Cedrus atlantica (Glauca Group)
Common Name: blue atlas cedar
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 30.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Best grown in deep, well-drained, acidic loams in full sun. Drought tolerant once established. Tolerant of hot and humid St. Louis summers. Not reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area where it should be planted in a protected location.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cedrus atlantica, commonly called atlas cedar, is an evergreen conifer that is native to the Atlas Mountains in northern Africa (Morocco and Algeria). It is one of the true cedars. It basically grows over time to 40-60’ (infrequently to 120’) tall. Growing habit is usually loose pyramidal when young, becoming more flat-topped with long spreading branches with age. Needles (to 1” long) are curved toward the tip and appear in tufted clusters. Young shoots are downy. Cylindrical cones (to 3” long). Needles of this tree range in color, both in the wild and in seedbeds, from dark green to silvery-blue.

Glauca Group attempts to deal with this variety in needle color by lumping all of the various blue-needled plants into one group. Prior designations such as C. atlantica ‘Glauca’ and C. atlantica f. glauca have been eliminated in favor of C. atlantica (Glauca Group). Cultivar names for plants with uniquely different form are retained in the nomenclature, as C. atlantica (Glauca Group) ‘Glauca Fastigiata’ and C. atlantica (Glauca Group) ‘Glauca Pendula’. Trees of Glauca Group are commonly called blue atlas cedar.

Genus name is the Latin name for this plant.

Specific epithet means from the Atlas Mountains in North Africa.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Tip blight may occur. Heavy snow in winter can break branches.

Garden Uses

Specimen for a large area.