Barry's Silver Lawson CypressChamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Barry's Silver'
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Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Barry's Silver'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Barry’s Silver Lawson Cypress is a compact, neat conical evergreen, growing to around 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide in 10 years. it has brilliant silver-white new growth in spring, and aqua-green older leaves, creating a sparkling two-tone effect. This bright tree makes a wonderful specimen, in a bed or in planter boxes, and it looks perfect around your home, or mixed with other evergreens in a bed. It is easily grown, always neat and a great garden asset.
Grow Barry’s Silver Lawson Cypress in full sun for the strongest silver, but it will grow well in light partial shade as well. It is more resistant of hotter weather than many other forms of the Lawson cypress, and it grows well in any well-drained soil. It has moderate drought resistance, and pests and diseases are normally not problems. It resists salt spray, and can be trimmed, but its natural neat form makes that optional.
We all know how useful and important colored foliage is in the garden, yet the color which does more to tie your beds together, and looks great with every other plant, is not really a color at all – it is silver. Silver foliage always looks stunning and transforms ‘good’ planting into ‘great’ planting. It is especially useful in full sun, as it never looks faded or yellow, and no matter what colors the plants around it are, it contrasts perfectly. When it comes to silver evergreens, Barry’s Silver Lawson Cypress is outstanding, with wonderful color and a conical form that is valuable in many parts of your garden.
Barry’s Silver Lawson Cypress develops steadily into a neat, upright cone that will be around 5 feet tall after ten years, and just 3 feet across at its base. The spring foliage grows out almost pure white, and slowly becomes sea-green, so that a plant has a green interior frosted with silver. The foliage is juvenile, that is, small needles, rather than the flat scales seen on wild trees of the Lawson cypress. The white frosting is most effective in spring and early summer, but even in winter, when the blue-green predominates, that lush color makes the plant just as striking. The bi-color effective is charming, and this plant always attracts attention. This plant will continue to grow slowly its whole life, so it will in time become significantly bigger, although it can easily be trimmed to control its size.
There are many uses for Barry’s Silver Lawson Cypress around the garden. Plant a pair to frame a doorway or entrance, in the ground or in matching planters or pots. Plant a row along a fence, to mark the division with your neighbors, or as an internal barrier in your garden to separate one area from another. It is a great container plant, alone or with trailing plants beneath it, and if you plant below with annuals, it doesn’t matter what colors you use each year – they will all look just terrific. This plant is a prime candidate for a low-maintenance bed of conifers and other sun-loving plants. Choose varieties in a range of foliage colors and shapes, from needle-like to ground-hugging. Place some attractive boulders among them, and mulch with gravel. These beds look great 12 months of the year, and they get better and better as they age. Allow enough room when planting for each plant to reach its full size without crowding.
Full sun will develop the best white foliage coloring, although this plant, unlike most other conifer evergreens, will tolerate a little shade. It needs well-drained soil and once established it is moderately drought resistant, but it does not tolerate intense heat and dryness. Lawson cypress is prone to problems when grown above zone 7, but this particular variety has performed well even in zone 8, and has some disease resistance, but the soil must be well-drained. It grows easily and well in cooler zones, and it is perfect for gardeners in zones 5 and 6. It is normally free of pests, and it asks very little from you, but delivers a lot. Trimming is strictly optional, as this plant is very uniform in shape, and always looks perfect. If you do trim, it should be done either in early spring, before new growth begins, or in late summer, after the foliage has lost some of its white color. It is moderately salt-resistant, and it can be planted in a coastal garden. If planting in a container, use a well-drained soil designed for outdoor trees or succulent plants, and make sure your container has drainage holes. Don’t stand it in a tray of water and only water when the upper couple of inches are dry.
Barry’s Silver Lawson Cypress is a selected variety of the Lawson cypress, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana. Found growing wild in Oregon and north-west California, this tree grows on the coast, and along streams up valleys to an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea-level. These are among the tallest trees in America, reaching heights of 200 feet, with towering straight trunks. The 19th century was a time when plants were being brought back from around the world to nurseries in England and Europe. Many North American plants were still not well-known, and a Scottish nursery, Lawson & Son, sent collectors to Oregon. There, near Port Orford, they found a tree that became known as the Lawson Cypress, after the nursery. It is also sometimes called the Port Orford Cypress.
The tree was distributed around the world, and numerous special, smaller garden forms were developed. Among them is a variety called ‘Silver Queen’, which was probably discovered in England in the late 19th century. This is a taller, conical form, with some silvery tips on the new spring growth. New Zealand has a very good climate for growing Lawson Cypress, and several new varieties have been found there. Around 1990, Roly Barry, who owns the South Taranaki nurseries in Hawera, New Zealand, found a branch on a plant of ‘Silver Queen’, which had much stronger silver coloring. When he grew it on its own roots, he found it was a more compact, very neat form, with excellent coloring. It became known as ‘Barry’s Silver’, and we have some top-quality specimens of this terrific plant. Many of our clients love collecting evergreens with colorful foliage, and we know this plant will soon be gone. Order now, while stocks last.