Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens ) are evergreen trees native to Mediterranean countries. Italian cypress grows in an elongated form with dense blue-green foliage, up to between 40 and 60 feet high and 3 to 6 feet wide. They are visually appealing and are planted as memorial trees or to line a driveway, to provide privacy, to act as a wind barrier or to beautify a lawn. They survive best in zones 7 to 11 in the United States, where temperatures do not dip below 5 degrees F. If you live north of California, Arizona, Oklahoma and the Carolinas and want to plant an Italian cypress look-alike, several substitutes are available.
The Skyrocket juniper cultivar of the species Juniperus scopulorum is a common landscaping juniper. Like Italian cypress, its leaves are made of scale-like parts, and if the owner so chooses, he may train and cut the tree into a bonsai-style design. Skyrockets grow quickly, up to 15 feet high and 2 feet wide. Their leaves have a silvery-blue tinge. Skyrockets and other cultivars of Juniperus scopulorum may grow in the most northern states of the United States.
Thuja Green Giant
The Thuja Green Giant (Thuja standishii x plicata) was so named because it grows quickly. Like Italian cypress, it is an evergreen tree used to create privacy barriers and has scale-like leaves. Its foliage is a rich green color. Its shape is more conical rather than a slender form, growing up to 60 feet high and 20 feet wide. Thuja green giants are hardy as they are resistant to drought and most pests and disease. They grow well in zones 5 to 7, which are environments that receive a minimum temperature of minus 10 degrees F.
The Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Keteleeri') is an ideal substitute for Italian cypress to plant in colder zones, says Learn 2 Grow. Like Green Giant, it has a more conical shape, and grows up to 8 feet high and 4 feet wide. Its scale-leaves are a green-gray color and during the fall and winter it grows blue berries. Chinese juniper can grow in most well-drained soil types in zones 3 to 9, thus in most of the United States. Learn 2 Grow adds that Chinese junipers can be planted as single trees or several in stands, and it matches well with gray and purple plants.