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How to Grow Lemon Cypress Trees

swamp and cypress trees image by Jorge Moro from

The lemon cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) is a shrub native to California. This tree enjoys warm climates, lots of sunshine and good, moist soil. These beautiful evergreens can be grown both indoors or outdoors. The lemon cypress forms a triangular shape on its own but you can prune it to maintain a smaller size to grow in pots. Lemon cypress trees produce a wonderful lemon scent and grow well in USDA zones 7 through 10, with zone 8 being ideal.

Test the soil where you will be planting your tree. A lemon cypress can handle soils of almost any type but you still want to take measures to ensure your tree will get the best start possible. Sandy soil in a location suitable for good water drainage is best. The soil ideally should have a pH balance from 5.6 to 8.5.

Plant the lemon cypress in an area that receives full sun at least four hours per day. Depending on environmental factors such as the level of humidity in your area, you may need to water your cypress regularly. Feel the soil daily with your finger to check for moisture. If the top soil is dry and doesn’t leave a trace amount of moisture on your fingers, you will need to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Fertilize the lemon cypress no more than on a monthly basis. Too much fertilizer will damage the plant and cause its foliage to wither. Periodically add extra soil around the tree to encourage growth.

Spray the lemon cypress with a pesticide at the start of the spring season to avoid infestations. Aphids are a particular problem for the lemon cypress and will ruin it quickly. Make sure the pesticide is designed to target aphids.


If you would like to grow the lemon cypress indoors make sure you place the pot in a sunny location away from air vents that pose a risk of drying out the cypress.

Cypress trees are good as natural fences. Apply mulch around the base to hold in the moisture content for longer periods of time.


Be sure to keep the cypress well-trimmed, particularly near the ground, so that fresh water can easily reach the root system.

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