If you are looking for a specimen tree to place in your landscape, consider the weeping blue Atlas cedar. An evergreen conifer, its drooping, twisted branches filled with whorls of powdery blue needles are sure to catch the eye. It's also a fun weeping tree to train and shape as it grows, which can add some interesting dramatic effects to your yard.
The scientific name for this tree is Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula.' Glauca refers to the bluish-green color of the needles; Pendula indicates that this is a weeping tree. The species is produced by grafting branches of the 'Glauca Pendula' cultivar onto the Cedrus atlantica tree.
It is part of the Pinaceae (pine) family. Since it is also part of the Cedrus genus, it is considered to be a true cedar. In addition to weeping blue Atlas cedar, this tree may also be called a weeping blue cedar or weeping Atlas cedar.
Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones
Zones 6 through 9 are best suited for growing this species. It is native to the Atlas Mountains in Algeria and Morocco.
On average, the weeping blue Atlas cedar will be 10 feet tall at maturity and 15 to 20 feet wide. The actual size will be determined by how it is trained. As the name indicates, the weeping blue Atlas cedar has a weeping shape.
Weeping blue Atlas cedar has powdery blue needles borne in whorls (a spiral pattern). It produces only a few small cones in the springtime.
Use this tree to draw attention to desired locations in your yard. Stake the branches upright to allow the drooping branches to form a waterfall effect or allow it to frame features in the landscape. Use it near other cool colors—green, blue, and purple—for a calming effect.
Weeping blue Atlas cedar prefers well-drained, acidic loam soil, though it can adapt to many other types of soil. For best results plant this tree in full sun, though it can tolerate some shade if needed. It's also a good idea to shelter the tree from exposure to strong winds.
This tree must be staked and trained while it's young in order to create the desired form. If you skip this step, it will end up growing close to the ground. You will need to be patient because this is a slow grower as well. You can expect about 1 to 1 1/2 feet of new growth each year.
Water the tree well for the first season so the roots become established. After that, it is drought resistant.
Maintenance and Pruning
This cedar should be staked until it reaches maturity to create any shape, height, and width that you desire. Other than the staking, it's a relatively low-maintenance tree.
Once established, this tree will not require much watering at all. Use a general purpose fertilizer in spring before the new growth appears. As for pruning, do it in winter while the tree is still dormant and remove no more than one-third of the tree at a time.
Pests and Diseases
The good news is that this species has no significant pest or disease problems.