Liquidambar styraciflua

Sweet Gum Bonsai

Native to Central and North America. Also known as ‘Liquid Amber’ these hardy deciduous trees have proven popular choices for bonsai beginners. Sweet Gum Bonsai are not only easy to train but have corky bark and foliage that simply mesmerises in the Autumn. 

Sweet Gum Bonsai Care Tips

Place your Sweet Gum bonsai in an outdoor position that provides sun and ideally good humidity. Some summer shade may be necessary during the hottest point of the season. This being a hardy species it does not require winter protection beyond harsh frosts and powerful winds when planted in a container. 

Water your Sweet Gum bonsai as soon as the surface layer of soil begins to dry. Once a day for Spring and Autumn, twice a day during the summer. 

During the growing season use a solid organic feed monthly. A  balanced liquid feed can alternatively be used on a weekly basis.


The corky bark of the Sweet Gum means you need to take extra care when wiring so as not to damage it. New shoots and twigs can be wired in June and July. We recommend using wires with a thickness that matches the thickness of the branch: if the wire you choose is too thick you will damage the bark. If it is too thin, it won’t be effective.

Repotting your tree is an important way to provide a fresh and suitable soil mix and ensure appropriate root health. Repot your Sweet Gum bonsai every two to three years at the beginning of Spring. Root pruning should be casual to heavy. An older sweet gum can be repotted less frequently.   

Trees that are ready for repotting will require root pruning, a suitable new pot and appropriate soil mix.

When repotting, do not cut back the root mass by a large amount, and choose a well-draining soil mix that has a neutral or slightly higher PH value of 5-6 but not over 7. We tend to use a mixture of different speciality bonsai soils on our trees. Every species is different so please contact us for free soil-mix advice or to take advantage of our repotting service.

Bonsai trees aren’t only magnificent additions to an indoor oasis, they are more than capable of standing out in any garden. Many Bonsai species are incredibly hardy and withstand nature’s colder and damper turns with aplomb making them worthwhile outdoor plants. We have an extensive library of care guides for outdoor bonsai trees. It’s not about selecting the perfect bonsai, it’s about selecting the perfect bonsai for you. 

Sweet Gum Bonsai - Typical Queries

Sweet Gum stays healthy and vigorous with the correct and consistent care. If the tree is weak you’ll likely find caterpillars on the leaves and be watchful for scale. Sweet Gum is particularly susceptible to pest species in its native North American environment. Leaf spot fungus and bleeding necrosis are the diseases to be vigilant for. 

Sweet Gum bonsai can be propagated with seeds, cuttings and air layering. Root suckers are also usable. 

Liquidambar is a deciduous outdoor species that is native to and thrives in temperate climates. It’s not advisable to grow this bonsai indoors.