Blue Atlas Cedar Styling

I wanted to share the styling of a small blue atlas cedar I did over the past two evenings. I got it as a grafted whip in 2011 from Wee Tree in Oregon. I wire in some movement and potted into a 7" plastic bulb pan in 2012. It went into the current pot in 2016. I plan to repot in the spring and will be working a similar but, somewhat smaller pot this winter (I just bought a nice gas kiln so I can get back into pottery).




Looks great! I love the atlas cedars, so unique in color and texture. I think your design will develop over time and get even better.

Looks pretty good but one thing. Are there any branches in the back?

Yes, it has some back branches as can be seen in this view from the left. I agree that the front view looks rather 2D. I probably need to move the back branches a bit so they show up in the gaps in the front view. Thanks for the feedback.

very nice and inspiring work @MartyWeiser! It gives me some ideas … would you have a pic of the tree when you received it? to illustrate its transformation during the first years of developing and give me an idea on the thickness evolution when in the plastic pot. Thanks!

Unfortunately, I do not have any earlier pictures. It would have been a grafted whip about 12-15" (30 - 40 cm) tall that was 3/8" (1 cm) diameter at the base in about a 4" (10 cm) nursery pot. I wired in a trunk line and repotted into a 7" (18 cm) plastic bulb pan with larger drain holes and allowed to grow. I placed the branches on the outsides of the curves when I wired it. I should have put some additional curvature into the trunk in the major turn to the left since it is rather straight which is why I brought down a “bikini” branch as I learned from Harold Sasaki.

I just did the primary styling on another, somewhat larger blue atlas cedar in a slanting style. I am having trouble deciding what to do with the apex and am open to ideas. The very top branch is about 5" (13 cm) long and currently comes directly at the viewer and there is a fair sized cut at its base. Do I?

  • Take it to the left as my wife suggests
  • Take it to the right as was my original idea
  • Take it off and use the smaller bits along the bigger branch to create the apex
    I am open to any suggestions.

    As I look at the picture, I am wondering if taking it left and down is the idea and then build a small apex from the branches at its base.

Nice tree with huge potential. There’s not a lot of foliage on it so if it was mine I would leave it for now to develop. Once you have a lot more foliage the direction of the apex will probably become clearer for you. Both ideas would work well but it depends on how you see it. My choice would be to let more branches grow, take the tree slightly higher (not much, probably a few inches) then right with the apex. Please show pics as the tree progresses.

Thanks Keith. Yes, it definitely needs to grow out quite a bit. Most of the branches are the typical long leggy blue atlas cedar branches with little ramification. I have attached the before and after pictures of the front. I tend to agree with adding a little height and the peak of the apex back to the right. However time will tell. My first note on this is that repotted it in 2010 so I have ad it for awhile. I will need to go into a smaller and better pot in a couple of years (last repotted in May 2018).



There is a stream of styling a blue atlas cedar in the library. It’s worth taking a look if you haven’t already.

The apex on the smaller one died this spring where I had cracked it while bending during styling. It will grow back. The larger one lost all of its older needles this spring after repotting but continues to push new shoots that look good. I figured it got a little wet in the pot so I gave it a little protection from the rain and it continues to push the shoots and nearly all of the needles are gone. Anyone else have an similar experience?

There have been times when my Cedrus has looked a little threadbare, particularly after was knocked out of its container by a wallaby, but it has always made a recovery. Still in training however but will be put in a pot this growing season.


Its beautiful! Got myself a Blue Atlas cedar as well! Love this species!