How to Grow Lemon Cypress Trees Outdoors And Inside

The lemon cypress tree is a cultivar of Monterey cypress that goes by the name Goldcrest.

The intense lemon aroma released by brushing against or crushing its foliage is the source of the plant’s common name.

Lemon cypress trees (Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’) can be started either indoors or outdoors.

If you follow a few simple guidelines, caring for a lemon cypress should be a breeze.

Lemon Cypress Trees

It’s possible to find lemon cypress trees in two distinct sizes: tiny and even smaller.

If allowed to flourish in their native environment, these trees have the potential to reach a height of 16 feet (5 meters).

In comparison to other cypresses, this one is relatively diminutive.

A better option for an indoor plant is the dwarf lemon cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest Wilma’).

The average height of this dwarf tree is just 3 feet (91 cm), making it ideal for growing in miniature landscapes or decorative pots.

The tree is well-liked because of its brilliant citrusy fragrance, conical shape, and attractive green-yellow needle-like foliage.

Those interested in cultivating lemon cypress should familiarise themselves with the plant’s basic requirements.

Lemon Cypress Care Outdoors

The lemon cypress tree is a relatively simple plant to nurture.

The trees need soil that drains well, yet they can survive in either loamy, sandy, or calcareous conditions.

Also, they are not picky about the soil pH and will grow in either acidic, neutral, or alkaline conditions.

Outdoor maintenance for lemon cypress is something you should research if you plan on planting any of these trees in your backyard.

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USDA plant hardiness zones 7 through 10 are ideal for them.

You must choose a sunny location for your outside tree because lemon cypress trees cannot tolerate shadow.

Watering is crucial, especially right after planting.

If you want to have a healthy tree the first year, you need to water it twice a week. Lemon cypresses outside always need to be watered.

When the soil gets dry after the first year, water.

The best time to water and fertilize a tree is in the spring.

Before the first signs of spring growth occur, use a regular, slow-release 20-20-20 fertilizer.

Lemon Cypress Houseplant Care

Keep in mind that lemon cypress trees, if grown as houseplants, require relatively chilly conditions.

You should maintain a temperature of about 15 to 16 degrees Celsius (low 60s F) in your home through winter.

Providing enough light for your lemon cypress houseplant may be the hardest part of caring for your plant.

It’s best to place the container in a well-lit window and rotate it so that all sides get some sun.

Six to eight hours of sunlight every day is needed for the houseplant.

The upkeep of a lemon cypress houseplant requires constant attention and watering.

You’ll see brown needles appear if you don’t water them once a week. When the soil is dry, water it.


The slow-growing, erect form of the tree as nature intended is striking.

Only when the lemon cypress is being maintained as a hedge, bonsai, or topiary does it require frequent pruning.

Doing so with due care and speed is essential in such circumstances.

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Hard trimming is not recommended for this shrub since, like other conifers, it will not recover.


If you want to start a new lemon cypress tree from a cutting, winter is the optimum time to do so. Follow these steps to complete the task:

Slice off a 4-inch-long section of the stem using a sharp knife.

Remove the lower leaves from the stem, leaving the lowest two inches bare.

The rooting hormone should be dipped into water and applied to the cut end.

Prepare a container with wet, well-drained potting soil. Put the slice in a hole you made with a pencil in the soil mixture.

Keep the plastic bag over the pot by propping it with sticks. Keep the plastic away from the blade.

Keep the container out of direct sunlight but at a comfortable temperature.

The plant should be watered as needed to maintain a consistent moisture level.

You’ll know the cutting has a strong root system when you can give it a gentle tug and it doesn’t budge.

At this point, you may either let the sapling continue growing in the pot and transfer it to a sunny spot, or you can transplant it outside.

Growing from Seeds

Propagating Monterey cypress from seed is not recommended because it does not result in a plant with the same characteristics as the parent.

Potting and Repotting

A pot with big drain holes is recommended for the lemon cypress because of the plant’s need for good drainage.

If you’re using terracotta pots, remember that they dry out more quickly than other types of containers, so you’ll need to adapt your watering schedule appropriately.

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The lemon cypress should be repotted every three to four years if kept in a container.

It should be repotted into a container at least one inch wider all around, and then the previous pot should be backfilled with new potting soil.

While repotting, prune the roots sparingly to limit the plant’s expansion.


The tree needs protection from the harsh winter winds even if it is grown in a climate where it may be cultivated outdoors.

In colder regions than USDA zone 7, lemon cypress should be kept in a container and brought indoors for the winter.

Moisture retention over the winter is crucial, and it will be especially challenging if a heater is being used or windows are closed.

Humidifiers or misting systems can be used to increase the relative humidity in a space.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Aphids, mealybugs, caterpillars, and scale insects are common pests of Monterey cypress.

These are easily managed using insecticidal soap and typically don’t have a significant impact on the tree’s health.

Coryneum canker is a fatal fungus that attacks trees and poses a far greater threat.

You can help contain the spread by cutting off and throwing away affected branches as soon as possible1.

Common Problems

The snipped ends of a lemon Cyprus in a pot may turn brown after being clipped.

It’s quite normal, and the new, bushy growth should cover up the brown spots by then.

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