Juniper vs Italian Cypress - Knowledgebase Question

Rialto, Ca
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Question by maryjbrown
September 27, 2009
What should I consider when choosing to plant either a Juniper or Italian cypress? I am planting 2 of them to frame a window in front of my home.

Answer from NGA
September 27, 2009
Photo by Zencat
The ultimate or mature size should be your first consideration. You probably want an upright, columnar plant to frame the window and you won't want it to grow so wide it will obstruct the view. If you choose something that will max out in the space you can provide, you won't need to worry about pruning or trimming as the shrub matures. Some to consider include:

Chinese Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point') is a very hardy, fast growing upright juniper with a very pyramidal, columnar growth habit. Withstands drought & windy conditions better than most upright junipers. Good choice for privacy borders, wind screens, as well as accent & group plantings. Retains excellent color through the winter - very minimal bronzing. Prefers slightly acidic, well drained soil. Full sun to part shade. Grows 10-14 feet high with a spread of 4-5 feet.

Hetz's Green Columnar Juniper (Juniperus virginiana 'Hetzii Columnaris'), a very large, upright juniper cultivar with a very rigid, prickly feel to it. The foliage is a nice gray/green color - more green with a hint of gray to it. Commonly used as a privacy screen or windbreak. Heavy fruit/cone/berry producer, and has very aromatic foliage when rubbed or crushed. Enjoys full to part sun, and withstands a variety of harsh conditions. Height: 10-15 ft, Spread: 5-8 ft.

Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum 'Moonglow'), a dense conical pyramidal juniper with intense bluish-gray-green foliage. Color so intense it almost glows - one of our favorites!!! Excellent as an accent plant, or planted as a screen or fence border. Holds good color through the winter with very, very minimal bronzing. Height: 10-15 ft, Spread: 3-5 feet.

Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum 'Skyrocket'), has a tall and extremely narrow, columnar growth habit. Its short, compact, silvery blue foliage is evergreenwith virtually no change from season to season. It's a very striking, dramatic plant when used as a cluster planting against a large fence or building or in formal plantings. The tallest, narrowest juniper out there. Beautifully elegant for use around large entryways, gates, or even just to hide that old gutter downspout. Height: 15-20 ft., Spread: 2-3 ft.

Cupressus sempervirens 'Stricta', a very tall, slender columnar cypress with a deep dark green color giving this particular cypress a very "elegant" look. We have chosen the 'Stricta' variety of Italian Cypress for its extremely tall, narrow growth habit, as well as for its increased cold hardiness when compared to many other strains of Italian Cypress. Widely used in landscapes with Mediterranean themes, and commonly seen growing in wild, native stands in Italy. Dark, deep green color has just a hint of blue to it. Height : 20-30 ft, spread only 2-3 feet.

Best wishes with your new shrubs.

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