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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - September 29, 2009

From: Eagan, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Shrubs
Title: Wintering a Lemon Cypress tree in Eagan MN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I Have a 2 1/2' Lemon Cypress Tree. I'm wondering if I can leave it outdoors for the winter, if not, how would I winter over indoors?

ANSWER:

We just had a similar question from Michigan, so we're just going to quote ourselves, with changes as appropriate:

Lemon cypress is a cultivar of  Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) called 'Goldcrest.' According to this USDA Plant Profile, the parent plant is endemic to California, growing nowhere else naturally but the Monterey Peninsula of California. The Growing Conditions of this parent plant are:

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Tremendously susceptible to a canker that kills the tree, especially if it is planted away from cool, coastal breezes. Tolerant of salt spray. Older trees are drought-tolerant.

In searching further for information on the cultivar, we learned that it is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 9, or can be grown indoors in a cool, sunny window. However, since it grows in an upright, conical shape with good yellow foliage and can get to be 30 ft. tall, you would need a pretty big house for that. Dakota County, Minnesota is in Zone 4b, with an average annual minimum temperature of -30 to -25 deg. F. Unless you have a greenhouse for wintering this plant over, or want to preserve it in a sunny indoor space, putting it out in the summer, we don't see how you can leave it outside in the winter.

From another previous answer, here is information on caring for the Lemon Cypress indoors:

"You can read more about the tree from Plants for a Future, Floridata.com and from the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Here are some intructions for outdoor care from ShootGardening and you can find care instructions for indoor Cupressus macrocarpa at indoor-plant-care.com and from the TopiaryShop

Pictures of lemon cypress from Google.

 

 

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