The Complete Guide for Round-Lobed Sweetgum (Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’) Care


The Round-Lobed Sweetgum, otherwise known as the Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ or Annual Lobelia, Edging Lobelia, Trailing Lobelia, Garden Lobelia, Blue Lobelia, Dwarf Annual Lobelia, is a rather well known perennial plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Round-Lobed Sweetgum Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Round-Lobed Sweetgum are the following:

  • Water: The Round-Lobed Sweetgum grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.
  • Light: Keep your Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Round-Lobed Sweetgum in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Round-Lobed Sweetgum this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Rotundiloba' care

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Round-Lobed Sweetgum belongs to the Campanulaceae family, the genus Lobelia and the species Erinus, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ (lik-wid-AM-bar sti-ra-se-FLOO-a).

As with other Lobelia’s, the Round-Lobed Sweetgum is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Round-Lobed Sweetgum is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 8 region, and in climate zones that range between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A1, A2, A3.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Round-Lobed Sweetgum is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, how big does the Round-Lobed Sweetgum actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ can grow up to 6″ – 9″ (15cm – 22cm) in 6″ – 9″ (15cm – 22cm) and 6″ – 1′ (15cm – 30cm) in 6″ – 1′ (15cm – 30cm). 

These dimensions make the Round-Lobed Sweetgum a relatively small perennial compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 6″ – 12″ (15cm – 30cm) free so the Round-Lobed Sweetgum can spread to its best extent.

Water

In terms of watering, the Round-Lobed Sweetgum is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Rotundiloba' leaves

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Round-Lobed Sweetgum in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Round-Lobed Sweetgum since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

The Round-Lobed Sweetgum’s ideal soil potting mix is made out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Round-Lobed Sweetgum requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this perennial will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being a deciduous plant, the Round-Lobed Sweetgum will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.

Flowers

You can expect your Round-Lobed Sweetgum to flower around the spring and in the fall months from April to June (spring) and from October to December (fall).

The Round-Lobed Sweetgum produces some beautiful yellow, or purple/lavender, bluepink, and white flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Round-Lobed Sweetgum have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Rotundiloba' up close

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Round-Lobed Sweetgum is well known for being able to attract butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ will be fine.

Garden

How should you then organize your garden to include your new Round-Lobed Sweetgum? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Round-Lobed Sweetgum’s best location within your garden is in hanging baskets, beds and borders, edging, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a specimen, firescaping/fire wise, or a very wet areas.

Conclusion

Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Round-Lobed Sweetgum, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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