A small genus of some 7 species and hundreds of garden cultivars. This is not to be confused with the other group also known as cypresses: Cupressus. Like the Cupressus these can grow into large trees, which are far too big for the average garden. However in this genus there are very many cultivars that have been especially bred for the small garden and there are many delightful shrubs and small trees to choose from. Their shapes range from conical and pillar to rounded and spherical for some of the small varieties.
The colour and shape of the foliage also varies considerably, giving the gardener a good choice of plants. The foliage spans deep greens and blues as well as bright gold and bronze. There are also variegated varieties available.
In the past C. lawsoniana (Lawson’s cypress) has been used as hedging, but unless kept regularly trimmed it can get very tall and cause problems for neighbours with loss of light and removal of moisture from the soil, and so is no longer recommended. If you do use it keep it trimmed, but do not cut back into old wood as this will not regenerate. It will grow in any fertile, well-drained soil.