Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 497 Cupressus sempervirens

Common Names: Italian cypress, Mediterranean cypress Family: Cupressaceae (cypress Family)

Italian cypress


Some cultivars of Italian cypress are remarkably tall, slender, almost pencil shaped trees. Their heights can reach 80 ft (24 m), but their spreads are seldom more than 8 ft (2.4 m)! The species and some other cultivars are more typical conifers with spreading branches and wide crowns. These "ordinary" trees are not as popular as the pencil shaped trees. The foliage is needle-like and dark green at all times of the year. Cones develop only in climates that have a cool winter.


Cupressus sempervirens occurs naturally in southern Europe and western Asia.


Italian cypress likes fertile soil with good drainage. It usually thrives with little attention. Light: Italian cypress grows best in full sun. Moisture: Provide average to dry conditions once your tree is established. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 10. Propagation: Seeds need a period of cold and moist conditions before they will germinate. The cultivars are propagated from cuttings.


This special tree needs a special place, and seldom works in the typical home landscape. Because of its great height and narrow columnar shape, its best placement is near the corner of a very tall building to add a vertical accent. It definitely tests the creativity of a designer, but can be immensely effective in the right place.

Italian cypress


The unique, exclamation-point shape of Italian cypress is an eye catcher!

01/16/98, updated: Jack Scheper 07/04/99; Steve Christman 6/6/06

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Cupressus species profiled on Floridata:

Cupressus glabra

( smooth cypress, smooth Arizona cypress )

Cupressus macrocarpa

( Monterey cypress )

Cupressus sempervirens

( Italian cypress, Mediterranean cypress )

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