All About Arizona Cypress

Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica) could possibly be the perfect evergreen conifer for central Texas. It’s silvery blue-green foliage is striking. Arizona cypress is very hardy to the area, and it grows at a very fast rate. And to top it off, there are no common pests. If you are looking for a hardy tree with a striking aesthetic, look no further!

arizona cypress

Arizona Cypress Traits

I have 5 Arizona cypress trees in my yard if that tells you anything about how much I like them. Here’s why I like Arizona cypress so much:

  1. Very hardy to many growing conditions: heavy clays, rocky and thin, sloped; they’ll grow pretty much anywhere in the Austin area. The one thing they do need is drainage so don’t confuse them with bald cypress that will grow in constantly wet conditions.
  2. Very few pests. I’ve read elsewhere that they are susceptible to stem cankers and mites, but I’ve never experienced those pests at my house or in my field work.
  3. Very fast growing. They’ll typically grow 3-4′ per year once established. They usually establish in less than a year.
  4. The color of the foliage is very unique. The silvery blue-grey foliage really stands out against a green backdrop.

Arizona Cypress Varieties

Arizona cypress really aren’t that common in nature. From what I’ve read, they only occur naturally on a few mountain slopes in isolated areas in the southwest US and northern central Mexico. Where they do occur, Arizona cypress don’t dominate mountain sides like other mountainous trees do. Groupings of them are few and scattered. From what I’ve read and pictures I’ve seen, each area Arizona cypress occur naturally, they have slightly different growth forms. However, there are only two varieties commonly found in local nurseries: Carolina sapphire and blue ice.

Carolina Sapphire Arizona Cypress

carolina sapphire arizona cypress

The Carolina sapphire cultivar is probably the most common. This variety grows to a maximum height of 50’+ on sites where there is ample soil and water, and up to 30′ tall on rocky slopes. Carolina sapphire Arizona cypress has more of a blue-green tone color to the foliage compared to the more striking silvery blue color of the blue ice.

Blue Ice Arizona Cypress

blue ice arizona cypress

The color of blue ice Arizona cypress is simply striking. The mature height of this cultivar is slightly smaller, reaching a mature height of approximately 20′. This size makes blue ice particularly effective as a privacy barrier tree. Larger specimens can be difficult to find, however that isn’t much of an issue considering how fast they grow.