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Cedrus deodara: Deodar Cedar1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2


With its pyramidal shape, soft grayish-green (or blue) needles and drooping branches, this cedar makes a graceful specimen or accent tree. Growing rapidly to 40 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet wide, it also works well as a soft screen. The trunk stays fairly straight with lateral branches nearly horizontal and drooping. Lower branches should be left on the tree so the true form of the tree can show. 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. Large specimens have trunks almost three feet in diameter and spread to 50 feet across.

Figure 1. Young Cedrus deodara: Deodar Cedar
Figure 1.  Young Cedrus deodara: Deodar Cedar
Credit: Ed Gilman

General Information

Scientific name: Cedrus deodara
Pronunciation: SEE-drus dee-oh-DAR-uh
Common name(s): Deodar cedar
Family: Pinaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 7A through 9A (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: specimen; screen; street without sidewalk; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; highway median
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range


Height: 40 to 60 feet
Spread: 20 to 30 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: pyramidal
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: fast
Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: spiral (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: needle-like (filiform)
Leaf venation: parallel
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen, needled evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green, 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
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; slightly alkaline; acidic; occasionally wet; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: unknown


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: yes
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

The tree has been successfully used as a street or median planting with lower branches removed. It appears to tolerate compacted, poor soil but declines in areas where smog is a problem. Plant on 20-foot-centers to create a canopy of blue foliage over a small residential street. This is probably the best true cedar for the South.

Transplants easily if root-pruned or from a container and protected from sweeping winds. It does well in dry, sunny spots and will tolerate high pH and clay soil. Cold-damaged trees die back at the top.

There are numerous attractive cultivars: 'Kashmir'—silvery foliage and is hardy in USDA hardiness zone 6; 'Aurea'—yellow leaves (looks ill); 'Pendula'—long, drooping leaves; 'Robusta'—stiffer twigs.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern. Perhaps scales, borers, deodar weevils, and bagworms. Following a cold winter, tops often decline and dieback in USDA hardiness zone 7. Secondary fungi can sometimes be associated with this decline.


1. This document is ENH293, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #ENH293

Release Date:June 12, 2014

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