How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Lemon Cypress Trees

Lemon cypress is a well-liked plant throughout the holidays, the place we discover it in ornamental containers able to reward and to make use of as tabletop decorations. Maintain onto that tree past the vacation season – it makes a stupendous houseplant year-round!

It’s additionally a useful panorama tree, including a burst of coloration and nice texture towards darker foliage as a specimen within the backyard mattress or amongst pure panorama parts like rocks.

The slender, upright behavior fits it for varied backyard and family areas. Make use of it as a hedge, backyard specimen, topiary, bonsai, or container characteristic. This plant lends excellent decorative worth to its inside or exterior backyard location.



Full to half solar

Watering Necessities


Pests & Ailments

Borers, aphids, armillaria, root rot

Soil Sort

Sandy, well-drained

What Is Lemon Cypress?

Lemon cypress is an fragrant magnificence that emits a recent, lemony-citrus scent when brushing or crushing foliage. Most notable for its vibrant yellow-green coloration and pyramidal kind, it’s a cultivar of Monterey cypress.

Monterey cypress grows a lot bigger, reaching 80’ tall, with a broad, windswept behavior and darkish inexperienced needles.


Close-up of a Lemon Cypress plant against a blurred background. The scale-like leaves, arranged in dense clusters, create a textured surface with a glossy finish. The leaves are greenish-yellow.
This vibrant, columnar evergreen tree has chartreuse-yellow foliage.

This hanging columnar evergreen tree has a daring coloration and a nice texture. The needled foliage is chartreuse-yellow, particularly in summer time. Outdoor in cool climate it could tackle an orange tinge, flushing yellow once more as temperatures heat.

With its needled and fragrant foliage, lemon cypress is resistant to break by deer and rabbits.

This can be a dwarf tree that reaches 6-12 ft within the panorama and fewer in a container. ‘Goldcrest Wilma’ is ideal for containers at a most peak of three ft.

Native Space

View of a row of four tall Lemon Cypress trees in a garden with sunlight. Lemon Cypress trees (Cupressus macrocarpa 'Goldcrest') present a striking and elegant appearance. These evergreen trees boast a pyramid-shaped form with dense, feathery branches that are adorned with small, scale-like leaves. The foliage is a vibrant lemon-yellow color.
Lemon cypress is in style in america, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia for its vibrant panorama attraction.

This tree is native to the Central Coast of California. Its dad or mum plant, the Monterey cypress, happens naturally in two groves localized to Monterey Bay. The Monterey cypress is almost extinct within the wild however is extensively cultivated as a panorama specimen.

The lemon cypress is of backyard origin and has change into in style in america, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia as a vibrant panorama tree.

It prefers delicate climates with cool summers and moist winters. California’s Central Coast experiences a Mediterranean local weather with arid, heat seasons and reasonable cool seasons. Sandy soils and coastal breezes are the norm in its native local weather.


Whereas hardy in USDA zones 7-10, additionally it is a viable houseplant. In colder climates, develop in a pot to convey indoors within the winter. The dwarf nature makes it splendid for container tradition, the place it could reside in an appropriate container for 3 to 4 years earlier than transplanting.


Close-up of a gardener's hand planting a Lemon Cypress seedling into the soil in a sunny garden. Seedling features slender stems with tiny, needle-like leaves emerging in a soft, pale green hue. Nearby stands an empty black plastic pot and a blue garden trowel.
You may transplant from a container to the backyard in early spring for optimum acclimatization.

You may transplant the bushes from their container to the in-ground backyard in fall and spring. Early spring is good when the plant can adapt to its new atmosphere with out excessive temperatures throughout the rising season.

If transferring to a bigger container, go for one which’s no less than one inch bigger in diameter than the present pot. Give roots just a little trim to permit more room for development within the new pot and to maintain the plant suited to its container-growing tradition. Dwarf varieties can reside for years in pots with out outgrowing them.

Rising from Seed

Close-up of Monterey Cypress cones growing on branches, against a blurred green background. Monterey Cypress cones exhibit a distinctive appearance characterized by their small to medium size and woody texture. The cones are ovoid or spherical in shape, featuring a series of tightly packed scales that form a compact structure.The color of the cones is brown as they are mature, and they have a slightly lustrous coating.
This backyard cultivar kinds small, spherical cones, however seeds don’t yield the identical plant because the dad or mum.

Lemon cypress is a backyard cultivar, and whereas it produces small, roundish uniform cones, seeds gained’t produce the identical plant because the dad or mum. Basically, seeds aren’t true to kind as they’d be within the native Monterey cypress. It’s finest to propagate from cuttings.

