Cedar of Lebanon Growing Tips

The Proper Latin Name Is Cedrus libani

Lebanon cedar
larigan - Patricia Hamilton/Moment Open/Getty Images

The cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) is an evergreen conifer that will be a stately addition to your garden. It is considered to be one of the true cedars and in fact is the species that is the best at tolerating cold temperatures.

The flag from Lebanon sports one of these trees on it. It is also mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh and several times in the Bible by name. This evergreen is a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Latin Name

The botanical name for this species is Cedrus libani. There are two different subspecies: Cedrus libani subsp. libani is named as the cedar of Lebanon and Cedrus libani subsp. stenocoma is the Taurus or Turkish cedar. The genus also includes the weeping blue Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula').

The genus is included in the Pinaceae (pine) family, which also features spruce trees, pine trees, fir trees and the deciduous conifers.

Common Names

This evergreen is the cedar of Lebanon or Lebanon cedar. The name comes because one place that it is found is in the forests of Lebanon.

Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones

The libani subspecies generally grows best in Zones 6-9. The stenocoma subspecies is able to grow in Zone 5. It originally comes from the Mediterranean region.

Size & Shape

Cedrus libani is usually 40-70' tall and 30-60' wide, but it can be over 100' tall and 80' wide. When it is young it has a pyramidal shape, but as it matures it broadens and opens, producing a flat top.

Exposure

Your cedar of Lebanon will need a planting site that offers full sun.

Foliage/Flowers/Fruit

The branches produce both long and short shoots. The clusters of green needles have four sides and each one is up to 1 1/2" long.

Cedrus libani is a monoecious species. You can distinguish the cones by their color; the males are yellow and the females are purple.

The egg-shaped cones are 3-5" long and change to reddish-brown as they reach maturity. This process will take two years to complete.

Design Tips

This evergreen tree is often utilized in estate gardens and public parks. Keep in mind that this is a slow growing tree and it may take many years to reach its mature height.

You should look for the 'Pendula' variety if you want a weeping tree. 'Aurea' has needles that feature yellow tones. For a small shrub version, choose 'Sargentii'.

Growing Tips

Cedrus libani prefers acidic soil, but it can also grow in neutral and alkaline pH levels. Make sure that your planting site offers good drainage to help avoid problems with root rot.

This species is often difficult to transplant, so you can start it from seed in the desired location or plant a young specimen.

Propagation is mainly done through seed germination. If you are working with a cultivar, you will need to graft it onto rootstock to preserve the integrity of its notable characteristics.

Maintenance and Pruning

The cedar of Lebanon can be pruned to form a central leader if desired as it may form several different ones if left alone. However, the multiple leaders help the tree form into an attractive shape.

Any pruning should be done during the fall.

Pests & Diseases

There are not too many problems associated with Cedrus libani. You may see some aphids on the tree which can be naturally dispatched by ladybugs or simply by spraying them off the branch with water if it is low enough. Honey fungi may pop up as well as tip blight and root rots.