Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Incense-Cedar
Calocedrus decurrens

Family: Cupressaceae (koo-press-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Calocedrus (kal-oh-SEE-druss) (Info)
Species: decurrens (DEK-ur-enz) (Info)

Synonym:Libocedrus decurrens
Synonym:Heyderia decurrens

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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5 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Mar 7, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The Arnold Arboretum (Boston, MA Z6a) has several handsome specimens, one at least 40' tall. All are columnar, and look a bit like arborvitae (Thuja). They hold their foliage differently, and shed snow more effectively---Thuja occidentalis often suffers snow damage here (at least the common cultivars do), but I've never seen the incense-cedar damaged by snow.

I understand that in California, in the wild, Calocedrus assumes a wide variety of shapes and forms. All the Calocedrus I've seen in cultivation are columnar. Where a columnar evergreen is wanted, in eastern Massachusetts, I'd choose an incense-cedar over an arborvitae.

Positive ogon On Aug 30, 2011, ogon from Paradise, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Incense Cedars are native throughout California and can be found in warmer zones than the listed zone 8b. They are native in abundance to my zone 9a climate, and thrive in full sun or part shade with no summer irrigation.

Positive sladeofsky On Apr 20, 2010, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Far superior in my opinion to the more common large Thujas. It is both sturdier and more graceful. An excellent hardy conifer for the South and Midwest where weather conditions can limit the number of growable conifers.

Positive braun06 On May 3, 2007, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I planted a 3.5' tall specimen last summer. It is a nice texture and color. I saw some really nice ones at the Spring Grove Cemetary in Cincinnati, Ohio a few years ago. It isnt very well known in the midwest and therefore not planted here. California Incense Cedar has very interesting bark to offset the foliage. It handled our winter lows of -8F over the winter with light browning on the lower branches. I assume this is typical since many evergreens shed old leaves as new growth begins It seems to be a late starter in the spring for Growth as it is the last thing to start growing in the yard out of many different woody plants.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 16, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Calocedrus decurrens INCENSE CEDAR EG (z5) (WNa,Fra,Bon)
"No waving more beautiful in form & texture, or half so inspiring in color & spicey fragrance"(J.Muir) as the bri-grn sprays of this majestic pyramidal tree with its reddish, deeply-furrowed bark. S/M-D

Positive lbu2881919 On Aug 13, 2004, lbu2881919 from Klamath Falls, OR wrote:

Slow growing tree to 150 feet . Native to the mountains of Oregon and California south to Baja . A beautifully shaped tree it is very desirable as a landscape tree and is used often here in Southern Oregon .

Neutral Baa On Nov 16, 2002, Baa wrote:

A tall growing tree from Western North America.

Has scale like, deep green, glossy leaves. Bears yellow to bronzy female cones that ripen to a deep reddish brown.

Loves well drained soil in sun or light shade.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fremont, California
Paradise, California
San Diego, California
Grand Junction, Colorado
Hanna City, Illinois
Louisville, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Springfield, Missouri
Syracuse, New York
Cincinnati, Ohio
Klamath Falls, Oregon (2 reports)
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Spokane, Washington

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