Deodar Cedar Growing Profile

Cedrus deodara

Deodar Cedrus deodara
Leonie Lambert/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Overview

The Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara) is an evergreen conifer tree that is favored for its weeping habit. It is often used as a specimen tree in parks and other large gardens and can also be used to line streets.

This species is the national tree in Pakistan. It has garnered the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

  • Common Names: This species is known as the Deodar cedar, deodar, and the Himalayan cedar. The name deodar evolved from the word devadāru, which is a Sanskrit word that translates to "timber of the gods". This tree is sacred in Hinduism.
  • Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones: Deodar cedar can be planted in USDA Zones 7-9. If you live in Zone 6, look for cultivars like 'Kashmir', 'Shalimar' and 'Polar Winter' since these are able to withstand cooler temperatures. Its native region is the Himalayas.
  • Size & Shape: In home gardens, the Deodar cedar will usually be 40-70' tall and 20-40' wide, forming into a pyramidal shape. It can be almost 200' tall in its native habitat.
  • Exposure: A planting site with full sun is best for this evergreen tree.

Foliage/Flowers/Fruit

Each needle on this conifer is 1-2" long and can be bluish-green or grayish-green depending on the cultivar. They are produced in whorls of 20-30 needles.

 They also appear individually on long shoots.

This is a monoecious species that will have both male and female flowers and cones present on the same tree. 

The fruit is a cone that will be reddish-brown and 3-4" long at maturity. It will eventually break apart to allow the seeds to disperse.

Design Tips

This conifer is able to withstand some drought after a period of root establishment.

If you would like a tree with golden needles, choose the 'Aurea' cultivar. For an enhanced weeping effect, look for the 'Pendula' cultivar.

You can use this as a street tree if you limb up the branches so there is clearance above cars in the street and adjoining walkways.

Growing Tips

Check to make sure that your soil offers good drainage since this species likes moist soil but cannot tolerate wet feet. It also needs to be acidic for proper growth.

Seeds are commonly used to start new plants. If you have a specific cultivar, though, you would need to take some cuttings to make sure the new tree has the same characteristics.

Maintenance/Pruning

This is a low maintenance tree and the only pruning that is usually needed is to remove any branches that have become dead, damaged or diseased.

Pests

Giant conifer aphids are known to attack the Deodar cedar. These infestations do not usually affect the tree enough to severely injure it. They do, however, produce a sticky liquid called honeydew. This can fall to the ground and make everything there tacky.

Other possible pests include deodar weevils, scales, borers, and bagworms.

Diseases

Honey fungi (a parasitic mushroom) may develop on this tree. Root rot may occur if the soil is soggy.

Tip blight can cause the needles to turn brown and fall off. There may also be spots with sooty mold if honeydew is present from aphids.