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Plants that fill a similar niche:
x Hesperotropsis leylandii × Cupressocyparis leylandii
Salvia rosmarinus Rosmarinus officinalis
Cedrus atlantica Cedrus atlantica bark
Cupressus sempervirens has some common insect problems:
Bagworms in Ornamental Landscapes

Mediterranean Cypress Cupressus sempervirens

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ku-PRES-us sem-per-VY-renz
Description

Italian cypress is a tall evergreen tree with blue-green needles in the Cupressaceae (cypress) family.  Its native habitat includes a rocky mountainous location, typically near a coastline in Europe and Asia.   The commercially available forms are more columnar in shape and will typically not be seen in the wild. Its rapid growth is evident in young trees.  However, more mature trees experience slower, almost nonexistent growth.  The Latin word sempervirens translates into 'always green'.   

Becoming highly drought tolerant as the plant ages, young plants should receive adequate watering until established. To maintain its columnar habit, it should not be pruned, thus making this a low maintenance choice for your garden.  If transplanting is necessary, April and September are the best months, as the roots are actively growing.  

Use this columnar evergreen as an accent or planted in a row for screening.  It is moderately salt-tolerant and to breakage by wind.  Its wood retains its fragrance even after cutting as well as being hard and durable.  These traits make it an excellent choice for cabinets and wardrobes.  The ongoing fragrance will repel moths.  

Cones can remain on a tree for a number of years.  They often open by the heat generated by a forest fire, at which time the seeds will be dispersed and germinate in ash from the fire.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Infestations of mites is a common issue.  Bagworms are an occasional problem.  Root rot can occur in poor drainage locations.  Honey fungus and canker affect many trees.  

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Collector’s Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Glauca'
    Columnar form, silvery-blue foliage
  • 'Horizontalis'
    Branches spread horizontally.
  • 'Stricta'
    Columnar, not found in the wild.
  • 'Swane's Golden'
    Narrow and columnar, new foliage golden-yellow.
  • 'Tiny Tower'
    Columnar form, bluish foliage, slow growing, small form.
  • 'Witchita Blue'
'Glauca', 'Horizontalis', 'Stricta', 'Swane's Golden', 'Tiny Tower', 'Witchita Blue'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#needles#conifer#salt tolerant#winter interest#furniture wood#columnar#buffer#fragrant stems#needled evergreen#children's garden#playground plant#needled#long lifespan#screening#wind pollinated#evergreen tree#humidity tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#winter garden#shade intolerant#narrow form
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Glauca'
    Columnar form, silvery-blue foliage
  • 'Horizontalis'
    Branches spread horizontally.
  • 'Stricta'
    Columnar, not found in the wild.
  • 'Swane's Golden'
    Narrow and columnar, new foliage golden-yellow.
  • 'Tiny Tower'
    Columnar form, bluish foliage, slow growing, small form.
  • 'Witchita Blue'
'Glauca', 'Horizontalis', 'Stricta', 'Swane's Golden', 'Tiny Tower', 'Witchita Blue'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#needles#conifer#salt tolerant#winter interest#furniture wood#columnar#buffer#fragrant stems#needled evergreen#children's garden#playground plant#needled#long lifespan#screening#wind pollinated#evergreen tree#humidity tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#winter garden#shade intolerant#narrow form
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cupressus
    Species:
    sempervirens
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Essential oils are distilled from its shoots.  These oils are used for making soaps and perfume. The wood can be used for furniture and cabinets.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Mediterranean to Iran
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Easy to Grow
    Fragrance
    Pieces Used in Games
    Screening
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Dense
    Erect
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Seed cones are dry, hard, glossy, rounded, and persistent. Open through heat.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    No flowers, pollen cones appear in the early spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The scale-like leaves are a dark blue-green, with a delightful fragrance when crushed.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Description:
    The bark, is thin and smooth. As the bark ages, it turns from gray to gray-brown.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are very upright and are slender columns when young becoming horizontal with aging.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Humidity
    Salt