How to Root the Cuttings of an Italian Cypress

Overview

Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is an attractive, but odd-looking, evergreen tree. The tall, skinny Italian cypress can grow as tall as 60 feet, but will be no more than 3 feet wide, making it a good choice for narrow spaces between buildings, planted closely together as a windbreak or privacy screen, or located next to an unsightly wall. To start a new Italian cypress, start by taking a cutting from mid-summer to early fall.

Step 1

Use sharp pruners to cut a long branch from the bottom of a healthy Italian cypress tree. Cut the long branch into several smaller cuttings, each with at least three or four sets of needles. To accomplish this, the cuttings should be approximately 6 inches long. Make cuts on the lower parts of the branches, nearest the trees's roots, at a 45-degree angle, with the cut on the upper part of the branch, furthest from the tree's roots, made straight across.

Step 2

Fill a one-gallon container with a mixture of half regular garden soil and half clean, coarse sand. Moisten the planting medium ahead of time, so that it's moist all the way through, but not dripping. Use the eraser end of a pencil to make a planting hole for each Italian cypress cutting.

Step 3

Strip the needles from the lower half of each Italian cypress cutting, and leave the upper needles intact. Wearing gloves, dip the lower half, with the angled cut, in powdered rooting hormone. Plant the Italian cypress cuttings in the holes.

Step 4

Cover the planting container with clear plastic, and secure it with a rubber band. Put the Italian cypress cuttings outdoors in a sheltered location where the container will be protected from hot sunlight, cold wind and freezing temperatures. You can also put the Italian cypress cuttings indoors, in a cool, humid location.

Step 5

Remove the plastic from the container and mist the soil every day. After a year, the Italian cypress cuttings will be ready to be planted outdoors.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruners
  • One-gallon container
  • Garden soil
  • Clean, coarse sand
  • Gloves
  • Powdered rooting hormone
  • Clear plastic

References

  • Washington State University: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees and Vines with Cuttings
  • Urban Forestry: Trees of West Central Florida
  • NC State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener
Keywords: Italian cypress, Cupressus sempervirens, Italian cypress tree

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.