Cedrus deodara is an evergreen coniferous tree native to the western Himalayas. It is the national tree of Pakistan. Its name comes from the sanskrit word "devdar", which means divine tree. Tibetan monks would travel deep into a forest of deodar cedars for meditation, and I can see how these trees would inspire spiritual thoughts. It is a magnificent tree, and I am fortunate to have a couple of different cultivars growing successfully in my yard.
In its native habitat these trees can reach well over 150 feet tall, with trunks over ten feet in diameter. The larger cultivars need to be sited carefully. They need to be in a park-like setting with room to grow and spread. It is a mistake to plant one next to a house or driveway. Although evergreen, they will drop old needles, and sweeping these fine needles off a drive can be a real pain.
In North America, they will grow along the Pacific coast as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia and in the southeastern USA from Texas to Virginia. They are limited to areas with mild winters, being hardy to about zone 7, with some cultivars surviving in parts of zone 6. Some of these trees also grow in the UK. It likes neutral soil, about ph 6.6 to 7.5. The inner wood is aromatic and is used to make incense, while cedar oil is used in aromatherapy. It has a pleasant, woody odor. Insects avoid this tree, and it requires little care once established. It has average water needs and likes full sun to part shade.
The Deodar Cedar is related to the Atlas and the Cedar of Lebanon. It's easy to tell the difference. The Atlas Cedar has upright branches and the Cedar of Lebanon has horizontal branches, while the Deodar Cedar's branches are drooping. The needle-like leaves, in the various cultivars, range from bright green to gold, to glaucous blue-green. The dwarf Deodar Cedar, 'Feelin' Blue', in my woodland garden is characterized by fantastic blue-green color and weeping branches. After a decade, it is about six feet tall and just as wide. This is the tree I mentioned limbing up in my last post, "Why it takes so long to get things done in my garden."
I love this tree for its ornamental value and easy care, and my garden would not be complete without it.