Cedar of Lebanon - Cedrus
General Information: This is a large stately evergreen, with a
massive trunk when mature, and wide-sweeping, sometimes upright branches
(more often horizontal) which originate on the lower trunk. Dark green
needles and cones, which are held upright above the foliage, add to the
impressive appearance. Young specimens retain a pyramidal shape but the
tree takes on a more open form with age. Like most true cedars, it does
not like to be transplanted, and prefers a pollution-free, sunny
The Cedar of Lebanon is originally from the Middle
East and grows to be a 40 - 50 feet tall tree in nature. The needles are
short (1/2 to 1 inch) and grow in tufts along the branches. Cedars of
Lebanon are widely used as an ornamental and are often found growing near
the foundations of old homesteads.
Cedar of Lebanon is one of only four species (not
including cultivars) of true cedars. The others are Atlas cedar C.
atlantica, Deodar cedar C. deodara and Cyprus cedar C.
brevifolia. Most other "cedars" are of the Juniperus,
Chamaecyparis, or Thuja genera.
Watering: Has a high
Feeding: Feed once a month with a slow-acting organic
fertilizer during the growing season. If you prefer to use chemical
fertilizers, feed every other week with a half-strength solution of a
balanced fertilizer, such as Peter's 20-20-20.
Pruning and wiring Basic pruning and positioning of the roots should be done at
the time of initial potting and branch selection. The root system should
be reduced gradually, so that there is always a good set of feeder
To develop the foliage, pinch the new shoots (candles)
with your ringers, leaving about one third of the shoot. Wiring is best
done in the fall, but can be done in summer and should be avoided in
spring. Wire can be left on for up to a year, but you should watch closely
for any sign of wire cutting into the bark.
Every 3-5 years in spring. May also be repotted at the end of summer or
beginning of autumn, as the roots undergo renewed growth at that time.
Simon and Schuster's recommends 70% soil, 20% coarse sand, and 10% peat.
Rémy Samson recommends 1 part leaf mould, 1 part loam and 1 part coarse
sand. Cedars need good drainage, since they do not tolerate wet soil. If
the tree gets a lot of rain, tip the pot slightly to encourage drainage.
Use a deep bonsai pot, either unglazed or a glazed earth color.
Place the tree where it will get good air circulation,
but will be protected from wind, especially young trees and newly repotted
Conifers grow in association with a symbiotic fungus
which grows in the root ball of the tree. If this fungus is not present,
the tree may die. For this reason, pines and other conifers should never
be bare-rooted, unless steps are taken to re-introduce the fungus to the
repotted plant, such as making a slurry (thin mud) of the old soil and
pouring it over the newly potted soil.
Some experts feel that it is more important to be sure
that the tree always has a healthy root system with sufficient feeder
roots than to worry about symbiotic fungi. They feel that trees are more
likely to die from having their root systems reduced too much at once than
from not having the fungus present. Certainly it is good advice in any
case to be sure the tree has sufficient roots.
Pests and diseases: No
pests or diseases are of major concern.
Return to:Bonsai Info Index