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Cupressus sempervirens 'Glauca': 'Glauca' Italian Cypress

Edward F. Gilman, Dennis G. Watson, Ryan W. Klein, and Deborah R. Hilbert


With its narrow columnar habit of growth, this evergreen forms tall, dark green columns 25 to 40 feet in height but are often shorter in the east. 'Glauca' has blue-green foliage and tight columnar form. Trees are normally no more than 3 feet wide. The scale-like leaves lend a very fine texture to any setting. Planted three feet apart, they make a dense screen. Italian cypress is often used for framing, as a strong accent around large buildings, or in the formal landscape but does not lend itself well to many home landscapes. It quickly grows much too tall for most residential landscapes, looking much like a green telephone pole.

Figure 1. Middle-aged Cupressus sempervirens 'Glauca': 'Glauca' Italian Cypress
Figure 1.  Middle-aged Cupressus sempervirens 'Glauca': 'Glauca' Italian cypress.


General Information

Scientific name: Cupressus sempervirens

Pronunciation: koo-PRESS-us sem-per-VYE-renz

Common name(s): 'Glauca' Italian cypress

Family: Cupressaceae

USDA hardiness zones: 7A–10A  (Figure 2)

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: little invasive potential

Uses: screen

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range



Height: 25 to 40 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Crown uniformity: symmetrical

Crown shape: columnar

Crown density: dense

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: whorled

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: scale-like

Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches

Leaf color: green, blue or blue-green

Fall color: no color change

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: unknown

Flower characteristics: not showy


Fruit shape: oval

Fruit length: 0.5 to 1 inch

Fruit covering: dry or hard

Fruit color: brown

Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns

Pruning requirement: little required

Breakage: resistant

Current year twig color: brown, gray

Current year twig thickness: thin

Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun

Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; acidic; alkaline; well-drained

Drought tolerance: high

Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


Roots: not a problem

Winter interest: no

Outstanding tree: no

Ozone sensitivity: unknown

Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant

Pest resistance: sensitive to pests/diseases

Use and Management

Growing in full sun on various well-drained soils, Italian cypress should be planted in a well-prepared site and watered periodically until well-established. Italian cypress should not be pruned. It is very susceptible to mites and trees are often infested.

Many cultivars are available: 'Stricta'—very popular; 'Horizontalis'—horizontally-spreading branches.

Propagation is by cuttings or layering.


Bagworms are occasionally a problem for Italian cypress. Mites are often a problem.


Root rot can be a problem for Italian cypress in poorly-drained soil. Canker has killed many trees in California.

Publication #ENH385

Release Date:February 28, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Southern Trees Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: Agricultural and Food Systems
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is ENH385, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised January 2024. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Deborah R. Hilbert, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; Department of Environmental Horticulture; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Michael Andreu
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