Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Care for an Italian Cypress

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

Italian cypress trees are very narrow, elegant trees that can reach upwards of 40 feet in height, depending on the variety, and as much as 3 feet wide. They are often planted in urns and used in formal landscapes. Italian cypress trees have dark green foliage similar in looks to needles rather than leaves. These evergreen, slow-growing trees are native to southern Europe and will grow in USDA growing zones 7b through 11. These trees are valued for their ease of care and for their beauty.

Choose the proper location for your Italian cypress tree. These trees must be exposed to as much sunlight as possible. Six to eight hours of sunlight is best. The soil must be well draining. Standing water in the soil presents a real problem for Italian cypress trees, causing their roots to rot.

Water your Italian cypress sparingly. Many inexperienced home gardeners water these trees much too often. They are drought-tolerant and should only be watered when the first 10 inches of soil becomes dry. To test for this, insert a 10-inch stick into the ground. Watering should only be necessary once every 2 to 3 weeks in the summer and only once or twice during the entire winter.

Water the tree slowly. Italian cypress trees should be watered with a slow flow of water to ensure the water reaches the deep roots of the tree. For best results, use a drip hose and leave it on for about 20 minutes.

Fertilize in the spring with a balanced (10-10-10), slow-release, water-soluble fertilizer formulated for evergreen trees.

Monitor your tree constantly for spider mites. Italian cypress trees are a favorite of this pest, and they can become heavily infested with the mites. Apply an insecticide for mites (often called mitacide) to the tree once every month if infestation occurs.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden hose or drip hose
  • Balanced (10-10-10), slow-release, water-soluble fertilizer
  • Pruning tools (optional)


  • Watch for drooping limbs. This is usually a sign of over-watering. Cut back on your watering, and prune off the drooping limbs.