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Sequoiadendron giganteum (Giant Redwood or Wellingtonia)

Coniferous and evergreen. Scan the rural horizon in the shires and look for the tallest tree – a mighty spire lording it over every other living thing. It’ll be one of these. They were introduced to Britain in 1850 and many are already over 150ft tall. In their native California some exceed 300ft and have holes at the bottom that you can drive a car through.

A must for all Victorian plutocrats and megalomaniac gardeners but unfortunately they’d often only plant one tree which – once it had stuck its head above all its fellow trees – would almost inevitably be taken down a peg or two by being struck by lightening. Lightening-struck Wellingtonias have a distinctive round top and are an equally familiar sight in large country house gardens. Groves and avenues fair better as they don’t seem to get singled out and their natural pointyness (the mighty spire) is shown off to its best.

Hardy, tough, reliable, majestic – almost unbelievable in their huge dimensions, they also have the added attraction of producing soft spongy bark that you can punch as hard as you like and it doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately this fact is a little too well known and many Redwoods in public parks are spoilt by the fact that generations of belligerent little boys have tested their punching skills on them – giving them that characteristic messy bark area near the base – at about the height of your average little boy. Not as fast growing (but much more beautiful) than the closely related Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) : 20ft after 20 years.

Grown from seed.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.