Find out how to Develop

The punchy, lemony-green coloration brings pleasure to the out of doors and indoor backyard, and their carefree nature makes them a pleasure to develop. Of their hardiness zones, they’re easy-care and drought-tolerant bushes as soon as established.

In containers, they require a lot the identical therapy as different potted vegetation – numerous mild, good air circulation, and persistently moist, well-drained soils.


Close-up of Lemon Cypress in a green plastic pot on a light windowsill. This coniferous tree features a pyramidal shape and dense, feathery branches adorned with small, scale-like leaves. The foliage stands out in a vibrant lemon-yellow color.
It prefers the morning solar and shiny mild, avoiding direct afternoon rays.

This dwarf tree prefers direct daylight for no less than 4-6 hours. Within the backyard, plant in full to partial solar. They will profit from afternoon solar safety in sizzling climates, the place they could scorch.

As houseplants, place them the place they get morning solar and shiny mild all through the day. Once more, keep away from direct afternoon rays in an inside spot.


Close-up of watering a young Lemon Cypress from an orange watering can with a white spray nozzle. The plant has a pyramidal shape, and dense, feathery branches with small, scale-like leaves of lime green color.
Hold soil persistently moist for good root institution within the first rising season.

Whereas they’re comparatively straightforward care vegetation, they want water to get established of their first rising season. Within the panorama, water commonly to attain moist, however not soggy, soil. Plant in a location the place soils are well-draining, as they don’t tolerate standing water.

In a container, water weekly (or as wanted earlier than the soil dries). Err on the dry facet slightly than overwatering, as moist soil can result in root rot. They like evenly moist soil in a well-draining container.


Close-up of a young Lemon Cypress seedling in a small plastic black pot in the garden, on the soil, next to a dug hole. The seedling has dense, feathery branches adorned with tiny scale-like leaves of a yellowish-green hue. In the blurred background there is a small garden trowel with a blue blade and a wooden handle.
Lemon cypress thrives in sandy, rocky, and dry circumstances, tolerating varied soil pH ranges.

The pure atmosphere is sandy, rocky, and dry, with usually poor soils. These powerful vegetation can stand up to arid circumstances and aren’t choosy about soil pH. Nutrient-rich soils can result in speedy development, the place the higher plant outpaces the basis system.

The shallow root system can’t assist the upright plant towards wind and will trigger the plant to topple over. It’s important to present satisfactory time to ascertain a sturdy root system with out exterior soil modification.

In a container, a conventional potting combine works effectively. Go for one with bark combine to make sure good drainage. Right here, we are able to fear much less a couple of panorama plant rising quicker than the roots (though the roots are simply as necessary!). If potting soil could be very dense, think about mixing in a small quantity of sand or native grime, remembering that these result in soil drying out extra rapidly in a container.

Temperature and Humidity

Close up, the branches of the Lemon Cypress in the garden against a blurred background. Clusters of small, scale-like leaves densely clothe the branches, creating a textured and lush canopy. The leaves, in a brilliant lemon-yellow hue, impart a vivid and refreshing aesthetic. The branches exhibit a graceful arrangement, forming a compact and conical silhouette.
This evergreen plant prospers in Mediterranean climates and requires safety from below-freezing temperatures.

The best atmosphere mimics coastal Mediterranean climates with cool, moist winters, dry summers, and ocean breezes. Ultimate summer time temperatures are under 80 levels. In winter, below-freezing temperatures can harm or kill the plant. They profit from winter safety, particularly towards winds, even the place they’re hardy.

Bringing these splendid pure circumstances indoors might be difficult, however the correct placement ensures success. Place your plant away from air con and heating vents to keep away from drying drafts. Defend it from the afternoon solar to forestall scorching the foliage. 5 to 6 hours of shiny, oblique solar (or morning solar solely) is finest.

To extend humidity indoors, use a tray with water and pebbles on the pot’s base or mist as wanted. This can be most helpful in winter when warmth and fireplaces can have a drying impact.


Close-up of Lemon Cypress leaves protruding from a wooden fence in a garden against a blurred background. Examining the Lemon Cypress leaves up close reveals a captivating tapestry of small, scale-like foliage. These lemon-yellow leaves, arranged densely along the branches, form a luscious and aromatic canopy.
It requires minimal fertilizing in each panorama and container settings.

As a result of this species performs finest in poor soils, minimal (if any) fertilizing is required, each within the panorama and in a container. If you happen to’re noticing the plant isn’t flushing out of its winter kind rapidly, or if it’s been in the identical container for a while and the soil wants a lift, it’s finest to fertilize in early spring.


