Sequoia sempervirens

coast redwood

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Outstanding Qualities

Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) is clearly at the top end of the size scale! The tallest living organisms on the planet, trees of this species are known to add nearly 3 feet or more in height every year, eventually surpassing 300 feet in their native habitat of coastal, northern California and southern Oregon. Coast redwood is, nevertheless, an excellent garden plant, albeit for the larger garden or park. In the garden this is truly a specimen plant valued not only for its size but also its soft-green, evergreen needles and its thick, (fire-resistant!), red-brown bark. Although native to cool-summer, coastal, fog-belt regions, Oregon GPP members report that this species does well in hot parts of our region, such as Portland. A planting of coast redwoods south of Portland appear to be about 100 years old, at the Hoyt Arboretum a 40- or 50-year-old tree on the south slope in full sun is doing fine. Its natural companion is the wee evergreen perennial redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana), which runs around beneath it like a mouse under an elephant.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: conifer

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 30 ft. 0 in. (9.14 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 100 ft. 0 in. (30.48 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 25 ft. 0 in. (7.62 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 9

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light to deep shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant once established, but appreciates occasional water during very long dry spells or in hot locations

Seasonal Interest: year-round coniferous foliage

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: chartreuse, gold, burgundy

Great Color Partners: dark green, blue, silver

Culture Notes
This enormous tree needs a large area to reach its fullest potential. It is quite adaptable and grows in full sun to deep shade. It will be denser in sun and more open and lacey in shade. Avoid planting it near buildings or pavement to limit damage from the massive roots that develop as it matures. It prefers a cool coastal climate with moist to well-drained or sandy soil. In these conditions it is drought tolerant. It will tolerate hotter, interior climates, but needs occasional watering during dry weather. Little pruning is needed. Consult a professional for any tree work.