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Golden Cypress Shrubs

By Lillian Teague
Pruning helps maintain the shape of a shrub, but may take the golden leaves off of the plant.

Golden cypress shrubs belong to the family Cupressaceae as distinct cultivars featuring yellow foliage. These evergreens are grown specifically for their coloring, adding variety and interest to a landscape design. Suitable for small lots, gardeners use golden cypress shrubs as background plants, borders, specimen plants and hedges.

Golden Fernleaf Cypress

The golden fernleaf cypress features glossy, yellow fernlike needles on the top and sides of the shrub. The needles toward the center range from yellow-green to blue-green, especially when grown in shade conditions. Easily grown in sun to partial shade, the golden fernleaf cypress prefers moist, well-drained soil. This cypress, also known as Chamaecyparis obtusa "Tetragona Aurea," grows up to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide, but at a very slow pace. The untrimmed shape resembles that of an upright pyramid.

Golden Hinoke Cypress

The golden hinoke cypress is a fast grower, with up to 12 inches of new growth per year, according to North Carolina State University. Also known as Chamaecyparis obtusa "Crippsii," this cypress features a broad, upright pyramid form with loose and open branches. The feathery, bright golden yellow foliage grows from the spreading branches, with the interior foliage remaining a darker green color. When grown in moist, well-drained soil, the golden hinoke cypress reaches heights of 10 feet and widths of 4 feet.

Golden Mop Falsecypress

Golden mop cypress and the Chamaecyparis pisifera "Golden Mop," the Golden Mop falsecypress features bright yellow foliage when grown in full sun. This golden cypress is a popular dwarf confer, according to Washington State University Clark County Extension. The branches curve towards the ground, making it resemble a large mop. When grown in slightly acidic, well-drained soil, the Golden Mop falsecypress may reach 6 feet tall and 4 feet across. Although drought tolerant, the Clark County Extension recommends using a thick layer of mulch around the base during the summer.

Golden Threadleaf Falsecypress

The nursery trade knows the golden threadleaf falsecypress for its yellow color. Scientifically known as Chamaecyparis pisifera "Filifera Aurea," this cypress features golden needles that give the pendulous branches the appearance of weeping. The dense foliage adds interest to a landscape. Left untrimmed, the golden threadleaf falsecypress may reach 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. The cypress prefers full sun and a planting location sheltered from strong winds.

Golden Rider Leyland Cypress

The Golden Rider Leyland cypress forms a columnar to pyramidal form of approximately 10 feet in height after 10 years of growth. With the potential of reaching 35 feet tall, the Leyland cypress is one of the largest cypresses. The Clark County Extension points to this cultivar as one of the best golden Leyland cypress cultivars. Often used for hedging, the Golden Rider Leyland is hardy and tolerant of a variety of soil conditions. The golden color is best developed when the cypress is grown in full sun.


About the Author


Lillian Teague is a professional writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in taking hard-to-understand subjects and making them easily understood. She's written thousands of articles for newspaper, periodicals and the Internet. Published work includes VA publications, MMS publications, USAF's The Mobility Forum, Wheretostay.com, Rateempire.com, 1Loansusa.com and many others.