How to Plant Incense Cedar


Incense cedar is a tall, narrow evergreen known for its aromatic wood. Although incense cedar starts slowly, once established it can grow 2 feet per year and top out at 75 to 150 feet. It has aggressive roots that can damage nearby sidewalks and foundations, so it should be planted in the middle of your yard where it is least likely to do damage. The tree has reddish bark and cones and yellowish green needles.

Step 1

Place several seeds in fertile, well-drained soil in early spring. Cover the seed with about 1/2 inch of soil.

Step 2

Keep the seeds at 32 to 40 degrees F for eight weeks in partial sun. Use a cold frame in a greenhouse to regulate the temperature. Water the soil moderately to keep it moist but not soggy.

Step 3

Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they are big enough to handle without damaging or breaking. Keep them in moderate to full sun.

Step 4

Place the seeds back in a cold frame for their first winter in a lightly shaded area of the greenhouse.

Step 5

Plant the trees outside in full sun or partial shade in late spring or early summer. Cedar incense will tolerate a wide range of soils provided that they are well-drained. Keep the soil moist for the first two weeks to let it get established.

Step 6

Water the tree deeply about twice a month. This will force the roots to search deeper for water, making the tree more drought resistant.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Container
  • Greenhouse
  • Cold frame
  • Water
  • Pots
  • Shovel


  • USDA: Incense Cedar
  • Fine Gardening: Califonria Incense Cedar
  • Canopy Tree Library: Incense Cedar
  • Phytosphere: How to Water Your Tree
Keywords: plant incense cedar, plant cedar, grow incense cedar

About this Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has nearly five years' experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.