Is it red or white? Actually, it is neither. ‘Whitecedar’ is the common name for Chamaecyparis thyoides, which is a formidable coastal conifer from Maine to Mississippi. ‘Red Star’ is a much smaller garden variety. Its finely textured foliage is bluish green when it first emerges in spring, and can turn slightly purplish or bronzed gray if it gets cold enough in winter, but never turns red.
In more humid climates, ‘Red Star’ Atlantic whitecedar can eventually reach second story eaves, and can get half as broad. It rarely gets half as large locally, and can take quite a few years to do so. The slightly aromatic evergreen growth is densely conical, almost like a lumpy dwarf Alberta Spruce with an upwardly rounded underside. It can be a bit more sculptural if partially shaded.
Even without pruning, ‘Red Star’ Atlantic whitecedar is symmetrical enough for formal landscapes. Alternatively, it can add a bit of formality to relaxed landscapes. Although it is slow to provide privacy, it works nicely as an unshorn hedge. If somewhat crowded in a row, it grows taller faster. Shorn hedges lack natural form, but can recover their natural texture between shearing.
4 thoughts on “‘Red Star’ Atlantic Whitecedar”
I have a smaller variety of this plant, maybe a “red star” sitting in my heated greenhouse until the winter breaks. Some people said that these plants can survive the winter, but I’m not sure about it. What do you think ? can they survive in -20 or -25 degrees Celsius weather ?
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Normally, I would say that they have no problem with cold weather, but those temperatures are an entirely different league! I would inquire with a local horticulturist.
Interesting – from the photo I would have guessed some type of Taxus, not what we typically know, out here, as Chamaecyparis. I guess the foliage changes shape/form/texture as the tree gets older?
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I would have guessed that you would be more familiar with it than we are! It is rare here, but I think it is common in cooler climates, such as the Pacific Northwest. Chamaecyparis is quite variable. Some of the cultivars of Chamaecyparis pisifera do not look they could be within the same species.