How to Clone Italian Cypress


Italian cypress is a popular plant for Tuscan-style landscaping as well as topiary. The plant's tall, narrow growth habit makes a striking silhouette when planted up against the wall of a home and lends itself well to sculpting in a spiral shape. According to the University of Florida, the plant grows well from USDA hardiness zones 7 through 11 and adapts well to the clay soils found throughout the southeastern U.S. and the sandy soils of the southwestern U.S. One of the simplest methods of propagating Italian cypress is through stem cuttings, a process known as cloning.

Step 1

Select a young Italian cypress that is hearty and disease-free.

Step 2

Choose a young branch from the lowest part of the tree that shows vigorous growth.

Step 3

Sharpen your pruning shears before taking a cutting to ensure that you do not bruise the cutting.

Step 4

Position your pruning shears at a point 6 inches from the end of the branch. There should be at least three points where cypress needle clusters emerge from the branch between the cutting point and the branch tip. These points are called nodes.

Step 5

Make a clean cut across the branch.

Step 6

Strip the cypress needles from the lower 2/3 of the branch. Dip the cut end of the branch in rooting hormone.

Step 7

Fill a clean 12-inch clay container with sterile peat moss. Water the peat moss so that it is as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 8

Insert the branch into the moss so that it is buried halfway into the growing medium.

Step 9

Cover the container with a dry cleaning bag and place it in indirect sunlight in a sunny windowsill.

Step 10

Check the cutting daily. Water the container whenever the peat moss becomes dry. Keep the peat moss as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Mist the cutting daily and replace the dry cleaning bag when you have finished tending to the cutting.

Step 11

Tug gently on the cutting to determine if it has rooted. You will feel resistance when pulling on a rooted cutting. Remove the dry cleaning bag when the cutting has rooted.

Step 12

Move the container outdoors into the shade for two or three hours daily to harden off the tree once its roots develop. This will help get the tree ready for transplant.

Step 13

Transplant the tree into a sunny location in the soil once it has hardened off.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Sharpener
  • Rooting hormone
  • 12-inch clay container
  • Peat moss
  • Dry cleaning bag
  • Plant mister


  • NC State University: Rooting for You: Plant Propagation with Stem Cuttings
  • University of New Hampshire Extension: Plant Propagation

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Cupressus sempervirens: Italian Cypress
Keywords: italian cypress, propagating italian cypress, cloning shrubs

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."