CO-Horts Blog

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Giant Sequoia

Posted by Robert Cox, CSU Extension - Arapahoe County
How many times have you heard “ you can’t grow __ in Colorado”?  

Giant Sequoia is one of those plants – Sequoiadendron giganteum doesn’t even sound like a tree that could survive here….but there are several growing in landscapes along the Front Range – in Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, Englewood and Colorado Springs.    Pueblo and Grand Junction may have a few growing within their city limits too.  
The Gardens at Spring Creek, Fort Collins.  Photo courtesy Jim Klett.

If you’re a little tired of the standard landscape conifers – pinyon, ponderosa and Austrian pines, Colorado spruce, arborvitae and juniper – Giant Sequoia may be worth a try. many plant names have four vowels in succession? That alone makes planting  one worthwhile. 
Needles are somewhat juniper-like
Interesting cones
Now for the Extension disclaimer:  Giant Sequoia in Colorado is unlikely to achieve the height and girth of those growing in California’s National Parks, some of them over 250 feet tall and 30 feet diameter at the base.    (Well, OK, if one eventually becomes that big here…don’t call to brag or tell me I was wrong).  

Giant Sequoia - California

Giant Sequoia is rated at Zone 5-6 hardiness, but may tolerate -20 degrees once it is well-established. The cultivar ‘Hazel Smith’ is touted as the hardiest of all Giant Sequoias.  You’ll probably have to order it or any Giant Sequoia from an online mail-order nursery. 
Plant in spring or early summer to give it some time to establish before winter arrives.     Ideally, plant it in a sunny, protected spot, in well-drained soil.
Young tree in Fort Collins park.  Photo courtesy Jim Klett.
To view photos and locations of Giant Sequoia in Colorado, see   


  1. At one point there were more than 2 dozen giant sequoias in Fort Collins - most are still here. There are also some amazing specimens of the weeping form along York Street in front of Denver Botanic Gardens. Hazel Smith is the upright blue form - seems to perform better than the green around here, probably because of the waxy coating on the needles that helps lessen dessication in winter.

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