How To Grow Carolina Sapphire Cypress

Nothing comes close to the Carolina Sapphire Cypress for a fast-growing evergreen tree. Compared to the Thuja Green Giant, the Carolina Sapphire Cypress grows wider quicker. It is also a better choice to grow in the heat of the South.

The tree is drought tolerant and establishes quickly. It also performs better in marginal soil.

Plant Name: Cupressus arizonica ‘Carolina Sapphire’, Carolina Sapphire Arizona Cypress

Other Name: Carolina Sapphire Cypress

Plant Type: Evergreen Tree

Native Areas: Cultivar from the Arizona Cypress

Light Requirement: Full sun

Watering: Moderate

Fertilizer: Tree-type fertilizer

Toxicity: Not registered as toxic

Temperature: Dry conditions

Propagation: Cuttings

Growth: Mature height of 12 to 40 feet tall and a mature width of 15-20 feet wide

Soil Type: Sandy Soil

USDA Hardiness Zones: 7-11

More About Carolina Sapphire Cypress

beautiful foliage of carolina sapphire cypress

The Cupressus arizonica “Carolina Sapphire,” better known as the Carolina Sapphire Cypress, is a fast-growing tree. The tree can reach up to 12 feet tall in a few years and adapt well to different soils.

It remains a common conifer choice to grow as a Christmas tree or along boundaries. You can use it as a wind barrier or grow it as a specimen tree. The striking upright contrast adds interest to the landscape.

The fascinating thing is that researchers at Clemson University discovered the tree. They stumbled onto a group of Arizona Cypress trees and started to develop them. The Carolina Sapphire Cypress tree is a specific version related to the Arizona Cypress.

Yet, planting seeds from the Arizona Cypress might not produce the actual tree that is true to the parent. Hence, it would be best if you cloned it using vegetative reproduction. The tree has silver-blue foliage that changes to a sun foliage color.

Carolina Sapphire Cypress Care

The Carolina Sapphire Cypress trees are trouble-free to grow as a well-balanced shrub. It can thrive with sun exposure and different soil conditions. You can grow them as a privacy fence or as a specimen tree to become the focal point in your garden. The silvery blue foliage stands out year-round.

Planting The Evergreen Tree

When you receive your Carolina Sapphire Cypress, never plant them deeper than the container you received them in. When you plant them too deep, it can result in the root system rotting. You can also stake your tree to prevent wind from blowing them over.

We recommend spacing up to seven feet between the trees when planted as a wind barrier. After planting your trees, add some mulch around the surrounding soil to help retain water. Young trees will need more watering in the first year to become established.

The Best Soil For Carolina Sapphire Arizona Cypress Trees

well-draining soil for carolina sapphire cypress

The important thing is to provide your Carolina Sapphire Cypress trees with well-drained soil. It can grow in poor stony soils, even sand and clay.

Lighting Conditions For Carolina Sapphire Arizona Cypress

The Carolina Sapphire Cypress trees prefer growing in full sun, but in warmer areas with very high temperatures, you can provide your plant with some partial shade.

Watering Your Drought-Tolerant Tree

watering for carolina sapphire cypress

After planting and backfilling the ground with a 50/50 mix of the existing environment with compost, give your plant a deep watering. At first, most of the water will run away until it is soaked.

Counting to five for every one-gallon pot size is a great way to determine how to water. So for a one-gallon pot, count to five; for a three-gallon container, you give three counts of five.

Also, check your plant daily to see if the ground is moist. It helps to use soaker hoses to water your trees when grown for privacy screening.

Temperature and Humidity

As the Carolina Sapphire Cypress comes from the Arizona Cypress, it prefers dry conditions but is more prone to disease in high-humidity regions.

Fertilizing Your Carolina Sapphire Cypress Trees

compost for carolina sapphire cypress

For the best results in growing your tree, we recommend using a bio-tone starter fertilizer or compost to backfill with the soil and water.

The fertilizer will help stimulate the new root ball growth. Hence, your new plants will be established faster.

In early spring, you can use a slow-release feed as it prevents fertilizer burn on the roots.

