its distinctly star-shaped leaves that change color with the seasons, symbolizing the ability to adapt and accept change gracefully.
    • Healing: Historically, the resin or 'gum' of the Sweetgum tree has been used for medicinal purposes, which represents healing and the soothing of wounds, both physical and emotional.
    • Longevity and Endurance: As a tree that can live for many years, Sweetgum embodies the spirit of longevity and the endurance to withstand the test of time.
    • Balance: The symmetrical shape of the Sweetgum’s leaves also signifies balance, highlighting the importance of harmony in life.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Not applicable
Late Winter-Early Spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Sweetgum 'Slender Silhouette' should be watered deeply once a week during its first growing season to help establish a strong root system. After establishment, it's more drought-tolerant and should be watered every two to three weeks, depending on weather conditions. During dry spells the tree may need additional water. A rule of thumb would be to provide about 10 gallons per inch of trunk diameter each time you water. Adjust the amount and frequency of watering based on soil drainage and rainfall to avoid waterlogged soil.

  • sunLight

    Sweetgum 'Slender Silhouette' thrives in full sunlight, so it is best situated in a spot where it can receive at least six hours of direct sun per day. It will tolerate partial shade, but its growth may not be as vigorous. Avoid deeply shaded areas for optimal growth and health of the tree.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Sweetgum 'Slender Silhouette' is hardy and can tolerate a range of temperatures, but it prefers moderate conditions. Ideally, it thrives in temperatures between 70°F and 90°F. It can withstand minimum winter temperatures down to -10°F. Extreme heat above 100°F may stress the tree, especially in low humidity areas.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Sweetgum 'Slender Silhouette' is generally done to remove damaged or diseased branches and to maintain its unique, narrow shape. The best time to prune is late winter or early spring before new growth starts. It's often unnecessary to prune annually; instead, prune every 2 to 3 years or as needed to maintain tree health and desired form.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The American Sweetgum 'Slender Silhouette' prefers a well-draining, loamy soil mix with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. Amend soil with organic matter to enhance fertility and drainage for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    The American Sweetgum 'Slender Silhouette' generally does not need to be repotted as it is a large landscape tree meant for outdoor planting, rather than a potted specimen.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The American Sweetgum 'Slender Silhouette' is tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and does not have specific humidity requirements, thriving in the ambient outdoor conditions where it is hardy.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Not suitable for indoor cultivation; it's a large outdoor tree.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun, well-draining soil, provide ample space to grow.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Sweetgum 'Slender Silhouette' begins life as a seed that germinates in late spring, ideally in moist, well-draining soil, under full sun to partial shade. The seedling stage involves rapid root establishment and shoot growth, progressing into a young sapling with a tall, narrow habit unique to this cultivar. Vegetative growth includes leaves emerging as star-shaped, turning from bright green in spring to deep burgundy or purple in the fall. As the tree matures, it develops distinctive spiked gumball-like fruit and furrowed bark, entering its reproductive stage, where it blooms with inconspicuous flowers in spring. Throughout its mature adult life, which can span several decades, the tree continues to produce seeds annually, with pruning required to maintain its slender shape. Eventually, the tree reaches senescence, where growth slows down, and it may become susceptible to pests or diseases before dying, at which point it decomposes or may be removed for lumber.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late Winter-Early Spring

    • The American Sweetgum 'Slender Silhouette', a cultivar of Liquidambar styraciflua, can be propagated most efficiently by semi-hardwood cuttings. The best time to take cuttings for propagation is during the summer months when the tree's growth is most active. To propagate from cuttings, you would cut a 6 to 8-inch (15 to 20 cm) length from a healthy branch, strip the lower leaves, and dip the cut end into a rooting hormone before planting into a soil mix. The cutting should then be placed in a warm, humid environment until roots develop, which typically takes a few weeks. Maintaining consistent moisture during rooting is critical, but avoid waterlogged conditions as it might cause the cutting to rot.