Calocedrus Decurrens Aureovariegata is also called the California Incense Cedar Tree. It is a highly attractive variegated variety of Calocedrus Decurrens. It has striking green and golden yellow foliage. This cedar has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Its stunning foliage and architectural form make it an excellent choice as a specimen tree.
Native to the western United States, Calocedrus Decurrens Aureovariegata is a particularly beautiful variety of cedar, with dark green foliage scattered irregularly with plentiful yellow golden highlights. The tiny evergreen leaves are arranged in flattened sprays up to 15 mm long. Pollen cones up to 8 mm long emerge in mid-winter, followed by cones which start as a pale green and mature to a yellow/brown. The bark also adds visual interest with its flaking bark, which ranges from grey-green to reddish brown. Similar to its non-variegated green relative Calocedrus Decurrens, Aureovariegata has an attractive columnar growth habit and maintains a pyramidal shape as it grows to its full height.
California Incense Cedar is hardy in most regions of the UK, and will grow to a mature height of 15 metres and spread of 8 metres in 20 to 50 years, living well beyond 100 years. It maintains branches down to about 30 cm from the ground. While no pruning is required to maintain its attractive pyramidal shape, a slight trimming will improve the show of colour in the foliage.
You can plant your Calocedrus Decurrens Aureovariegata in full sun or partial shade but full sun will bring out the best of the golden hues. It will thrive in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter, and prefers an acidic pH. It is drought tolerant once established, and resistant to pests and disease, making it very low-maintenance. California Incense Cedar is also very tolerant of salt, making it a good choice for planting in coastal locations. As well, since it is resistant to air pollution, it is an excellent choice for city plantings.
Because of its eventual height, Calocedrus Decurrens Aureovariegata should be carefully sited. However, its relatively narrow shape will make it appropriate in a spot where a tree with a more spreading habit would not fit. It is an excellent choice for a specimen tree in a lawn, where its attractive foliage will provide year-round interest. A row or grouping of California Incense Cedar on a larger property would create an attractive focal point with its variegated foliage.