How to Care for False Cypress

It isn't difficult to take care of false cypress. However, there are some important things to keep in mind. Learn the best tips here.
How to Care for False Cypress

Last update: 09 November, 2023

In the beginning, this plant may be difficult to care for, but once rooted, false cypress is pretty easy to look after. This doesn’t mean that you can neglect the shrub, but rather that you can lower the rigorous care it demands when it’s first growing.

In general, these trees are sun-loving, tolerate the cold, defend themselves in drought, and like somewhat acidic soils. In this article, we’ll explain how to provide the ideal conditions for them to thrive. Before that, let’s take a closer at the characteristics of this plant.

Is there a false cypress? What does this tree look like?

Yes, there is a “false” cypress, and it belongs to the genus Chamaecyparis. This is a shrub with evergreen and textured leaves, which can be found in tall and dwarf forms. The latter is used for hedges.

The foliage is similar to cedar; its color ranges from green, yellow, and blue-green to grayish-green. The bark is a deep brown.

In size, they range from 2 to 20 meters; height is determined by the variety. They’re popular for decorating patios at Christmas.

This tree resembles the cypress – hence its common name. These conifers have earned a place among the ornamental plants, so it’s common to see them in parks and home gardens.

We think you may also enjoy reading this article: Learn 5 Benefits of Gardening for Your Mental and Emotional Health

Care guide for false cypress

There are more than 70 kinds of false cypress, so a variety of sizes and shapes is common in these shrubs. There are pyramidal, dwarf, oval, and globular, just to mention a few.

In all cases, they need a series of care to preserve their volume and splendor. To this end, we’ll share a simple guide regarding what the plant requires.


The luxuriance of this shrub responds largely to its exposure to the sun. If you plan to plant a false cypress in your yard or garden, it’s necessary to place it in full light or partial shade, especially when it’s the golden variety.

There is some research on this topic. The magazine Forestry Science and Technology reviewed in a study which light and fertilization conditions provide the highest quality. It was established that up to a maximum of 35% shade is acceptable to achieve optimal growth of the specimen, but it is ideal to provide full light.

Protect them from strong winds

Although the false cypress resists low temperatures and strong winds, it’s possible that these environmental conditions can burn its foliage, especially when they’re young shrubs. The recommendation to avoid damage is to insulate it with mulch on the ground and a burlap wall around it.

Plant and transplant in pots with caution

You can grow false cypress in a container, but remember that some of these shrubs grow up to 20 meters. Make sure it is a dwarf variety (those that grow to 2 meters) before choosing small containers.

When it’s time to plant, select a container that gives the tree enough room to grow. If you’re transplanting the specimen, use the technique of tilting the container to one side; gently remove the cypress and take it to the new pot. The latter must be prepared with nourished and drained soil.

Ensure good soil

The Missouri Botanical Garden notes that the false cypress grows well in average, well-drained soils with medium moisture. However, their favorites are moist soils.

The substrate needs to be rich. You get it by adding fertilizer and mixing gravel, sand, and soil, as this favors drainage and there would be no waterlogging.

Water them as necessary

In order for these plants to prosper, make sure to provide deep hydration. This helps it to root strongly. As the years go by, it will no longer be so thirsty; then, perform moderate watering to dry seasons.

Watch out for fungi

One of the diseases that could attack this tree is the “cypress canker”. The Guide to Integrated Pest Management of Conifers explains that this infection is caused by a pathogenic fungus that is lethal to the cypress family.

Its effect is the deformation of the trunk until it kills the plant. Seasons of higher humidity, such as the fall and spring, are when these parasites tend to affect them more.

The care required by the false cypress in these areas is limited to the supply of plant matter, such as maritime pine bark. This mulch, surrounding the foot of the tree, is useful in preventing injuries. Some studies, such as the one published in the journal Forests, outline the antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties of pine against certain types of fungi.

Like this article? You may also like to read: 10 Essential Tools to Take Care of Your Garden During Springtime

Bonus fact: Caring for false cypress to thrive from seeds or cuttings

If you prefer to plant this tree from scratch and not buy a plant in the nursery, pay attention to this section. The Autonomous University of Hidalgo recommends that false cypress be transplanted between April and May, provided that the procedure is by cuttings. However, this method begins its preparation in autumn.

It’s during these dates that you must cut a piece of wood from the tree, about 4 inches long. Clean the foliage, wet one end with water, and moisten it with rooting hormone.

The next step is to plant it in moist, drained soil, cover it with a plastic bag, and leave the plant in the sun until it takes root. When it does, check to see if the roots show resistance when you pull the cutting. This way, you will know that the procedure worked.

If the sowing is by seeds, soak them for a whole day in a jar with water. Take only the ones that sink to the bottom, wrap them in a paper towel, and store them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.

It will take 2 months before you can plant them in prepared soil. The seedlings take a year to sprout and during this time they need half shade; after this time, you can start to get them used to the heat.

Planting false cypress requires patience; this isn’t a plant that grows in a short time.

The secret to caring for false cypress

The key to caring for a false cypress plant lies in perennial maintenance. They don’t require specific pruning, but occasional trimming is a good idea for shaping and height control.

A couple of times a year pruning is enough. You can do this in any season, except tip cutting, which is recommended in autumn or spring.

The rest corresponds to the usual cleaning, such as removing dry foliage, opening the branches to see if there are damaged pieces inside, providing water, and keeping the soil clean and nourished. So, what are you waiting for? Get gardening!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.