Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - June 10, 2009

From: dyer, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Evergreen ornamental tree choice in northern Indiana
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

Can you please advise on growing Lemon Cypress trees outdoors in zones 5/6 zip code 46311

ANSWER:

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, our mission is to disseminate information about native plants and encourage people to make good use of them in their native ranges. Here is what I have gleaned about Lemon Cypress....

Lemon Cypress is a cultivar of the California species Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) which is native to a very small area around Monterey Bay. Its natural setting is zone 9-10, low rainfall (@ 20 inches), cool summers and mild winters - basically a maritime climate. It prefers well-drained soil. According to BackyardGardener.com the yellow-needled varieties are best suited for regions with cool summers. It is susceptible to a fatal canker when in less-than-optimum settings.  Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) has been successfully used in New Zealand, Australia, West Africa and the Mediterranean. It doesn't sound like the best outdoor plant for your region.

If you are looking for a landscape tree, have you considered putting in a native tree? There is a member of the Cupressus family native to your area – Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae). This Iowa State Arborvitae cultivars list has several gold-foliaged Arborvitae cultivars of varying height and shape habits. Native species are already adapted to your growing conditions, which increases the chances that they'll thrive in your landscape.

 

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae) image from USDA Plants (image courtesy of ND State Soil Conservation Committee)

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae) image from USDA Plants (image courtesy of National Agricultural Library)

Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) image from USDA Plants (image courtesy of Gary A. Monroe @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)

 

More Trees Questions

Thoughts on non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
January 01, 2014 - I would like to know your thoughts on growing Italian Cypress trees in Austin Texas? We are looking to create a privacy screen(and prepared to pay more for mature trees to cut down the wait to grow...
view the full question and answer

Probably non-native crapemyrtle trees damaged by hurricane
January 15, 2009 - I have 5 crape myrtle trees. I live in Galveston, Tx and when Hurricane Ike came through in September the salt water I think killed them. They have not come back since then and are brown with no leave...
view the full question and answer

Native plants of Taos and Los Alamos NM from Houston
April 07, 2012 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, can you recommend a guidebook for the native plants of the Taos/Los Alamos region? (I'm most interested in forbs.) I'll be headed there in May--is there anything I should es...
view the full question and answer

Mystery tree with yellow fruit in MN
November 12, 2012 - There is a tree at my workplace, about 8' tall, with small, pea-sized yellow berries right now (Oct. 2012). The berries are attractive to Cedar Waxwings, and the tree has small leaves that are simple...
view the full question and answer

How close to a female tree will a male Possumhaw Holly need to be planted to ensure pollination in Plano, TX?
April 01, 2010 - I would like to plant a female Possumhaw Holly in my yard. Does a male need to be planted nearby in order for the female to have berries? If so, how close must the male tree be located?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.