A group of long-lived, stately conifers with a tall, columnar habit. The true cypress is distinguished from the many false and hybrid forms by its large, slow maturing cones and spiky twigs.
Botanical Name: Cupressus
Common Names: Cypress, True Cypress
Foliage: Evergreen. Dense, dark green or blue-grey, scale-like leaves. Aromatic if crushed. Flaking or scaly, purple-brown bark.
Cones: Small round to oblong, scaly cones.
Soil: Any well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.
Conditions: Full sun, any aspect, in a sheltered location.
Habit: Tall, columnar.
Type: Conifer tree.
Origin: Asia, Europe
Hardiness: Reasonably hardy in the UK.
Plant container-grown stock in autumn or spring. Grow in any good, deep moist soil, in a sunny sheltered position.
Most varieties make good container plants, which will further restrict growth.
Water well until established. Stake securely for the first few years.
Not necessary, but growth can be restricted by regular trimming from May to September.
Generally trouble free but can be affected by cypress aphid and canker.
Increase from cuttings in autumn and root in free draining soil in a heated propagator.
Some species can be notoriously difficult to establish and are often damaged in very severe winters. Note: trees grown in our cooler UK climate will be smaller.
Cupressus arizonica (smooth Arizona Cypress) (syn. C. glabra) is a hardy conifer with purple-brown bark, blue grey leaves and brown cones. Height to 30ft (9m). Two good forms are 'Conica' and 'Pyramidalis', both have a similar conical shape and habit with blue-qrey foliage and attractive purple bark.
Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress) is a vigorous, tall conifer, hardy in all but the severest winters. Eventually forms a large spreading tree resembling a cedar. Height to 115ft (35m). It was once quite popular but has now been replaced by more hardy and easier to grow conifers. The main cultivar available is 'Gold Crest' (Lemon Cypress) with its narrow conical habit and rich yellow foliage. Height to 25ft (7.5m).
Cupressus sempervirens (Italian Cypress) slower growing with a distinctive tall, pencil shaped habit. Dark green scale leaves, dark bark and round yellow-grey cones.