Close-up of gardener's hands with large Silverline Hedge Shears trimming a tall Cypress tree in the garden. The Silverline Hedge Shears boast a sleek and functional design, featuring precision blades ideal for trimming and shaping hedges. The shears are characterized by sharp, stainless steel blades with a distinctive silver finish. The Cypress tree presents a stately and distinctive appearance characterized by its tall, slender silhouette. The branches of the Cypress create an elegant, conical shape, and the scale-like leaves are arranged in flattened sprays, giving the tree a feathery texture.
This tree wants minimal pruning, naturally retaining a slender, pyramidal form.

The naturally tidy kind means it requires little pruning. It retains a slender, pyramidal development behavior all through its life. Prune any “stray” stems or branches or trim if utilizing the plant as a hedge, bonsai, or topiary in early spring.

You could discover just a little brown on the ideas the place reduce; that is regular, and new development will flush out shiny yellow-green.


You’ll see these available at nurseries of their hardiness zones. Exterior these zones, search for them close to the vacation season. For the formidable gardener, think about taking cuttings from wholesome stems to propagate extra vegetation.


Close-up of freshly planted white cedar, cypress and juniper cuttings in black plastic pots, outdoors. The pots are small, plastic, glossy, square. The cuttings are short, have vertical stems and several scale-like green leaves.
Propagate by taking a four-to-six-inch stem reducing and planting it in a well-draining potting combine.

This can be a semi-hardwood plant that’s finest propagated via cuttings. With a number of steps and early monitoring, cuttings can produce new vegetation. 

Right here’s how finest to take cuttings:

  • Reduce a four-to-six-inch piece of stem from a wholesome department. Reduce the stem at a 45-degree angle to make sure extra water and rooting hormone protection.
  • Take away the foliage from the underside ⅔ of the reducing. Hold cuttings moist till able to pot.
  • Moisten the reducing and dip the decrease stem in rooting hormone, coating generously. Faucet off any extra rooting powder.
  • Plant the reducing in no less than two inches of moist, well-draining potting combine.
  • Create a mini greenhouse atmosphere by masking the pot with a plastic bag, closing with a twist tie, or utilizing sticks to carry the bag away from the recent stem.
  • Place the pot in a shiny, heat location, avoiding direct daylight (which might make the atmosphere too sizzling).
  • Water as wanted, retaining the soil evenly moist. Carry the plastic each day to permit air circulation, and mist the reducing if dry.
  • The reducing is able to be repotted when it provides resistance towards a mild tug. This implies roots have taken maintain.
  • Plant the reducing in a pot, retaining it indoors in a shiny spot or transferring exterior if circumstances are delicate.

Sorts of this plant are available in a variety of sizes. Each ‘Goldcrest’ and ‘Wilma Goldcrest’ are well-suited to the backyard or the container, and each dwarf varieties do notably effectively in pots. ‘Goldcrest’ tends to be slower-growing with denser branching than the favored dwarf choice ‘Wilma Goldcrest.’

Hesperocyparis macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’

Close-up of Hesperocyparis macrocarpa 'Wilma Goldcrest,' in a sunny garden. This compact coniferous shrub boasts vibrant, lemon-yellow foliage. The foliage consists of flattened sprays of aromatic, scale-like leaves that create a dense, columnar shape.
‘Wilma Goldcrest’ is a fast-growing hybrid that includes an open branching behavior and a mature peak of six ft.

This selection is a profitable hybrid between the Monterey cypress and the dwarf choice ‘Goldcrest.’ ‘Wilma Goldcrest’ is fast-growing with a extra open branching behavior than ‘Goldcrest.’ A mature ‘Wilma Goldcrest’ can attain six ft tall as a substitute of the 12-foot tall ‘Goldcrest.’

Widespread Issues

This decorative tree might be prone to break in cold and warm extremes. Dieback can happen in these circumstances and with extended dry soil except established within the panorama. It’s also liable to sure pests that may be handled and illnesses which are extra demanding to manage.


Close-up of Borer larvae in the roots of a tree. Borer larvae, the immature stage of wood-boring beetles, exhibit a slender, cylindrical body with a distinct, hardened head capsule. It has cream to white coloration and a segmented body.
Scale back the harm that pests can do by sustaining a wholesome, vigorous plant.

Borers and cypress aphids can pose issues for this plant. Borers reside among the many roots and change into bark beetles. The most effective management is prevention via cultural practices. Hold soil evenly moist to maintain vegetation vigorous.

