Care of a Lemon Cypress Tree

A lovely lemon cypress is easy to care for and emits a pleasant citrus-like scent in the slightest of breezes. The lemon cypress thrives in containers both indoors as well as outdoors, making it a lovely addition to any garden.

Blooming lemon tree in a cozy living room with a view
credit: AnikaSalsera/iStock/GettyImages
Care of a Lemon Cypress Tree

Growing a Lemon Cypress

Once established, a lemon cypress tree requires very little care or maintenance. It prefers full sun and a humid climate. The greenish foliage grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7 through 10, although they will grow well indoors just about anywhere with proper care.

They love the cool ocean breeze and flourish on the cooler coasts of California and Oregon. The lemon cypress tree needs to be pruned regularly, or it will take off and lose its favorable pyramid form.

Water Issues for Lemon Cypress

When they are just getting their start and strengthening their trunk, a lemon cypress needs a deep watering at least once a week. Let the hose slowly drain around the base of the young tree for 10 minutes, and the tree will thrive.

The mature lemon cypress tree can handle drought conditions. Older trees also don't need fertilizing unless the foliage becomes stunted. If the tree is showing signs of slow growth, add a few inches of a mildly acidic compost to the top layers of soil.

Potted Lemon Cypress Tree Care

Although hardy, a lemon cypress tree that is in a pot will need a consistent watering schedule. The pot should have a hole or a thick layer of rocks at the bottom so the tree has good drainage at all times.

If the tree stands in water too long, it can damage the roots and kill the tree. Let the soil dry out on occasion to ensure that the tree isn't getting overwatered, particularly during the rainy season. If you live in a dry climate, mist the tree every few weeks to keep the foliage its bright, cheery green.

The pot limits their root systems. This causes them to become less drought resistant than their leafy counterparts in the wild. A layer of bark can keep the right amount of water in and keep unwanted pests out.

Miniature Cypress Tree

The size, easily maintained shape, color and pleasing scent make the lemon cypress tree a perfect choice for tiny indoor gardens. It is ideal as a choice for a bonsai tree because it can be clipped daily without harming the main tree. Each snip of garden sheers produces a burst of mood-boosting citrus scents.

The miniature lemon cypress tree is also ideal for topiaries, countertop displays of colorful flowers and patio containers. It's a fast-growing lemon conifer, so it needs clipping on a regular basis to keep it looking neat and trim in a small display.

Its thin branches that spike from the main trunk help to keep a precise form of your own design when grown as a miniature cypress tree.

Pests and Problems

The cypress does pretty well on its own but may need intervention if it shows obvious signs of distress. Cypress canker is caused by foliage that has had the chance to dry out. It makes seeping sores that can be seen on the tree's bark on its branches.

If the lemon cypress shows signs of cypress canker, cut the infected branch from the tree. Once it reaches the trunk, you've lost the battle.

Aphids, caterpillars and beetles can also attack the tree's foliage. Dousing the tree with water once the pests are discovered can cut down damage they may do to the tree.

Lemon Cypress Facts

The lemon cypress thrives in the southwestern climates of the United States, specifically in Monterey, California. It is in the evergreen conifer family. The conifer species of tree produces cones to protect its seeds. A lemon cypress tree is also known as:

  • Lemon pine
  • Monterey cypress
  • Lemon cedar
  • Goldcrest lemon tree

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.