Italian cypress trees may grow as tall as 30 feet, with a thin, conical shape. Native to Europe and Asia, Italian cypress trees grow best in hot, dry conditions. Because the trees need little maintenance, they are an attractive, easy-care choice for landscaping. Timing is the key to ensuring a healthy start for your Italian cypress tree.
Choose a planting site that will give the tree the conditions it needs to stay healthy. Italian cypress trees need well-drained soil, but they do not need full sunlight for optimal growth; they will grow when planted even in shaded locations. The tree is cold hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but in winter it's advisable to place a layer of wood or straw mulch around the tree to provide some insulation against winter cold.
Italian cypress trees may be grown from seedlings, though it will take at least a year before the tree begins to look like a tree. Purchasing or obtaining cypress transplants may be a more logical solution for homeowners who want to establish a healthy cypress tree. During the first year of growth, the trees are difficult to establish and intolerant of cold weather conditions.
Italian cypress trees should be planted during dormancy, which occurs in the winter (November through March), but avoid planting on a day when temperatures fall below freezing. Cypress trees being planted in a container may be planted year-round, however, as they may be taken indoors for winter protection. Always plant cypress when the ground is soft and moist; if necessary, wet the area with the garden hose first.
Do not allow young cypress seedlings to dry out or freeze in harsh weather conditions. Water young Italian cypress trees often, particularly after planting, to provide plenty of growth-encouraging moisture. When planting cypress in cold-weather winter regions, protect the young tree by wrapping it in burlap to insulate it against cold temperatures.