When choosing the species of plants that will decorate your garden or the interior of your house, you not only have to take into account their care and the climate to which they can be subjected, their size, beauty, and aroma are other reasons to choose one species or another. And within the category of trees that not only give joy to your garden but also impregnate it with a pleasant fragrance, we find the lemon cypress. This variety of cypress can be grown both indoors and outdoors. We will tell you how to care for it so that it grows healthy and lush.
Characteristics of the Lemon Cypress
One of the characteristics that differentiate the lemon cypress tree, whose scientific name is Cupressus macrocarpa, from other cypress species is the characteristic citrus scent of its leaves, especially to the touch. Likewise, another of its differentiating elements is its pyramidal shape and yellowish-green leaves, between 1 and 2 mm in size. It is an evergreen tree that offers fruits similar to pineapple, but with a more rounded shape. It grows about 1.5 m – if planted in the garden – and can reach 30 meters.
The lemon cypress is also known as Monterey cypress, because it is native to Monterey Bay, in southern California, in the United States. It is also called Goldcrest cypress, lemon cedar, or lemon pine. It is also very common in coastal areas of the Canary Islands, where it was introduced as ornamental.
Care Of the Cypress: Light and Temperature
One of the characteristics of the lemon cypress is that it can adapt equally well to indoors and outdoors, always bearing in mind that it does not tolerate either excessively high or low temperatures. Thus, it is best to keep it in an environment in which the thermometer ranges between 10 and 27 °C. Remember also that it does not tolerate frosts, which could damage it. If they are frequent in your area, protect them or put them on a roof if you have them in a pot.
As for light, the more sun it receives, the more pronounced its leaves will turn a greenish-yellow, although it also does well in shady areas, as long as it receives at least 5 hours of sun per day. If you decide to place it in a very luminous area to enjoy its characteristic greenish-yellow tone, it should be in an area that does not receive sun during the central hours of the day, as this could cause the plant to dry out. If it is indoors, look for a very luminous location.
Watering: A Key Factor in Cypress Care
Like most plants, the lemon cypress suffers when subjected to excess water, which could lead to fungus. Now, it is a plant that likes moisture, so the ideal is frequent watering, but with little water, so that the substrate always has some moisture, but the plant does not suffer from waterlogging. You can check the amount of moisture in the soil by inserting your finger in it.
If you have your potted lemon cypress, a very effective way to water it is to pour water into the saucer so that the plant absorbs moisture when it needs it. This way you will also avoid over-wetting the plant’s foliage, which could damage its leaves.
What Should the Substrate and Fertilizer of Lemon Cypress Be Like?
As we mentioned, the lemon cypress is a plant that does not tolerate excess moisture, so it is essential to provide it with a well-drained substrate. For this, it is best to use a mixture of soil and sand that prevents water from stagnating around the roots. You can also add a little gravel to improve drainage.
As for fertilizer, the lemon cypress prefers a fertilizer for acidophilic plants about every three months and is always applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
In its adult state, if the climate in your area is temperate and you have it in the garden, it will not need more watering than that provided by rainwater.
Pruning Lemon Cypress
Although it is not a plant that requires pruning, when it is used as an ornamental element in the garden, it is common to prune the lemon cypress to give it the desired shape. It is common to keep its conical shape, but it is also often pruned in a ball or spiral shape, with very attractive results that will enhance the elegance of any garden.
Also, the lemon cypress, because it is an evergreen and very leafy plant, is often used as a hedge, with several specimens together that, over time, form a natural barrier with a pleasant aroma and color.
If you have your potted lemon cypress, you will need to prune it from time to time to maintain its shape and prevent it from overgrowing. The best time to do this is in autumn.
A tip: whenever you prune a plant, always disinfect your tools beforehand. You can do this with a fungicide – for which the use of latex gloves is also recommended – or bleach.
How to Transplant a Lemon Cypress Tree
When you get a specimen of lemon cypress – and this goes for any plant you buy at a nursery or garden store – leave it for at least a month in the pot it came in until it acclimates to its new situation. Plants suffer stress when their habitat is altered.
To transplant your lemon cypress to another container, choose a clay pot, as they are more resistant and will protect the roots from high temperatures. Then add one to two finger-thick layers of gravel. Since the lemon cypress needs well-drained soil, you can make a soil mix with gardening sand, universal substrate, and worm castings, which will provide the plant with nutrients and microorganisms beneficial to its growth. Take the root ball out of the pot, being careful not to damage the roots – you can give it small blows on the sides and bottom to loosen it.