Blue Steel™ Arizona CypressCupressus arizonica var. glabra 'Midlothian BB'
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Cupressus arizonica var. glabra 'Midlothian BB'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Blue Steel™ Arizona Cypress is an upright conical evergreen growing to about 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. It has a strong central trunk and radiating branches, with a dense, conical form. The lace-like foliage is a vibrant silver-blue color, giving a great look to this tree. It is one of the very best choices for hot and dry locations, tolerated severe drought, poor soil and scorching sun. Grow it as a specimen, or as a screen or windbreak.
Grow the Blue Steel™ Arizona Cypress in full sun. It grows in any well-drained soil, including clays and sands, alkaline and acid soils, and rocky soils too. Once established it is very drought resistant, and pest, diseases and deer all leave it alone. It can be trimmed up to show the trunk, or clipped as needed into a denser form. Water regularly for the first couple of seasons, and after that it will take very dry and hot conditions with ease.
When it comes to tough and drought resistant even in the hottest places, nothing can beat the Blue Steel™ Arizona Cypress. If you have dry areas, or dry, sandy soil where nothing seems to grow, this is the tree for you. To survive in an arid state like Arizona, a plant has to be able to stand years of drought, and that is a trick this tree has spent millions of years perfecting. Yet it is also very beautiful, with stunning silver-blue lacy foliage and an upright, conical habit. It makes a graceful specimen tree, and it’s excellent to decorate for Christmas. For windbreaks and screens it is unequaled, especially when these are in dry and inhospitable places. A windbreak will create a microclimate in your garden, making it more suitable for plants that can’t directly tolerate strong, drying winds and winter storms, so you can grow a wider range of plants behind that tough ‘steel’ barrier. Build your own border wall and protect your house and garden behind it, with the Blue Steel™ Arizona Cypress – a truly drought-resistant evergreen you will love.
The Blue Steel™ Arizona Cypress is an upright, conical evergreen tree that grows rapidly and will reach 10 or 12 feet tall within 5 years, and become a tree that is about 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide, adding 6 to 8 inches of new growth a year throughout its life. The sturdy central trunk is covered in dark gray to black-brown bark that becomes deeply furrowed and ruggedly attractive. Left to grow naturally it will have a short trunk, or branches to the ground, but it can be pruned up as it grows to create a taller trunk for clearance or appearance. The branches radiate out all around it, rising at about 45 degrees, creating a full, conical crown. The branches carry dense sprays of foliage made of tiny scale-like leaves that give a lacy look to the stems. These are a rich silver-blue, making a striking specimen with a vibrant look. Some purple tones may develop on the foliage in cold winters. If you crush the leaves they have an aromatic fragrance. Older trees may carry clusters of small cones, about an inch in diameter, that are dark reddish-brown, with a blue frosting.
This tree is excellent as a specimen on a lawn, to create an avenue, frame an gateway, or to create a windbreak or screen. Plant trees 6 to 10 feet apart for screening, and a staggered double row will give great shelter from snow and storms. This tree is also useful as a Christmas tree, and it has the right look, with its tiered branches.
The Blue Steel™ Arizona Cypress is completely hardy in zone 7, taking winter temperatures down to about 00 F. For greater cold tolerance from a similar tree, consider the Blue Juniper or other forms of the eastern red cedar, Juniperus virginiana, which grow well even in zone 3.
The Blue Steel™ Arizona Cypress loves the sun, and that is where you should plant it. It doesn’t tolerate shady places well. It will grow in any well-drained soil, including very dry, rocky and sandy soils, and both clays and gravels. Do not plant in wet ground. Once established it is very, very drought tolerant, and it is hard to imagine having to water established trees. It is also resistant to salt-spray, so it’s valuable along roads and near the coast. It grows best in areas with hot but dry summers.
You can trim off the lower branches over a few years to develop a taller trunk. Do this when the tree is young to avoid creating long-lasting scars. You can also trim this tree into a neater conical shape or a hedge, but don’t cut back to bare branches, as they will not re-sprout. Pests and diseases are very rare, and deer usually won’t eat this tree.
The Arizona cypress, Cupressus arizonica, is found growing wild across an area from western Texas throughout the mountains of Arizona and south into New Mexico and northern Mexico. It was first described in 1882, and wild trees can grow to be 80 feet tall. There are five natural varieties that botanists recognize, and the variety they call glabra is the most interesting to gardeners, because its foliage is colored silver-blue. It was once a separate species – Cupressus glabra, but now it is recognized as a form of the Arizona cypress. There are several garden forms that have been found among plants of the blue-foliage variety. We don’t know the origin of the form called ‘Midlothian BB’, but since that is the name of a town in Texas, it might have been found growing nearby. This tree is sold with the trademark name of Blue Steel™ by Greenleaf Nursery Company, under their Garden Debut® brand.
When it comes to toughness and resistance to both heat and drought, experts agree that this species is the go-to tree. The beauty of the Blue Steel™ Arizona Cypress makes it a natural choice, so order now, because the demand for rugged, drought and heat resistant trees is always greater than the supply.