Sequoiadendron giganteum
Common Name: giant sequoia
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Cupressaceae
Native Range: California
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 60.00 to 275.00 feet
Spread: 25.00 to 60.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Best grown in moist, deep, loose, well-drained, sandy loams in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Avoid heavy clays. Grows best in cool, moist climates with consistently high moisture levels. Intolerant of dry soils. Generally intolerant of temperature extremes. It is not recommended for planting in the St. Louis area in large part because of climatic conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sequoiadendron giganteum, known as giant sequoia, has the most massive size of any tree in the world. It is an erect, single-trunk (often buttressed at the base), needled evergreen conifer that is native to groves scattered through montane coniferous forests along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (4500-8000 feet in elevation) in central California. In its native California habitat, mature trees will often grow to 200-275’ tall, produce trunk diameters ranging from 15-20’ and weigh 200 or more tons. Trees may live 2000-3000 years. Young trees have a pyramidal-oval shape. As trees mature, they begin to lose branches from the lower part of the trunk. Trees generally feature attractive dark cinnamon-brown bark (with deep furrows and ridges), small, scale-like, appressed, blue green needles and fruiting cones to 2.5” long. Trees may be planted in the eastern U.S., but typically will grow to only 40-60’ tall. Giant sequoia was originally discovered in 1833 by Zenas Leonard. A very large percentage of giant sequoias in California are now protected in parks, including Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Sequoiadendron giganteum and its close relative, Sequoia sempervirens (redwood), are jointly designated as the State Tree of California. Other common names are big tree and giant redwood.

Genus name comes from the word Sequoia plus the Greek word dendron meaning tree.

Specific epithet means giant.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Dieback, blight and butt rot may occur.

Garden Uses

In its natural habitat, this is a very large tree that needs a very large space. In the right climate, young trees make attractive additions to large gardens.