How to Grow Lemon Cypress ‘Goldcrest’?

Lemon Cypress-the goldcrest is a beautiful fragrant plant. It is better to call it a tree. This plant is popular for its fine needle leaves with a lemony fragrance. Lemon cypress is extremely easy to grow and care for. It does not require specific soil conditions although sunlight is pretty important. The only problem in growing lemon cypress is they can’t survive in shade. Even part shade is not good yet you can grow them indoors with proper care.

Lemon cypress is a slow-growing plant. It can become a tree in a decade or more. These plants can grow up to 15 feet high in ideal conditions. Although they can grow at most 4 or 5 feet in containers. There are many dwarf varieties specially developed for containers. They usually grow no more than a couple of feet high. Lemon Cypress is a maintenance-free plant. If you like a tree that can grow in your yard as well as in a container then this one is for you.

How to Grow Lemon Cypress
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Lemon Cypress Plant Info

  • Botanical Name: Hesperocyparis macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’
  • Common Name: Lemon Cypress and Goldcrest
  • Family: Cupressaceae
  • Hardiness Zone: Hardy in USDA hardiness zone 7 through 10. Although they can survive anywhere in containers.
  • Plant Type: Perennial hardwood tree.
  • Plant height: 3-12 feet high and 2-3 feet wide.
  • Structure: It is a columnar plant with beautiful fine needle leaves. They release a mild lemony fragrance if crushed.
  • Soil Requirement: Soft dry well-drained soil is good for lemon cypress. They don’t require specific soil ph. Although it would be better to keep the soil neutral.
  • Watering: These plants require more water in their first year. latter once they grew a strong and deep root system you can reduce watering. Lemon cypress plants in containers may require consistent moisture throughout their lifetime.
  • Sunlight: They need a minimum of 6 hours of daylight. Even indoors you have to allow 2-6 hours of distributed sunlight throughout the day. They can serve 20-85 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a wide range although it is better to keep them within 60-75 degrees. A moderate temperature is better than extremes.
  • Propagation: Seedlings and Cuttings
  • Use: Lemon Cypress is a popular Christmas tree variety. Its sweet-tangy fragrance makes it more refreshing.

Propagation Methods of Lemon Cypress

Lemon Cypress can propagate through cuttings and seeds. It is quite hard to get the seed from the store or anywhere. You can only find viable lemon cypress seed if you already had a tree in your yard or maybe in your locality.

Instead of searching for seeds check out for seedlings in the nursery. You can buy seedlings or cuts grown in the previous season from the nursery.

Sometimes seedlings can also be found growing under a mature tree. If you want a different approach then try growing lemon cypress for their cuttings. You will need 12-30 inch long turdy cutting to grow. keep reading for details.

Can You Grow Lemon Cypress in Containers?

Lemon cypress is one such tree that can grow easily in containers. It does not require much care. Just use healthy soil and a deep container. Even poor sandy soil will do the job if provided sufficient moisture.

Always use a big 12-15 inch container with proper drainage holes. keep in mind they need room for root growth. The container should provide sufficient space for at least 3 years for root growth.

It is better to change or upgrade the container every 3 years. Old Containers may develop fungus and pest growth. You can reuse them but first clean and treat them with fungicides.

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Soil Preparation For Lemon Cypress

Plant them in plain dry soil without much organic matter. It should be nutritious and well-drained. Lemon cypress doesn’t require quality Soil. Even poor sandy soil is just as fine as any soil although don’t use clay as it may cause rotting.

Add extra compost for container soil. In the yard, they don’t need much food or care. Just dig a hole enough for the root ball and place the plant in it. Water regularly and care for the Lemon cypress.

A commercial potting mix is good for faster growth. It is often sufficient for lemon plants in containers. If you want something else then amend it with some compost and slow-release fertilizers. Together they will feed the plant for months.

Rooting Lemon Cypress Branch

  • You can grow lemon cypress for its cutting. Just take a 10-25 inch long healthy branch cutting from a young plant. The cutting should be sturdy and mature.
  • Prepare damp soil mix for rooting these cuttings.
  • Dip the lower ends of the Cypress branch in the rooting hormone and place it in the damp soil.
  • The branch will develop roots within a month or so. Until then keep the soil moist and warm.
  • Allow the cutting to strengthen for couple more weeks before transplant.

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How to Plant a Lemon Cypress?

  • Start with a healthy seedling or lemon cypress cutting. Use only the healthy ones with ample root growth. You can grow a plant or just buy one from a local nursery. Lemon cypress is also available for sale on Amazon.
  • Prepare garden or containers for growing. Fill the container with soil mix and little extra compost.
  • Place the plant in the center of the hole and fill the root ball with soil mix. Tap to release any air pockets.
  • Don’t care much for soil quality just ensure it can drain properly. If water stays stagnant then the chance of root rot is pretty high.
  • Water the plant well every time. Deep watering is always a better option for trees. Let the soil dry before every next spell. It will encourage deep rooting.
  • Care for these plants and they will thrive for years.
  • Allow proper 4-6 hours of sunlight every day. Rotate the container plants regularly to provide an equal amount of sunlight.
  • Prune and deadhead the plant in late winter and early spring. This will encourage more branch and foliage growth by Christmas time.
  • Wash the plant occasionally to keep them clean but never overdo watering. It may cause fungal infection.
  • Indoor plants may need little humidity so put them in the bathroom or kitchen during peak summer days. Never forget to allow sunlight else they may droop and turn pale within days.
  • Use light organic mulch, especially during the early years of Goldcrest in the garden. A mature big lemon cypress tree may not require mulching at all. Although I prefer using organic mulch to keep weeds in control. It also increases moisture retention in the soil. If it is essential then use mulch. It’s not that costly so why not give it a try.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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