Image for Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar

Scientific name

Thuja plicata


Western Red Cedar is a large, long-lived coniferous tree species that typically grows between 15 and 21 m in height. This plant may also be known by the common name Giant Red Cedar, Pacific Red Cedar, and Arborvitae. The bark is fibrous, reddish brown colored, peels easily, and is fragrant. The foliage is dark green colored, appear as scaly sprays, and fragrant. The seeds are small, light brown colored, and appear upright. The foliage is an important food source for many wildlife species including deer, elk, and bears. The trees are also valuable as nesting habitat for many bird species. The roots are good for controlling erosion and stabilizing shorelines. This is the largest tree in the Cypress family, capable of growing between 30 and 60 m in height. Western Red Cedars have been known to live over 1000 years in age. This is the provincial tree of British Columbia.

Planting conditions

Western Red Cedar grows best in moist to normal conditions with full or partial sun exposure. It prefers well-drained, organically rich soil. It can tolerate clay soil, nutrient poor soil, shallow soil, acidic or alkaline soil, and shade. It is intolerant of dry conditions and sandy soils. This tree can be naturally found in moist forests and along riparian areas in the Pacific Northwest.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Normal
    • Moist
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Loamy
    • Clay
    • Humus
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Basic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 2b
    • 3a
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
    • 7b
    • 8a
  • Plant type:
    • Tree
  • Height:
    • 15-21 m
  • Spread:
    • 5 m