Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' / blue Atlas cedar

Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' is a very popular tree in the nursery trade. It is fairly fast growing with somewhat denser branching that that of the typical species. Its powder-blue needle-like leaves measure less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) long (shorter than Cedrus deodara). Ascending branches create conical form in young trees. As plants mature, branching becomes denser and lower branches become more horizontal, forming a broad pyramid. Blue Atlas cedar is heat and drought tolerant and must be planted in full sun for best results.

After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 10 to 12 feet (3 - 4 m) tall and 4 to 5 feet (1 - 1.5 m) wide, an annual growth rate of 12 to 24 inches (30 - 60 cm).

This cultivar originated as an exceptionally blue tree selected in the wild in the Atlas mountains of North Africa and has been in cultivation in France since the 1860s.

Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' — an amazing specimen, accessioned in 1932 at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; photo from 2020.
Photo by Katherine Wagner-Reiss
Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' - young pollen cone.
Photo by Sandra McLean Cutler
Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' - mature seed cone.
Photo by Sandra McLean Cutler
Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' — a 1905 accession at the New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx, New York (USDA Hardiness Zone 7a); photo from 2020.
Photo by Katherine Wagner-Reiss
Beautiful contrasting foliage of Blue Atlas Cedar at Hope College
Photo by Brandon Johnson



Can the width be controlled with pruning?

Maxwell Cohn

that depends on how narrow you want it. We like cedars because they are massive, broad trees.

Mark Warner

How hardy is a blue Atlas cedar? I cannot find it on the Janka Scale.


Create a great day!

Maxwell Cohn

hello Mark, this cultivar is hardy to 0ºF (-23ºC). We use USDA hardiness zones. Apparently the Janka Scale determines the physical hardness of the wood. This is beyond the scope of our organization. We enjoy living trees.


Can I plant upstate New York in March or April? Is it good zone?

David Olszyk

As long as you're USDA Zone 6 or warmer, you'll be fine. It's only hardy to about zero F. Fall is generally preferable for planting, but as long as your summer isn't too hot or dry this year, you should be all right.


I had three blue atlas cedars planted last fall. Right now one looks perfect, one looks totally dead (brown) and one looks dead (brown) from the middle up. Is the totally brown one dead? What do I do with the half and half one?

Sara Malone

1) the totally brown one is dead. You can remove it. 2) regarding the half-brown/half-green one: depends on what it looks like. Cedrus atlantica is a vigorous grower here in Mediterranean 9b. I can prune them back hard and they will push new growth aggressively. If you don't mind looking at it for a while, try pruning off all of the brown needles/branches, and try to make what is left as attractive as possible. Then wait to see if it recovers. Make sure that it is not stressed (that it gets enough water, is in decent soil, etc). You don't have much to loose. Good luck!