CYPRESS

FAMILY: Cupressaceae | GENUS: CUPRESSUS

TYPE
  • Evergreen
  • Trees
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Moderate Water

Plant Details

These conifers have tiny, scalelike leaves, closely set on cordlike branches, and interesting globular, golf ballsize cones made up of shield-shaped scales. For the dry Southwest, choose C. arizonica or C. sempervirens; these species and their selections thrive in dry, rocky, alkaline soil. In high-rainfall areas, however, they are short lived; C. lusitanica is the better choice there. Cypresses are not browsed by deer.

C. arizonica. ARIZONA CYPRESS. Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9. To 40 ft. tall, spreading to 20 ft. wide; rough, furrowed bark. Seedlings are variable, with foliage varying from green to blue-gray or silvery. C. a. glabra (often sold as C. glabra) is like the species but has smooth, cherry-red bark. Other forms include 'Blue Ice', forming dense, blue-gray pyramids to at least 2025 ft. high; 'Blue Pyramid', a dense, blue-gray pyramid to 2025 ft. tall; 'Carolina Sapphire', to 30 ft., with steely blue-green foliage and broad, symmetrical form; 'Gareei', with silvery blue-green foliage; and 'Pyramidalis', a compact, symmetrical grower. Mass trees for windbreak or screen.

C. lusitanica. MEXICAN CYPRESS. Zones LS, CS; USDA 8-9. Native to northern Florida and Central America. Grows rapidly to 50 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide, with symmetrical, spreading, pendulous branches and beautiful, ferny, blue-green foliage. Use as specimen tree or windbreak. Choose plants grown from cuttings of selected blue clones; these are more uniform and bluer in color than plants grown from seed. Likes fertile, well-drained soil.

C. sempervirens. ITALIAN CYPRESS. Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9. Native to southern Europe, western Asia. Species has horizontal branches and dark green foliage, but variants are more often sold. 'Stricta' ('Fastigiata'), columnar Italian cypress, and 'Glauca', blue Italian cypress (really blue-green in color), are classic Mediterranean landscape plants; both are dense, narrow trees to 60 ft. high, 510 ft. wide at maturity. 'Swane's Golden', another columnar form, has golden yellow new growth. 'Tiny Tower' is a slow, dense grower that reaches only 8 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide after 10 years.

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