The Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar is a truly unique plant, and it will grow into a remarkable specimen in your garden. Every individual plant is different, depending on how it is grown. This plant has no central stem, and instead grows into several long branches, with curtains of weeping side branches falling straight down from them. It can be trained to have a central stem as tall as you can stake it, or it can be left to cascade naturally over the ground, or down a slope.
Sometimes the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar will grow branches at a sharp angle a few feet from the ground, with long stems hanging from them. It can even be tied onto a wall, creating a curtain of blue foliage, and taking up no space at all in the garden. This tree is a special form of the Blue Atlas Cedar, a spectacular and highly-regarded large specimen tree. You need a very large garden to grow this beautiful tree, but while the weeping form is not a dwarf conifer, and should be given plenty of room, it will not grow as large as the normal upright form.
It has evergreen foliage of short needles in a rich silver-blue color. The needles, which are a little less than one inch long, grow along the stems in clusters of about 25 needles in each cluster. Older trees may develop cones in late summer and fall. These are upright, like small pine cones, 2 to 3 inches long. The bark of older stems is gray-brown in color, and deeply split with long fissures, giving it a rugged, handsome appearance.
Growing Weeping Blue Atlas Cedars
The Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar should be grown in full sun. It can be grown from zone 6 to zone 8, and it is very tolerant of heat and humidity, as well as drought. It will grow in most soils, but prefers deep, well-drained acidic soils. Since it is very drought-resistant when established, it can be grown as part of a xeric landscape.
It also has no significant pests or diseases. In areas where heavy snowfalls can occur, the horizontal branches should be supported to protect them from breaking under the weight of snow. No pruning is required or desirable, and your plant should be left to grow naturally, except for any staking you may choose to do.
This tree is not a dwarf conifer, although young plants do look like they might remain small. However, once established the stems lengthen by one or two feet a year, so very soon you will have a large plant. Allow plenty of room for it to develop, depending on how you plan to train it. Within 10 years, a plant that is untrained may be 12 feet wide and it will continue to grow wider. Plant at least 10 feet away from any buildings, hedges, fences, paths or driveways, as you do not want to have to trim this plant, which will destroy much of its great beauty and charm.
Where to Plant
An ideal place to plant your tree is in the center of a large lawn, where it can spread and grow without interference. It can also be planted on a bank or slope, where it will cascade downwards, spilling over rocks and walls. A tall metal pole can be used to stake up a central branch, which will then produce side branches, with weeping curtains of smaller branches falling straight down from them. The tree can be trained as tall as it is possible to have a pole.
About the Cedrus Genus and Weeping Blue Atlas Cedars
There are many plants that gardeners call ‘cedar’, but to the botanists there is only one group of plants that are truly cedars – the genus they call Cedrus. There are just three closely-related species in this group, and the Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica, can be found growing wild all across the Atlas Mountains, which stretch through Morocco and into Algeria. There it forms vast forests, and trees can be over 100 feet tall.
Old specimens of this tree, and its relative the Lebanese Cedar (Cedrus libani) as well as the Himalayan Cedar (Cedrus deodara), are often seen in older gardens as large lawn specimens. The foliage color of these plants is very variable, and some have rich blue needles, making them very desirable in gardens. With the Atlas Cedar these variations are called the Glauca Group. The Atlas cedar and Lebanese cedar look very similar, although they grow very far apart, and some people call the Atlas Cedar Cedrus libani var atlantica, so these two names are the same plant.
Near the end of the 19th century, at the Paillet Nursery, in Châtenay-sur-Seine, France, a unique seedling was found growing among some young Atlas Cedar plants. It did not grow upright, but instead trailed downwards. It was shown to the head of the botanic garden in Bonn, Ludwig Beissner, who first described it in his book on conifers. This plant, called ‘Glauca Pendula’ was soon being grown in gardens around the world, and our plants are direct descendants, by rooting woody stems, of that original plant. The Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar is very highly sought after, and our limited stock will soon be gone. Order now and enjoy growing this remarkable plant in your own garden.