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Cedrus atlantica 'Argentea': Silver Atlas Cedar

Edward F. Gilman, Dennis G. Watson, Ryan W. Klein, and Deborah R. Hilbert


This silver-blue foliaged cultivar is a handsome evergreen for specimen planting. It reaches 40 to 60 or more feet tall and 30 to 40 feet wide. The trunk stays fairly straight with lateral branches nearly horizontal. Allow plenty of room for these to spread. They are best located as a lawn specimen away from walks, streets, and sidewalks so branches will not have to be pruned and are left on the tree to the ground. This shows off the wonderful pyramidal form with lower branches spreading about half the height. It looks odd if lower branches are removed. The trees are much too large for most residential properties. Older trees become flat-topped and are a beautiful sight to behold.

Figure 1. Young Cedrus atlantica 'Argentea': Silver Atlas Cedar
Figure 1.  Young Cedrus atlantica 'Argentea': Silver atlas cedar.


General Information

Scientific name: Cedrus atlantica

Pronunciation: SEE-drus at-LAN-tih-kuh

Common name(s): Silver atlas cedar

Family: Pinaceae

USDA hardiness zones: 6A through 8B (Figure 2)

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not assessed/incomplete assessment

Uses: specimen; bonsai

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range



Height: 40 to 60 feet

Spread: 35 to 50 feet

Crown uniformity: irregular

Crown shape: pyramidal

Crown density: moderate

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: spiral (Figure 3)

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: needle-like (filiform)

Leaf venation: parallel

Leaf type and persistence: needled evergreen, evergreen

Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches

Leaf color: silver

Fall color: no color change

Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage



Flower color: unknown

Flower characteristics: not showy


Fruit shape: oval, cone

Fruit length: 3 to 6 inches

Fruit covering: dry or hard

Fruit color: brown

Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns

Pruning requirement: little required

Breakage: resistant

Current year twig color: green, brown

Current year twig thickness: medium

Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun, partial sun, or partial shade

Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; slightly alkaline; acidic; well-drained

Drought tolerance: high

Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


Roots: not a problem

Winter interest: no

Outstanding tree: yes

Ozone sensitivity: unknown

Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant

Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

Difficult to transplant, it should be moved as a container plant or root-pruned balled-in-burlap. It does best in well-drained deep loam, on the acidic side, but it can tolerate sandy or clay soils, if they are well-drained. The tree looks its best when it is sheltered from strong winds, but it tolerates open conditions and will grow in full sun or partial shade. Allow for plenty of soil space around the tree since growth will be poor in restricted soil space. It tolerates extensive drought only when grown in an area where roots can explore a large soil area. It performs well in all areas within its hardiness range. It is suitable in zone 9 in California and perhaps in Florida.


Two other especially desirable cultivars are Cedrus atlantica 'Pendula', a weeping form, and Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca', having beautiful bluish-white foliage.


Generally free of insect pests and resistant to diseases, they may occasionally fall prey to tip blight, root rots or black scale and the Deodar weevil. Usually, no pest protection or control is necessary.

Sap-suckers are attracted to the trunk and often riddle it with small holes. This usually does little lasting harm to the tree.

Publication #ENH290

Release Date:February 19, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Southern Trees Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is ENH290, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Deborah R. Hilbert, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; Department of Environmental Horticulture; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Michael Andreu
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