Sturdy, reliable evergreens are at the heart of our gardens – they give structure and interest all year round, and the best ask very little in return. Most evergreens are, well, green, which is fine, and often that is what we want. But they don’t stop at green, and we can add bright color to our gardens too, in specimens or even in screens and hedges, by making the right choices. There is agreement among the experts that for a larger, golden evergreen, with bright, clear golden foliage all year round, the Gold Rider Leyland Cypress is the top choice.
The Gold Rider Leyland Cypress is an upright evergreen tree that has risen to the top of the polls for colored evergreens. Golden-yellow is a wonderful color to place in your garden. It sparkles with warmth like the sun, and it lifts any space into a new dimension of color. Eye-catching and appealing, golden evergreens make ideal focal points and specimens, bringing brightness to all the seasons. In spring they say, ‘new days are here’, while in summer their warmth reflects the warmth of the weather. In fall they compliment the yellows, oranges and reds of the fall leaves around them, and in winter they bring color to the monochrome days of snow, black earth and dark foliage.
Growing Gold Rider Leyland Cypress Trees
The Gold Rider Leyland Cypress is an upright evergreen that will reach 35 feet in height, and be 15 feet across, if left untrimmed. It has strong growth that keeps it dense and upright, with foliage right to the ground for decades. Older trees will in time develop a very short trunk at ground level, but the tree always remains dense and full. The foliage is fine and soft, and arranged in elegant fan-like sprays. The growing tips are bright yellow-gold, and they darken to a vivid lime-green deeper inside the branches.
The side branches come out at almost 45o, giving a crisp look, somewhere between upright and horizontal, rather than a tightly-upright appearance. This creates, unless you trim it, a more informal look, that is perfect in a modern, casual gardening style. What sets this plant apart from almost every other gold-leaf evergreen, such as golden Sawara or Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis), and golden Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria), is the resistance to developing a brown-purple tone during cold weather. The Gold Rider Leyland Cypress, in contrast, holds its clear golden-yellow throughout the winter – exactly the intense coloring we want.
Uses on Your Property
The Gold Rider Leyland Cypress is perfect for a specimen plant anywhere in the garden you need a larger plant. Plant it in the angles of a home to soften brick walls, in the lawn, in the corners of your property, or behind beds of other shrubs. It will look right at home and makes a bold statement. For a larger space, plant a group of three with 10 or 12 feet between them, for a striking effect, and to fill the corners of a large property simply but effectively. For a dramatic and vibrant hedge, this tree is perfect. Space the plants 4 or 5 feet apart in a row, and you will soon have a rich golden screen that will look simply spectacular all year round.
Planting and Initial Care
Plant the Gold Rider Leyland Cypress in full sun for the best foliage color. It will grow in most soils, except for ones that are constantly flooded. It thrives in zones 6 to 9 and grows well too in sheltered gardens in zone 5. Pests and diseases are never a problem. Unless you trim it for a more formal look or a hedge, it really needs no care at all, once established, to bring its brightness and light to your garden all year round.
When young, this plant will add 2 feet of growth a year, but it does slow down, so after 10 years it will probably have added just 10 or 12 feet to its height. This is a good thing, as Leyland Cypress, in smaller gardens, can easily become a problem, reaching 50 feet in 15 years under ordinary conditions. Most gardens don’t need plants of that size, so you can relax when you plant the Gold Rider Leyland Cypress – it will grow more steadily, and never outgrow its space.
It took us here at The Tree Center some work to find these plants for you, as the fact they are slower growing than other Leyland Cypress makes many nurseries reluctant to grow them. We found a grower who places quality first, and we are proud to offer this plant, which has all the benefits – vigor, health, and good growth – of the Leyland Cypress, without its tendency to outgrow its allotted space.
History and Origins of the Gold Rider Leyland Cypress
The story of the Leyland Cypress is a long and complex one, but it involves the crossing of Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and Nootka Cypress (Cupressus nootkatensis), both native trees of North America, but growing naturally 400 miles apart. The were growing together in a garden in England, and a seedling from them was recognized as a hybrid between the two species, and it became the Leyland Cypress. This cross happened several times, and one of the crosses was called ‘Leighton Green’, after the original garden, called Leighton Hall.
In 1986, at the Paul Vergeer Nursery in Boskoop, the Netherlands, a branch was spotted on one of these trees that was golden in color, instead of the normal green. Separated from the parent plant and grown, this became ‘Gold Rider’, and this is the plant you can now buy to grow the best golden evergreen available. The prestigious Royal Horticultural Society of England awarded this plant its ‘Award of Merit’, so you know it’s good. Our growers have produced some wonderful specimens for us, and this rarely-available plant will be sold very quickly. Order now and grow the best.