Cedars in Pots


I have two cedars in 16″ pots – they are not the emerald. They are the cheaper one, with sparser needle growth. They stand about 4 1/2 feet tall. This will be their third summer in the pots and they did very well last summer. I am sure I need to move them to bigger pots. I can’t plant them in the ground as my condo and patio/grass area is above a parking lot (therefore the soil depth is limited). Can you suggest the pot width I should get for each cedar? Also is it normal for them to have some brown needles as they are coming out of winter? I do face the north side of the building so I get less sun. However it is very sunny (no rain) all week. Should I be giving the cedars a good watering and how often? I have a photo but it is not being accepted.
Thank you very much.


It sounds like your cedars are thriving. To assess the need to move to a bigger pot and the size recommended, I’m going to refer you to our response to an earlier question we received on this topic.  I’ve copied the link to the response below. As noted, if you decide to repot, the new pot should be only several inches larger in diameter than the current one.  Moving to a larger pot will encourage your cedars to grow bigger which may not be what you are after.  However, after three years in the current container it’s probably time for some new soil. In this case, you could lift the cedars from their current pot, remove most of the soil and repot into a clean pot of the same size.

Cedars will have some natural browning as all evergreens shed some of their needles every year. This typically occurs later in the season.  Your issue may be caused by insufficient water – or possibly too much water.  Cedars are moisture loving plants but they also suffer from root rot if they are overwatered.  Either situation can cause browning. The best approach to watering cedars is included in another of our earlier posts and I’ve copied the information below:

For watering you should check the pot regularly by sticking your finger a couple of inches into the soil. If it is dry it should be watered, if not then it should be allowed to dry out further. The best results are attained by not allowing the soil to stay too wet and also by not letting it dry out too much. Throughout the seasons the watering frequency will change according to temperatures and weather conditions. When you water the plant you should water it thoroughly and have some water flushing through the bottom to clean residue salts away from the roots. Water thoroughly so the soil is completely damp rather than small amounts more often.

Growing Cedars in Containers

Thanks for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.