Pruning Your Carolina Sapphire Cypress Trees

When using your Carolina Sapphire Cypress as a formal hedge, it will need pruning. You can prune your shrub when it reaches four inches tall. Do this by cutting the sides and removing not more than four inches of growth.

It will allow for thicker new growth, but if you want your shrub to grow with an upright form, never cut the top leader and only shape the sides. Instead, we recommend pruning after new growth completes and matures.

You can prune your Carolina Sapphire Cypress twice a year, but only if needed, and to control the tree’s height, you can cut the central leader and shear the outside branches. Alternatively, you can remove damaged and diseased limbs at any time.

Propagation of Carolina Sapphire

The best way to propagate your Carolina Sapphire is through root cuttings. You can do this by taking semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings.

Also, ensure you take your cutting from a healthy young tree as they produce the best offspring.

Ensure to take up to five cuttings for the best results. Another notable thing is if you need to transport the cuttings, place them on ice but not longer than a day or two.

  1. Take a few cuttings from a young tree. For semi-hardwood cuttings, cut the end of the branches about six inches long in late summer or early fall-for hardwood cuttings, you can take up to 12 inches of an established stem in winter.

  2. Take your cutting below the budding area and strip away from the bottom about three inches of the needles. Place the cut ends in a rooting hormone.

  3. Prepare some pots filled with 50/50 peat and perlite. Moisten the potting medium and stick the bottom 1 ½ inches of the cutting into the potting medium.

  4. Place the pots in a warm spot with bright indirect sunlight.

  5. Check your cuttings daily to keep the potting medium moist but not waterlogged. The semi-hardwood cuttings should take a few weeks to root compared to hardwood cuttings, which can take a few months.

  6. Once you notice the roots coming through the drainage holes, you can repot them to provide them with more space and transplant them to the garden in spring in full sun with a slightly acidic potting mix.

Carolina Sapphire Cypress Varieties

You can grow several cypress varieties in your garden, similar to the Carolina Sapphire. Here are some of our favorites:

Bald Cypress

bald cypress


The mature bald cypress is hollow with a top that flattens out. These trees are monoecious, the wood is rot-resistant, and they grow well in USDA zones 4 to 10. During fall, the leaves turn red-brown and bloom unisexual flowers with round female and elongated male cones.

Monterrey Cypress

monterrey cypress

The Monterrey cypress you find native to California can grow 36 inches a year. When crushed, the tree can bloom yellow male flowers, and the green leaves have a citrus scent.

Pond Cypress

pond cypress

The pond cypress tree is smaller than the bald cypress and can grow inside or outside water. The tree blooms tassel-like flowers with winding yet scaly leaves.

Carolina Sapphire Cypress Common Diseases and Pests

Luckily, the Carolina Sapphire Cypress is not bothered by many insects. Yet, some bagworms may be the worst pest on your young trees. You can remove them by hand. For larger trees, you can use a spray.

Another common pest is a scale resembling crusty flakes covering the branches and needles. These insects feed on the sap of the foliage resulting in yellowing of the leaves. Then you have spider mites that feed on the sap of the foliage turning it yellow and brown.

You can control spider mites with a miticide. The other big concern is root rot caused by overwatering and not providing your trees with well-drained soil.

Common Problems With Carolina Sapphire Arizona Cypress

  • Galls can form when fungi invade your Carolina Sapphire Cypress and cause witches’ brooms rusts are not problematic except when it rains a lot.

  • Looking out for Phomopsis blight turning new growth yellow and brown would be best. Finally, ensure your plant has enough drainage, as too much moisture can worsen it.

  • Then you have stem cankers, which can be pruned out when noticed.

Frequently Asked Questions

The lifespan of the cypress is from 10 to 25, but some species can get older by up to 100 years.

Most cypresses are drought-tolerant and insect resistant, and it has valuable wood. Yet, it does have slow growth, and the price for cypress lumber is high.

People have used cypress in traditional remedies for years to treat pain to inflammation. In addition, they use it for headaches, skin conditions, coughs, and colds.

The Carolina Sapphire Cypress can grow in light shade but prefers standing in full sun.

The good news is that you can buy the Carolina Sapphire Cypress at a local nursery or with Plantly online. With us, you get the convenience of having your plant delivered to your door.

Whether you want to buy, sell, or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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