Fluctuation between durations of drought and overwatering can stress the plant and improve susceptibility to borers. If borers are current, take away the plant and soil to maintain them from spreading elsewhere within the backyard.

When rising it outside, spray the plant with water sometimes throughout heat months when pests are most energetic to discourage and knock bugs off the stems. A easy horticultural cleaning soap can rid the plant of aphids if infestation happens. 


Armillaria, Phytophthora, Botrytis, and Coryneum canker are frequent illnesses. Most of those are brought about (or added to) by irregularities in soil moisture and air circulation that may result in a much less vigorous plant.


Close-up of a cluster of honey-brown mushrooms, commonly identified as Armillaria, on the bark of a tree. The cap of these mushrooms is convex and has a light tan color, featuring darker scales that radiate outward from the center.
Honey fungus targets and kills plant roots. The looks of a white powdery substance or honey-brown mushrooms can establish it.

Armillaria, or honey fungus, assaults and kills the roots of many perennial and woody vegetation. It usually seems as a white powdery substance on the floor degree of the bark. Generally, clusters of honey-brown mushrooms seem above the soil.

Armillaria may cause sudden demise of the plant. If this fungus is current, excavating and eradicating the plant and soil is the one management. Take away the contaminated space to maintain it from spreading to different backyard areas.


Close-up of a cypress plant affected by Phytophthora, in the garden. The vibrant and lush foliage of the cypress becomes discolored, taking on a brown hue. The branches exhibit dieback and withering.
This fungal root rot results in gradual plant decline by affecting feeder roots.

Phytophthora is a fungal root rot that causes a sluggish decline of the plant, impacting feeder roots to allow them to’t uptake water and vitamins.

The most effective management is correct cultural administration, particularly in not overwatering the roots. A fungicide might be utilized if the plant reveals indicators of stress like leaf drop and brown or decaying feeder roots.


Close-up of cypress branches affected by Botrytis disease. Leaves have brown spots and “fluffy mold” on the surface. The leaves of the plant are scale-like and are arranged in flattened sprays.
Deal with by pruning off contaminated areas, offering out of doors air air flow, and utilizing fungicides.

Botrytis root rot is a fungal illness, particularly prevalent in high-humidity circumstances with restricted air circulation. Brown spots and “fluffy mould” are indicators of botrytis.

To deal with botrytis, trim the contaminated areas and place the plant outside with good air air flow. Crops might be sprayed with a fungicide as a final resort. Take care to not overwater or overfertilize, which weakens the plant.

Coryneum Canker

Close-up of a gardener's hands pushing apart the branches of a cypress plant to show areas affected by Coryneum Canker. The branches of the cypress are densely packed with scale-like leaves that are arranged in flattened sprays, giving the tree a lush and layered texture. The leaves are dark green. In the area affected by the disease, the leaves are brown.
Getting into current plant wounds, Coryneum canker causes lesions and department dieback.

Coryneum canker, or cypress canker, is a fungus characterised by lesions on bark and stems and department dieback. This fungus strikes into already-existing wounds on the plant, particularly in periods of extended fog or moisture.

Once more, one of the best management is preventative – a plant well-adapted to its atmosphere is much less prone. If cypress canker happens, take away affected branches to forestall unfold to the entire plant.

Regularly Requested Questions

Sure! Hold them year-round as houseplants and as backyard specimens. Ensure to supply loads of mild, evenly moist soil, and winter safety. The intense foliage makes a hanging addition to the panorama or interiorscape in any season.

These are dwarf cultivars of the bigger Monterey cypress. ‘Goldcrest’ can develop to 12 ft tall and 6 ft vast within the panorama and far smaller in a container. ‘Wilma Goldcrest’ is much more dwarfed at a most of six ft tall within the panorama and as small as three ft in a container.

In USDA hardiness zones 7-10, it may be planted within the panorama. Provide safety from winter winds, even the place hardy. In colder climates, maintain your plant in a container and transfer it indoors throughout winter. Hold soil evenly moist in a well-drained pot, and avoid warmth vents and fireplaces to keep away from extreme drying.

Ultimate Ideas

With its hanging coloration, kind, and lemony perfume, it’s no surprise lemon cypress has achieved The Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Backyard Advantage. 

Use this beautiful tree as a panorama specimen, hedge, topiary, bonsai, or container planting. Pair it with winter hardy annuals like violas and pansies for top distinction throughout cooler seasons. In hotter months, the chartreuse coloration and nice texture are stunning towards deep purple foliage vegetation like heuchera and bladed leaves of decorative grasses. Its cheery and shiny needles add an unparalleled punch to the backyard.

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