Icy-blue foliage on a conical shape
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Common name: Blue Pyramid cypress
Latin name: Cupressus arizonica ‘Blue Pyramid’
Plant type: Dwarf conifer
USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-9
Cultural needs: Average-to-poor well-drained soil; sun or light shade
Plant size: Fast growing to 20′ in 10 years but easily pruned annually to stay under 3′
Blue Pyramids are just that: icy-blue foliage on conical conifers, twice as tall as they are wide. Its close relative, C.a. ‘Blue Ice’, is especially silvery blue. The evergreen, needly foliage on both plants is covered with a waxy bloom that enhances the blue color. The species name, C. arizonica, gives us a clue as to the copious amount of sun it prefers; branches stretch and weaken if grown in too much shade. Having grown these cypresses for more than 10 years in garden railways, I find they are easily pruned if one keeps up with the annual cutting back of the apex and branch tips (see photos). If it gets too tall, cut back the trunk and tie up a side branch for a new leader to the stump of the trunk, removing the twist-tie after it remains upright. This cypress foliage, when pruned, emits a strongly aromatic, woodsy smell that I like. However, others think it smells like skunk, so don’t plant it under your window if you’re in the latter group. Irrigate often during the first two years after planting, but mulch with about 3″ of humus around the trunk, keeping mulch away from the trunk by several inches to avoid rodent damage. Thereafter, water deeply only during dry periods.