Sweet gums are highly ornamental trees or shrubs which have been on top of the popularity list for centuries. These come from North America from where they spread to nearly whole world: from colder parts of temperate regions to southern countries where summer temperatures easily reach 40°C. Their give-away are star-shaped leaves which can easily be mistaken for maple leaves, and their autumn colours.'Albomarginata' ('Manon') is a variegated form of sweet gum. It has star-shaped leaves with white margins that may turn pink in autumn. The leaves look very similar to variegated forms of ivy. This tree grows slowly into a narrowly pyramidal form. Highly decorative.
Another nice feature is the fruit. Formed in about 3 cm wide spiny spheres they can be quite attractive to look at and a bit irritating when stepped on barefoot once they have hardened up, if not cleared from pavements or lawns in spring. Pruning is not necessary but if you want to keep it short do so at the end of winter before the buds burst out.
Sweet gums are soil tolerant but prefer semi-fertile, deep, and well-drained soil that should be slightly acidic to neutral and moist. Once established they can take both temporary flooding and drought. The location should be sunny as it does not tolerate shaded areas. If you buy a plant taller than say 1.5m stake it well for at least 2 years. Plants older than 3 years are fully hardy to -27°C (USDA zone 5).
Size/type: medium-sized tree
Usual height: 5-7m
Usual width: 2-4m
Leaves: deciduous broadleaf
Colour of leaves: varigated - green a cream
Flowers: insignificant or non-blooming
Usda zone (lowest): 5b (down to -27°c)
Belongs to categories: deciduous broadleaf
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