Dwarf Italian Cypress

manature(9B Sanford, FL)January 14, 2009

I posted a couple of days ago looking for conical evergreens small enough to put on either side of my entryway. Haven't had much luck asking locally, but I did find that there IS a dwarf Italian Cypress out there. I just can't find enough info on it to know how it would do in Zone 9. Have any of you grown either dwarf Italian Cypress, dwarf arborvitae, or any other conical shaped evergreen that stays below 10 feet in height? Preferably about 6 feet or so?

Surely someone has had some experience with this??? I'm hoping.....................


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Marcia - There is no dwarf Italian Cypress, at least none that I've ever seen or heard of. As far as a nice conical shaped tree that stays green all year long, and won't grow too tall, the best I can recommend is our native Jamaican Caper - Capparis cynophallophora. The hard part is finding one that's been grown as a standard (single trunk). There was a nursery in Homestead that grew them, but I bought his entire stock (24 trees) after Hurricane Wilma and planted them all. Mine went in the ground at 6 feet and is now just about 10 feet and I doubt it will get much taller. It does have a perfect conical shape, but it doesn't look like an "evergreen."

Another possible choice would be Podocarpus macrophyllus "Maki" - Japanese Yew. I've rarely seen them get over 15' here in Florida and they do look like evergreens.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 4:17PM
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I have also been looking for a conical shape evergreen.I am leaning towards the Spartan juniper.It's supposedly a slow grower but may mature at 15-20'.It also,supposedly, can be trimmed-pruned to maintain a smaller tree.It should do well in our zone. If you prefer,the Blue point juniper has similar growth habits but a color similar to the Blue Spruce.A Google search should provide some pictures and better info.This tree is a little bigger than I wanted as well, but the best I can find for Z9. I'm going for a 6' spread and 12' height.Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 7:18PM
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Marcia, Google Cherry Lake Tree Farm, click on "Resources",then click "Tree solution guide".Select Spartan juniper for pics and info.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 8:00PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Thanks, Ricky & Artenvy.

Ricky, I have found at least 3 online nurseries that sell dwarf Italian Cypress, which they SAY tops out at about 10' but can be kept a bit smaller. I'm just not sure how it will do in Florida, as these are all northern nurseries. But thinking of it is a Mediterranean plant, I was guessing it might handle heat okay?

Artenvy, Blue Point juniper was one I was told about by a local nursery, however, when I Googled it, I found out it can reach 60 to 70 feet! Yikes! I will check on Spartan juniper.

Ricky, I will also check the Jamaican caper. I have no idea what that is like...does it do well in Zone 9, or is it a South Florida kinda tree, I wonder? And if the podocarpus looks anything like the big one, I'll pass. I really don't like podocarpus. Like Norfolk Pines, there is just something about the structure of them that really annoys me. (Sorry you Podo lovers...it's just a personal aesthetic. Nothing wrong with having them, if you enjoy them.)

I'm going to check out the caper and the Spartan juniper after I fix my first cuppa tea. (Yep, it's 8:30, and I'm still in my robe, checking email and the forum before even heading to the kitchen. Only the dogs come before checking my email!)

An aside...I see houses with cute little conical evergreens by their doors all the time. Are all of these folks going to end up with 25' monsters they have to remove? Whatever I decide, I sure don't want to make THAT mistake! Thanks for the input!


    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 8:38AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Here is a link to one of the sites I saw on dwarf Italian cypress yesterday. This isn't a nursery, but it has a picture and some comments about halfway down the page. I do like these little trees, although it wouldn't hurt my feelings if I found something not quite so skinny.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dwarf Italian Cypress

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 8:51AM
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JerryatTreeZoo(Z10 So Fla)

I have no experience with the dwarf Italian Cypress, but the regular one is occassionally used in Floriduh. The problem with them is that they are used to a Mediterranean climate which has wet winters and dry summers, exactly opposite of us with dry winters and wet summers. Consequently they suffer from spider mites and fungal infections. These can be controlled chemically, but not always successfully.

Ricky's suggestion of Podo Maki is good, but will require a modicum of maintenance to keep them under 10'. Podocarpus "Pringles Dwarf" is a slow growing variety that would stay under 10' but is hard to find a big one and a small one might take several years to reach ten feet. Those are your choices as I see them. You might want to ax them on the Conifer site, though.

An alternative would be a holly tree. Not a true evergreen (conifer) but it holds its leaves plus has the red berries for color. There are tight varieties that would fit your bill, but they are uncommon in SoFla and I am not familiar with them.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 9:02AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

In my quest for the perfect entryway evergreen, I found that there IS a dwarf arborvitae (a couple of them, actually), and this one looks very nice. It says it "doesn't require pruning," but I'm wondering if a LITTLE bit of pruning to keep it slightly more conical would work? Ricky, have you pruned arborvitae anywhere along the way? They have a unique foliage structure and I'm wondering if it looks funny when clipped a bit?

Other than being a rounder plant than I was thinking about, this looks like it could be perfect for my entry. Anyone have any other thoughts? I'm really wanting to do this ONCE and not have to remove anything later. And I have NO experience whatsoever with evergreens of any kind.

Oh, and Ricky, I love the caper tree, but I would be happier with it somewhere else in the garden. It doesn't have quite the look I was thinking of for the entryway, but if it will grow in this area, I'd enjoy having one. Artenvy, the Spartan spruce gets way too big for my area, sadly. It's lovely.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dwarf Golden Arborvitae

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 9:14AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Almost all the houses in my neighborhood have those small trees with conical shape. Some look like not too tall cypress and others have a rounder form. The houses were landscaped before we moved and we have no idea about what plants they put in.
We have a couple of evergreens that in maybe a year are the same size. I am sure they were bought locally. Maybe you can see them in person when you come. Remember? And see what they look like.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 9:24AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Willy, I will be sure to check them out, but you need to warn your neighbors, so they don't think I'm a deranged STALKER of some sort when I go peering into their yards.

I know a lot of landscapers put regular arborvitae too close to houses, and that usually results in problems farther down the road. I like the look of those when they are smallish, too, but don't want to have to deal with them if they overgrow the space, which most will, I'm afraid.

Back to my fire! We have an entire giant oak tree to burn up, so I can indulge myself with a cozy fire any time I want. Trouble is, I'm hot all the time...don't even own a long-sleeved shirt...so it isn't often I actually feel like indulging. But today...aaaaaaaaaah! If I didn't have so much to do, I would just sit by the fire and read all day.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 10:23AM
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scents_from_heaven(z9b Orlando FL)

Marcia, the so called dwarf Italian cypress will top out at appriximately 20ft ut they are exremely slow growing and they maintain their extremely columnar appearance instead of the branch drop tht most cypress undergo. I have had mine growing in pots for six years. They are designed for ourclimate, Mine were three ft when I bought thm and are now approximately five feet. I keep them in medium sized pots and they are easily shaped into topiary form. I leave mine columnar for the pure beauty of them. Good luck with your choice. I bought mine in Tallahassee. Linda

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 1:04PM
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I wish to give my home the Mediterranean look with dwarf Italian Cypress lining my long driveway. With my zone of 6 in Tennessee, could someone recommend something other than Tiny Towers that will be a conifer and remain about 8-10 feet tall and remain small? Help ! Thank you - Joe

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 1:42PM
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