Lemon Cypress a Hit Indoors or Out
‘Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest Wilma’, commonly known as Lemon Cypress is a dwarf columnar conifer, that is quickly finding its way in homes as an indoor houseplant and outdoors in the summer months as a patio container plant.
It is an attractive looking plant with finely textured, feathery, bright Chartreuse foliage, which has a lemon scent when touched. It naturally has a pyramidal shape, but it can be easily pruned and also comes in the form of topiaries. The pyramidal shape will make it a popular choice over the next few weeks, as it can be decorated with miniature ornaments and lights and used as an indoor Christmas tree. It will eventually grow to 1.5-2 meters tall and 50-60 cm wide.
Lemon Cypress can easily be grown indoors. They prefer cooler temperatures of around 15 to18 Celsius and avoid warm dry air. The challenge is giving them enough light this time of year. They need a minimum of 5-6 hours of direct sun each day (south-facing window). To ensure even growth, turn the plant every few days so that it doesn’t grow lop-sided. When it comes to watering, keep the soil moist but not wet as you want to avoid root rot, and when watering, try to avoid getting water on the foliage. Fertilize with an all purpose fertilizer such as 20-20-20 bi-monthly over the winter months and monthly during spring/summer months to ensure healthy growth.
These versatile plants also make great patio plants during the summer and were available in the bedding plant section at the garden centre over the spring/summer months.
They are a zone 7 (Prince George is zone 3) so can handle a couple of degrees of frost but are not hardy for our area and need to be brought indoors over the winter months.
Ideally, when bringing them indoors (pot with plant) place them in a sunroom or porch, where temperatures remain cooler as this will be easier an easier transition for them.
When placing them outdoors for the summer (early May, depending on temperatures), do it gradually so that the plant can acclimatize to the weather. Put it outdoors during the day and bring it in at night for the first few days before leaving it outside all the time.
To maintain its dwarf habit or shape and promote new growth trim the tips of the plant periodically. When it outgrows its container, transplant it into a container one size larger than the one it is currently in. Use a good quality indoor potting mix with good drainage. The best time of year to transplant plants is in the spring.
These attractive plants make great gifts, but don’t forget to keep one for yourself!
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
Highway 16 west at Kimball Road
Highway 97 north at Northwood Pulpmill Road