How to Grow Cupressus sempervirens Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Italian Cypress

The Cupressus sempervirens plant is an ornamental Cypress tree native to the Mediterranean. This evergreen can reach about 115 feet in height (35 m), but is usually about two thirds of this and is thus classified as a medium sized conifer.

It has dark green foliage that is carried in sprays. It carries ovoid seed cones that reach about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in length. The male cones are much smaller 1/5th of an inch (5 mm).

Italian cypress

Cupressus Sempervirens photograph by Nova Cook.

Italian Cypress performs best in dry areas with a Mediterranean climate and thus thrives in southern Australia, California, and South Africa.

It also does well in more moderate cooler climates such as the UK, Pacific northwestern states, and even New Zealand.

A lot of the main cultivars have been bred to have a fastigate (columnar, erect, parallel branches) nature. You may recognize this plant as being one of the favorites of the artist Vincent van Gough.

Quick Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Cupressus sempervirens
  • Common Name (s): Mediterranean cypress, Italian cypress, Tuscan cypress, Persian cypress, Pencil pine
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 7 to 10 / H5

Plant Details

  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen, upright tree
  • Plant Height: 40 to 125 feet (12 to 38 m)
  • Plant Spread: 10 to 25 feet (3 to 8 m)
  • Blooms: Conifer, does not flower
  • Cone Details: Small spherical seed cones (female)
  • Leaf Foliages: Scaly bark, Scale leaves

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sun
  • Suitable Soil Types: Well drained. Sandy.
  • Soil Soil Moisture: Medium
  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Semi-hardwood cuttings. From fresh seed in the autumn.

Further Information

  • Best Garden Use: Near tall buildings, country roads, Rows, hedging if pruned.
  • Family: Cupressaceae. Cypress conifers.
  • Closely Related Species: Juniper, Redwood.

  • Miscellaneous: Low to medium Maintenance. Looks good in the winter. Fairly drought tolerant. Protect from cooling winds. Protect from Cypress aphid
  • Further Reading and References used: Wikipedia; Select tree

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Cupressus sempervirens plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Cupressaceae growing guides: How to grow Cupressocyparis leylandii and Thuja occidentalis plants.