December is a month when contractors often spend time replanting and refreshing client’s entryways and containers for the holidays and winter season. Entryways are the perfect spot to feature large container specimens, but size can often be a limiting factor. Select a plant that grows too wide and your entryway planting or containers can quickly outgrow their allotted space.
What’s the solution when you need height and drama but are in a tight squeeze? Skinny plants! Finding plants that put on some height, but keep a narrow waistline, can often be a challenge. Blue Italian cypress, Cupressus sempervirens ‘Glauca’, is one of a few plants that fits the bill perfectly. These columnar evergreens can grow up to 60 feet tall at maturity, while only reaching 8-12 feet wide. Their narrow growth habit makes them appropriate for tighter urban spaces that need significant height. You can even plant them in large planters for impressive container displays, or to flank an entryway or gate.
The evergreen foliage and color are two more bonus features of Italian blue cypress. The beautiful blue-green foliage is eye-catching and provides you with some nice color contrast in the landscape. Their new growth will takes well to pruning so you can keep them regularly pruned to your desired height and even prune lateral growth to keep plants more narrow. However, don’t try this on on older established blue Italian cypress. New buds don’t sprout well from old-wood growth. If you severely prune back the lateral growth of an established plant, you’ll most likely be permanently left with barren patches.
Winter is the best time to plant blue Italian cypress as they’ll better establish in their new home while active growth is at a minimum. This time of year, small specimens are often used as living Christmas trees. While these small plants can be kept indoors for short periods of time, we don’t recommend keeping them inside a home for more than about a week. When indoors, keep plants well watered and keep an eye out for any signs of drying.