Lemon cypress is a small, evergreen shrub that looks like a little golden Christmas tree. The shrubs are known and loved for the lovely lemony scent that exudes from the branches when you brush up against them. Many people buy lemon cypress in pots and use them to decorate the patio in summer.
Lemon cypress in winter is a different story though. Is lemon cypress cold tolerant? Read on to learn whether you can winterize lemon cypress as well as tips on lemon cypress winter care.
Lemon Cypress Over Winter
Lemon cypress is a little ornamental shrub that is native to California. It is a cultivar of Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) called ‘Goldcrest.’ This evergreen is charming indoors and out with its lemon-yellow leaves and delightful citrus fragrance.
If you buy the tree in a garden store, it will probably come cone-shaped or cut into a topiary. In either case, the shrub will thrive in a location with plenty of sunlight and regular moisture. Lemon cypress can grow to 30 feet (9 m.) outdoors.
What about lemon cypress in winter? Although the trees can tolerate freezing temperatures, anything lower than borderline freezing will harm them, so many gardeners keep them in pots and bring them indoors in winter.
Is Lemon Cypress Cold Tolerant?
If you are thinking of planting your tree outside, you need to figure out the temperatures. Is lemon cypress cold tolerant? It can tolerate some lower temperatures if planted appropriately. A plant with its roots in the ground will do better in cold weather than a container plant.
Generally, lemon cypress shrubs thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. If you live in one of these zones, plant the little shrub in the ground in spring when the soil warms. That will give its root system time to develop before winter.
Select a spot that gets morning or evening sun but keep it away from the direct afternoon sun. While juvenile leaves (green and feathery) prefer indirect sun, mature leaves need direct sun. Keep in mind that the plant was likely grown in a greenhouse with some sun protection, so acclimate it to more sun slowly. Add a little more “full sun” time every day until it is fully acclimated.
Winterize Lemon Cypress
You cannot winterize lemon cypress plants to accept lower temperatures than freezing. The plant will surely suffer winter burn and may develop root freeze and die. No amount of lemon cypress winter care will preserve it from truly cold outdoor weather.
However, it’s entirely possible to keep the shrub in a container and bring it inside over winter. It can take an outdoor vacation on your patio in the summer.