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Bringing Seasonal Evergreens Inside for the Holidays

There are several live winter-hardy plants that can be used on a temporary basis as indoor Christmas decorations.  This time of year, in addition to rosemary topiaries and little pots of green or variegated holly, you can find cute little dwarf conifers—Lemon Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’) and Lawson Cypress or “European Christmas Tree” (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Ellwoodii’).

To keep these outdoor plants happy while indoors, give them very bright indirect light to direct morning sun.  Keep the soil evenly moist but not saturated, and make sure the roots do not stand in water.  Cooler temperatures are essential and increased humidity will help as well.  A small 4” pot will demand constant attention, so you might repot into a 5” or 6” container as a temporary measure (check the original root ball for water needs).  Set the plant outside for the day when temperatures are above freezing.  Finally, transplant the tree outside after frost, or perhaps move it into an unheated garage with a window or other good light source until spring.
The Lemon Cypress has beautiful bright golden-yellow foliage that emits a lemon scent when brushed or bruised.  Listed for USDA hardiness zones 7 through 10, it can be used as a container plant in a sheltered spot or planted out as a specimen in the garden.  Growing to 6-8 feet in height, prune the ‘Goldcrest’ lightly as needed to maintain its shape.

Lawson Cypress is hardy in zones 5b through 7.  It is slow-growing, reaching 6-10 feet in height in a dense conical habit.  Pruning is only required to remove dead branches. 
Posted: 12/22/2014 by Margot | with 0 comment(s)
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