How to Grow and Care for the Deodar Cedar

Deodar cypress tress with weeping branches in front of forest

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara) is an evergreen conifer tree favored for its weeping habit (gracefully drooping branches). 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, growing naturally in the western Himalayas, and it has garnered the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. Each needle on this conifer is 1 to 2 inches long and can be bluish-green or grayish-green, depending on the cultivar. They are produced in whorls of 20 to 30 needles. They also appear individually on long shoots.

Cedrus deodara is one of the true cedars. Other true cedars include the cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) and the Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica), which comes in a weeping form. It is in the Pinaceae family, which includes both evergreen and deciduous conifers such as pine trees, spruce trees, and fir trees. 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.

Common Name Deodar Cedar, Himalayan Cedar
Botanical Name Cedrus deodara
Family Pinaceae
Plant Type Evergreen coniferous tree
Mature Size 40-70 ft. tall, 20-40 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full
Soil Type Loamy, moist, sandy, clay, well-drained
Soil pH Acidic
Hardiness Zones 7-9 (USDA)
Native Area Asia

Deodar Cedar Trees Care

Deodar cedar trees, which can be propagated from seed, need plenty of space, a sunny spot, and prefers slightly acidic well-drained soil. They grow at a moderate pace, adding one to two feet per year to reach between 40 and 70 feet tall, though they can reach 250 feet in their native setting. The tree needs all that space because of its beautiful weeping branches, which will grow and spread. Avoid planting the tree in areas that get a lot of wind.

Plant a deodar cedar sapling in the early spring months, right after the ground has thawed, or in the fall once the plant has gone dormant in preparation for winter. If you plant the tree in the fall, it won't need as much sun or water as it would in the spring.

When planting, dig a hole that's at least three times as wide as the tree's root ball. Add 25 percent compost, peat, or aged manure to the soil to help it drain, put the root ball in the hole, and return the soil and organic mix to surround the tree. Tamp the soil lightly, and water it thoroughly.

Deodar cedar tree trunk with extending branches and small needle-like leaves
The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
Deodar cypress tree with weeping branches and long shoots of needles
The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
Deodar cedar tree branch with short needles and bright green shoots
The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
Tall deodar cypress tree with weeping extended branches
The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

A planting site with full sun is best for this evergreen tree, though it can tolerate partial shade.

Soil

Deodar cedar trees can be grown in a wide variety of soil types, including loam, sand, and clay, as long as that soil is well-drained.

Water

Give the tree plenty of water during the first few growing seasons. Once established, deodar cedars are somewhat drought-resistant. Check to make sure that your soil offers good drainage because this species likes moist soil but cannot tolerate wet feet.

Temperature and Humidity

Of all the cedar trees, the deodar cedar has the best tolerance for heat and humidity.

Fertilizer

Fertilize the ground around the tree in the spring months before new growth begins. Don't fertilize the cedar more than once per year, as too much nitrogen can cause root burn.

Types of Deodar Cedar

  • Cedru. deodara 'Albospica': A slow-growing cultivar with white or silver foliage
  • C. deodara 'Aurea': Features horizontal branches and golden needles; first described by botanist J. Nelson in 1866
  • C. deodara 'Golden Horizon': A dwarf variety that grows quickly but only up to 10 feet tall and has golden needles that turn yellow-green in the summer
  • C. deodara 'Feelin' Blue': Also a dwarf variety, features blue-green foliage and weeping branches; grows to about 6 feet tall and wide
  • C. deodara 'Kashmir': Showcases silvery blue-green foliage and can tolerate below-zero temperature
  • C. deodara 'Shalimar': Features a blue-green hue and excellent hardiness

Pruning

Deodar cedar is a low-maintenance tree. The only pruning that is usually needed is to remove any branches that have become dead, damaged, or diseased before new growth begins in the spring. If you need to prune, take extreme care—it's easy to cut away too much green that won't grow back, which could lead to the tree's death.

Propagating Deodar Cedar

It is not easy to propagate deodar cedar trees from cuttings or grafting. Propagating from seeds is the recommended way to go.

How to Grow Deodar Cedar From Seed

To grow a deodar cedar tree from seed will take a bit of patience and time. Here's how:

  1. Collect the cones in the fall months before they turn brown.
  2. Soak the cones in warm water for a day or two to make it easier to remove the seeds.
  3. Dry the cones and remove the seeds from the scales. Deodar cedar seeds have wings, so use a dry cloth to rub the wings, which will then separate from the seeds.
  4. Place the seeds in a zip lock bag and put them in the refrigerator to germinate for two weeks.
  5. Plant seeds in a container filled with potting compost and place it in indirect light keeping the container at room temperature. Water until damp and let grow to a decent height before transplanting outdoors.

Common Pests and Diseases

Giant conifer aphids are known to attack the deodar cedar, though these infestations do not usually affect the tree enough to severely injure it. They do, however, produce a sticky liquid called honeydew which can fall to the ground and make everything tacky. To manage these aphids, spray with high-pressure water to remove the pests, and then use an insecticidal soap. In the spring, apply a systemic insecticide.

Honey fungus (a parasitic mushroom) may develop on this tree, but it can be controlled by burying a physical barrier, such as a heavy-duty plastic sheet, in the soil. It can't be controlled with chemicals.

Root rot may occur if the soil is soggy, so ensure that the tree is planted in a soil that drains well. There may also be spots with sooty mold if honeydew is present from aphids.

FAQ
  • How long do Deodar cedar trees live?

    The Deodar cedar tree is not only impressive in height and the way the branches droop; this tree also has an incredible lifespan of up to 1,000 years.

  • Does the Deodar cedar tree attract wildlife?

    The Deodar cedar tree attracts wild birds who love to sit on its branches and be protected from the winter weather.

  • Can a Deodar cedar seedling be made into a bonsai tree?

    These trees make a unique bonsai specimen and can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs. The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

  2. July Q & A. University of California Cooperative Extension.

  3. Armillaria Root Rot of Trees and Shrubs. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences.