By: Teo Spengler
The cedar of Lebanon tree (Cedrus libani) is an evergreen with beautiful wood that has been used for high quality timber for thousands of years. Lebanon cedar trees usually have only one trunk with many branches that grow out horizontally, spiraling up. They are long-lived and have a maximum life span of over 1,000 years. If you are interested in growing cedar of Lebanon trees, read on for information about these cedars and tips about cedar of Lebanon care.
Lebanon cedar information tells us that these conifers are native to Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. In yesteryear, vast forests of Lebanon cedar trees covered these regions, but today they are largely gone. However, people around the world began growing cedar of Lebanon trees for their grace and beauty.
Lebanon cedar trees have thick trunks and stout branches too. Younger trees are shaped like pyramids, but the crown of a Lebanon cedar tree flattens as it ages. Mature trees also have bark that is cracked and fissured.
You’ll have to be patient if you want to start growing cedar of Lebanon. The trees don’t even flower until they are 25 or 30 years old, which means that until that time, they do not reproduce.
Once they begin to flower, they produce unisex catkins, 2-inches (5 cm.) long and reddish in color. In time, the cones grow to 5 inches (12.7 cm.) long, standing up like candles on the branches. The cones are light green until they mature, when they become brown. Their scales each contain two winged seeds that are carried away by the wind.
Cedar of Lebanon care starts with selecting an appropriate planting location. Only plant Lebanon cedar trees if you have a big backyard. A cedar of Lebanon tree is tall with spreading branches. It can rise to 80 feet (24 m.) tall with a spread of 50 feet (15 m.).
Ideally, you should grow Lebanon cedars at elevations of 4,200-700 feet. In any event, plant the trees in deep soil. They need generous light and about 40 inches (102 cm.) of water a year. In the wild, Lebanon cedar trees thrive on slopes facing the sea where they form open forests.
This article was last updated on
Read more about Cedar Trees
The cedar of Lebanon is a sprawling evergreen conifer that is often used as a stately addition to any landscape. Native to the Middle East (you guessed, it—Lebanon), it's considered to be one of the true cedars and is the species that is the best at tolerating cold temperatures.
Typically planted in late fall, the cedar of Lebanon tree grows slowly, only adding about 10 to 15 inches a year in height. However, they're known to live upwards of 600 years or more, and can ultimately reach a height of over 100 feet, making them an excellent option for shade trees in the long run. Patient gardeners with enough land to properly host a cedar of Lebanon tree can expect a pyramid-shaped tree for the first 20 or so years that eventually flattens as it ages. Their foliage is a rich green or green-gray and quite fragrant.
|Botanical Name||Cedrus libani|
|Common Name||Cedar of Lebanon|
|Plant Type||Evergreen tree|
|Mature Size||40–100 ft. tall, 40–80 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-drained|
|Hardiness Zones||5–9 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Middle East|
Native to the Mediterranean, the cedar of Lebanon is one of the most beautiful conifers to be found in Europe. With its majestic conical bearing and beautiful needle-like leaves, the Lebanon cedar will not need to be associated with other trees due to its great elegance. Undemanding, the cedar of Lebanon remains one of the easiest trees to grow throughout the year.
The cedar of Lebanon is an evergreen conifer that is easily recognized by its unique pyramidal bearing and spectacular size. Indeed, the cedar of Lebanon generally reaches a hundred feet by adulthood, thus being ranked among the tallest ornamental garden trees. In addition, growing this conifer in the garden is particularly interesting throughout the year because of its beautiful evergreen foliage that never falls. Rustic and hardy, the Lebanon cedar is one of the few trees possessing such impressive longevity, with a lifespan sometimes going beyond two or three millennia. For a more successful result, do not plant your cedar of Lebanon near other trees because they tend to draw attention away, not highlighting the splendid pyramidal bearing of this amazing conifer. However, if you do not wish to grow it in an isolated area, you will be able to combine it with other trees of the same species or family, such as larch for example. Finally, keep in mind that the cedar of Lebanon is a tree that is very easy to maintain, even for amateur gardeners. Thus, by following these growing tips, you can be sure that your tree will keep all of its splendour and vitality over the passing seasons.
How to plant a cedar of Lebanon?
The cedar of Lebanon is one of the few conifers to be as undemanding in terms of growing conditions. Indeed, this majestic tree tolerates neutral ground as well as calcarous and acid soils. However, like larch, it is advisable to grow it preferably in slightly acidic soil in order to get the best possible results. In addition, there is absolutely no need to wait for a specific time of year to put your young tree in the ground. Lebanon cedar may very well be planted in any season, except of course when temperatures are excessively low. With regard to sun exposure, choose locations that are neither too sunny nor too shady. While too much sun can damage the tree’s beautiful foliage on the long term, it is also useful to remember that too much shade could hinder its growth. During planting, the ground may be amended with fertilizers, with even larger quantities if the land is depleted or calcareous.
How to maintain a cedar of Lebanon?
Amateur gardeners wishing to engage in the cultivation of Lebanon cedar will surely appreciate the low maintenance and care that this tree requires. Indeed, know that this Mediterranean conifer usually does not require any lopping during and after growth. In that regard, the cedar of Lebanon naturally retains its beautiful pyramidal shape while growing. In addition, like most alpine trees, the cedar of Lebanon is hardy, thus allowing it to withstand, without too much difficulty, harsh winter conditions and extreme cold. However, to take care of your tree’s health, it will be necessary to amend the land with fertilizer after each winter so that your cedar can continue to thrive. Finally, in terms of watering, it will hardly be necessary to provide abundant or very frequent water supplies, except perhaps when the young tree has just been planted.
Published in Conifers by Alexander on 04 Jul 2011
The Cedar of Lebanon is an evergreen coniferous tree with a massive trunk and an eventual height of up to 140 feet. Because of their large size, these trees are usually grown as highway median plantings or in residential settings with huge expanses of lawn. Cedar of Lebanon trees are very challenging to propagate from cuttings and are almost always started by seed. According to the folks at Plants for a Future, the Cedar of Lebanon tree can live 300 years.
Keep the Cedar of Lebanon cones in a warm spot until they open.
Remove the seed from the cone and drop it into a bowl filled with lukewarm water. Allow to soak overnight.
Remove the seed from the water and lay it out on paper towel placed in the sun, allowing the seed to dry for 15 minutes.
Place the seed in a plastic bag and then into the refrigerator. You do not need to add any soil to the bag, but do leave the bag open. Allow the seed to remain in the refrigerator for one month. Check it periodically, and if it sprouts, remove it and plant it immediately.
Fill the planting pot with bonsai-soil mix and water it until the excess water drains from the bottom of the pot.
Carefully remove the seed from the bag and place the radicle (the small white rootlet) into the soil but allow the seed to sit on the surface.
Use a misting bottle to water the soil and allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering. Place the pot in a shady area with good air circulation and low humidity.
Transplant the Cedar of Lebanon tree into its permanent location when the needles emerge. Although the tree is not particular as to soil texture, the soil needs to be well-drained, so a somewhat sandy soil is ideal. The best time to transplant is late spring or early summer.
Hardy to USDA Zone 5 (areas with winter temperatures to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit), the tree flowers from October to November and the seeds ripen from October to December. Collect the cones in the winter.
The Cedar of Lebanon is – as strange as it may seem – native to Lebanonas well as neighboring areas of Syriaand Cilicia, in present-day Turkeyon Taurus Mountains, while two small populations are also found in the mountains that are bordering on the Black Sea.
It is basically mountainous conifer since its natural populations are found at an altitude of 800 to 2100 m. However, its populations are observed both at lower (up to 500 m) and at higher altitudes (up to 3000 m).
The Lebanon Cedar, thanks to the fresh air of the mountains, lives for about 150 to 300 years. However, the recorded cases of Cedar of Lebanon trees of 1000 years age are not an exception.
Lebanon Cedar (Cedrus libani) – Description, Care & Uses
Cedrus libani can reach 40 m (130 ft) in height, with a massive monopodial columnar trunk up to 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) in diameter.  The trunks of old trees ordinarily fork into several large, erect branches.  The rough and scaly bark is dark grey to blackish brown, and is run through by deep, horizontal fissures that peel in small chips. The first-order branches are ascending in young trees they grow to a massive size and take on a horizontal, wide-spreading disposition. Second-order branches are dense and grow in a horizontal plane. The crown is conical when young, becoming broadly tabular with age with fairly level branches trees growing in dense forests maintain more pyramidal shapes.
The shoots are dimorphic, with both long and short shoots. New shoots are pale brown, older shoots turn grey, grooved and scaly. C. libani has slightly resinous ovoid vegetative buds measuring 2 to 3 mm (0.079 to 0.118 in) long and 1.5 to 2 mm (0.059 to 0.079 in) wide enclosed by pale brown deciduous scales. The leaves are needle-like, arranged in spirals and concentrated at the proximal end of the long shoots, and in clusters of 15–35 on the short shoots they are 5 to 35 mm (0.20 to 1.38 in) long and 1 to 1.5 mm (0.039 to 0.059 in) wide, rhombic in cross-section, and vary from light green to glaucous green with stomatal bands on all four sides.  
Cedrus libani produces cones beginning at around the age of 40. Its cones are borne in autumn, the male cones appear in early September and the female ones in late September.   Male cones occur at the ends of the short shoots they are solitary and erect about 4 to 5 cm (1.6 to 2.0 in) long and mature from a pale green to a pale brown color. The female seed cones also grow at the terminal ends of short shoots. The young seed cones are resinous, sessile, and pale green they require 17 to 18 months after pollination to mature. The mature, woody cones are 8 to 12 cm (3.1 to 4.7 in) long and 3 to 6 cm (1.2 to 2.4 in) wide they are scaly, resinous, ovoid or barrel-shaped, and gray-brown in color. Mature cones open from top to bottom, they disintegrate and lose their seed scales, releasing the seeds until only the cone rachis remains attached to the branches.    
The seed scales are thin, broad, and coriaceous, measuring 3.5 to 4 cm (1.4 to 1.6 in) long and 3 to 3.5 cm (1.2 to 1.4 in) wide. The seeds are ovoid, 10 to 14 mm (0.39 to 0.55 in) long and 4 to 6 mm (0.16 to 0.24 in) wide, attached to a light brown wedge-shaped wing that is 20 to 30 mm (0.79 to 1.18 in) long and 15 to 18 mm (0.59 to 0.71 in) wide.  C. libani grows rapidly until the age of 45 to 50 years growth becomes extremely slow after the age of 70. 
Cedrus is the Latin name for true cedars.  The specific epithet refers the Lebanon mountain range where the species was first described by French botanist Achille Richard the tree is commonly known as the Lebanon cedar or cedar of Lebanon.   Two distinct types are recognized as varieties: C. libani var. libani and C. libani var. brevifolia. 
C. libani var. libani: Lebanon cedar, cedar of Lebanon – grows in Lebanon, western Syria, and south-central Turkey. C. libani var. stenocoma (the Taurus cedar), considered a subspecies in earlier literature, is now recognized as an ecotype of C. libani var. libani. It usually has a spreading crown that does not flatten. This distinct morphology is a habit that is assumed to cope with the competitive environment, since the tree occurs in dense stands mixed with the tall-growing Abies cilicica, or in pure stands of young cedar trees. 
C. libani var. brevifolia: The Cyprus cedar occurs on the island's Troodos Mountains.  This taxon was considered a separate species from C. libani because of morphological and ecophysiological trait differences.   It is characterized by slow growth, shorter needles, and higher tolerance to drought and aphids.   Genetic relationship studies, however, did not recognize C. brevifolia as a separate species, the markers being undistinguishable from those of C. libani.  
C. libani var. libani is endemic to elevated mountains around the Eastern Mediterranean in Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. The tree grows in well-drained calcareous lithosols on rocky, north- and west-facing slopes and ridges and thrives in rich loam or a sandy clay in full sun.   Its natural habitat is characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, moist winters with an annual precipitation of 1,000 to 1,500 mm (39 to 59 in) the trees are blanketed by a heavy snow cover at the higher altitudes.  In Lebanon and Turkey, it occurs most abundantly at altitudes of 1,300 to 3,000 m (4,300 to 9,800 ft), where it forms pure forests or mixed forests with Cilician fir (Abies cilicica), European black pine (Pinus nigra), eastern Mediterranean pine (Pinus brutia), and several juniper species. In Turkey, it can occur as low as 500 m (1,600 ft).  
C. libani var. brevifolia grows in similar conditions on medium to high mountains in Cyprus from altitudes ranging from 900 to 1,525 m (2,953 to 5,003 ft).  
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest great works of literature, the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu travel to the legendary Cedar Forest to kill its guardian and cut down its trees. While early versions of the story place the forest in Iran, later Babylonian accounts of the story place the Cedar Forest in the Lebanon. 
