Bald cypress trees grow to over 100 feet in height. Their ferny foliage allows dappled sun to pass through, making them an ideal tree to under plant with sun- or shade-loving species. Choose companion plants that complement rather than compete with these characteristics. Cypress trees prefer moisture-retentive soils but once mulched and established, they handle drier areas well.
Henry Lauder's Walking Stick
Henry Lauder's walking stick (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') is a dwarf tree growing to 10 feet in height. The limbs of this small tree contort in various directions, giving it the whimsical appearance many people know. When grown beneath and around cypress trees, it is effective in creating a "magical" feel, especially in the evening and at night when backlit by the moon or artificial lighting. The addition of Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) draping from limbs adds to this feeling.
Henry Lauder's walking stick grows best in well-drained soils that contain a good amount of organic matter. Mulch each plant well and water deeply whenever the soil begins to dry out. Once fully established, Henry Lauder's walking stick requires less watering. This is a grafted plant; when suckers begin to grow from its base (below the graft line), remove with clean, sharp clippers. This plant does best in USDA zones 3 through 8.
Weeping willow (Salix spp.) grows to 70 feet with a spread of the same. Its sweeping branches hang low, brushing the ground, giving the plant its soulful name. With their penchant for damp ground and full sun, willows look especially nice on well-lit swamp or pond islands framed by the upright growing habit of bald cypress trees.
Weeping willows grow fastest when planted in nutrient-rich, moist soils. Provide full sun by keeping other trees at a distance. If provided with several inches of organic mulch and occasional deep watering, willows grow well in drier soils. Removing broken limbs keeps plants tidy. This plant is hardy in zones 2 through 9.
Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) grows to 25 feet high and blooms with masses of white flowers in early spring. Various forms of wildlife eat its nectar, fruit and seeds. In the landscape, serviceberry provides gardeners with the option of a deciduous shrub or tree, depending on if they remove or leave suckers to grow. This small tree offers fall colors in bright orange, red and yellow. Find this serviceberry growing beside streams and in dappled shade forests throughout North America.
For the best growth, plant serviceberry in moisture retentive soils that have a high organic content. Serviceberries also do well in containers, making them a portable tree for landscaping beneath taller bald cypress trees. Feed with a balanced perennial fertilizer each spring when active growth begins. Once established, this is a carefree plant choice. In drier areas, mulch around each plant well. Serviceberry is hardy in USDA zones 4 though 11.