Cupressus sempervirens
Common Name: Italian cypress
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Cupressaceae
Native Range: Crete, Rhodes, Turkey to Iran
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 40.00 to 70.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-10. Best in well-drained sandy loams in full sun with medium to moderate moisture. Tolerates some drought once established. May not be grown in the St. Louis area, but does very well in dry mediterranean-type climates such as exist in many parts of California.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cupressus sempervirens, commonly called Italian cypress, is an evergreen conifer that is native to southern Europe and western Asia. In its native habitat, it typically grows in a spreading, open-horizontal form (sometimes referred to as var. horizontalis) that is rarely if ever sold in commerce. Trees commonly sold in commerce as Italian cypress are of the familiar narrow-columnar or fastigiate form that typically grows 40-60’ (less frequently to 80’) tall. This columnar/fastigiate form (sometime referred to as C. s. var. sempervirens, C. s. ‘Stricta’ or Stricta Group), is unknown to the wild, but was the tree originally described by Linneaus as Cupressus sempervirens and is the cypress of classical literature that has been commonly planted in Italian classic gardens since Renaissance times. This columnar/fastigiate form features scale-like dark gray-green leaves on upright branches. Foliage is aromatic when crushed. Rounded fruiting cones (to 1.5” diameter).

Genus name is the Latin name for Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens.)

Specific epithet means ever green.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Spider mites attack foliage in some areas.

Garden Uses

Narrow columnar form is sometimes difficult to fit into residential landscapes. Good specimen around tall buildings.