The Lebanon cedar is mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible. Hebrew priests were ordered by Moses to use the bark of the Lebanon cedar in the treatment of leprosy.  Solomon also procured cedar timber to build the Temple in Jerusalem.  The Hebrew prophet Isaiah used the Lebanon cedar as a metaphor for the pride of the world,  with the tree explicitly mentioned in Psalm 92:12 as a symbol of the righteous. 
The Lebanon cedar is the national emblem of Lebanon, and is displayed on the flag of Lebanon and coat of arms of Lebanon. It is also the logo of Middle East Airlines, which is Lebanon's national carrier. Beyond that, it is also the main symbol of Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution" of 2005, the 2019–20 Lebanese protests, also known as Thawra (meaning revolution in Arabic) along with many Lebanese political parties and movements, such as the Lebanese Forces. Finally, Lebanon is sometimes metonymically referred to as the Land of the Cedars.  
Arkansas, among other states, has a Champion Tree program that records exceptional tree specimens. The Lebanon cedar recognized by the state is located inside Hot Springs National Park and is estimated to be over 100 years old. 
The Lebanon cedar is widely planted as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.  
When the first cedar of Lebanon was planted in Britain is unknown, but it dates at least to 1664, when it is mentioned in Sylva, or A Discourse of Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber.  In Britain, cedars of Lebanon are known for their use in London's Highgate Cemetery. 
In order to germinate Cedrus Libani seeds, potting soil is preferred, since it is less likely to contain fungal species which may kill the seedling in its early stages. Before sowing it is important to soak the seed at room temperature for a period of 24 hours followed by cold stratification (
3–5 °C) for two to four weeks. Once the seeds have been sown, it is recommended that they be kept at room temperature (
20 °C) and in the vicinity of sunlight. The soil should be kept slightly damp with low frequency watering. Over-watering may cause damping off which will quickly kill the seedlings. Initial growth will be around 3–5 cm the first year and will accelerate subsequent years. 
Cedar wood is prized for its fine grain, attractive yellow color, and fragrance. It is exceptionally durable and immune to insect ravages. Wood from C. libani has a density of 560 kg/m 3 it is used for furniture, construction, and handicrafts. In Turkey, shelterwood cutting and clearcutting techniques are used to harvest timber and promote uniform forest regeneration. Cedar resin (cedria) and cedar essential oil (cedrum) are prized extracts from the timber and cones of the cedar tree.  
Over the centuries, extensive deforestation has occurred, with only small remnants of the original forests surviving. Deforestation has been particularly severe in Lebanon and on Cyprus on Cyprus, only small trees up to 25 m (82 ft) tall survive, though Pliny the Elder recorded cedars 40 m (130 ft) tall there.  Attempts have been made at various times throughout history to conserve the Lebanon cedars. The first was made by the Roman emperor Hadrian he created an imperial forest and ordered it marked by inscribed boundary stones, two of which are in the museum of the American University of Beirut. 
Extensive reforestation of cedar is carried out in the Mediterranean region. In Turkey, over 50 million young cedars are planted annually, covering an area around 300 square kilometres (74,000 acres).   Lebanese cedar populations are also expanding through an active program combining replanting and protection of natural regeneration from browsing goats, hunting, forest fires, and woodworms.  The Lebanese approach emphasizes natural regeneration by creating proper growing conditions. The Lebanese state has created several reserves, including the Chouf Cedar Reserve, the Jaj Cedar Reserve, the Tannourine Reserve, the Ammouaa and Karm Shbat Reserves in the Akkar district, and the Forest of the Cedars of God near Bsharri.   
Because during the seedling stage, differentiating C. libani from C. atlantica or C. deodara is difficult,  the American University of Beirut has developed a DNA-based method of identification to ensure that reforestation efforts in Lebanon are of the cedars of Lebanon and not other types. 
C. libani is susceptible to a number of soil-borne, foliar, and stem pathogens. The seedlings are prone to fungal attacks. Botrytis cinerea, a necrotrophic fungus known to cause considerable damage to food crops, attacks the cedar needles, causing them to turn yellow and drop. Armillaria mellea (commonly known as honey fungus) is a basidiomycete that fruits in dense clusters at the base of trunks or stumps and attacks the roots of cedars growing in wet soils. The Lebanese cedar shoot moth (Parasyndemis cedricola) is a species of moth of the family Tortricidae found in the forests of Lebanon and Turkey its larvae feed on young cedar leaves and buds. 
Online books, and library resources in your library and in other libraries about Cedrus libani