Heatherbun Atlantic White CypressChamaecyparis thyoides 'Heatherbun'
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Chamaecyparis thyoides 'Heatherbun'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The ‘Heatherbun’ White Cypress is a rounded, ball-shaped evergreen conifer, growing as much as 6 inches a year to potentially become in time about 6 feet tall and wide. It has fuzzy foliage which is an attractive blue-green from spring to early fall, gradually turning to a remarkable, deep plum-purple for the winter months. It is almost unique among conifers for growing well in moist to wet ground, making it ideal for planting beside ponds and streams. Older plants that are untrimmed develop a fascinating mounded, ‘hilly’ growth pattern. Cold resistant and easy to grow.
Full sun will give the best winter colors and good growth from your ‘Heatherbun’ White Cypress. It grows in ordinary to moist soils, of all kinds, as well as in wet ground with poor drainage. Avoid hot, dry and sandy soils. It can be trimmed if wanted – late spring after the new growth has matured in the best time. Untrimmed plants develop more ‘character’, but should be tied together inside the bush to prevent snow damage. This plant is usually free of any serious pests or diseases, but not resistant to deer.
Everybody loves rounded evergreens, and there are many that are much better than the common ball cedars seen everywhere. These plants become much more noticeable and important in the winter months, when shrubs and trees are mostly bare. So it makes lots of sense to grow ones that have lots to offer in winter. A popular and reliable favorite among gardeners ‘in the know’ is the Heatherbun White Cypress. This charming mound of finely textured foliage turns a bold plum-purple in winter, making a striking contrast on a carpet of snow, and always looking good. In summer it is an attractive blue green. Young plants form a neat mound, and in time it rises into an irregular ‘hilly’ surface that is unique and fascinating. This is a form of a plant native to America, so it can be grown in a natural garden setting, perhaps among rocks and on slopes. Almost all evergreen conifers demand well-drained soil, but this one is notable for growing in wet ground, making it super-useful for low-lying areas, although it is perfectly happy in ordinary soils as well. It’s slow-growing, but it will be a substantial enough 2-feet tall and wide within 10 years, by which time it will be part of the family.
The Heatherbun White Cypress is a tight, bun-like evergreen, with tiny pointed needles tightly packed along the stems, giving it a ‘fuzzy’ visual texture. When young it has a neat rounded form, typically becoming 2 to 6 inches taller and wider each year, depending on the growing conditions. Within 10 years it will be at least 2 feet tall and wide, and probably more, continuing to grow steadily throughout its life. It is best to assume a typical mature size of 5 to 6 feet tall and wide when planning where to plant it. Young plants are almost perfect balls, but with age it develops a more interesting form, rising in irregular ways at the top until it resembles a distant view of a cluster of steep hills. It can be kept as a perfect ball by annual clipping – it’s up to you, but plants like this often develop more ‘character’ if left untrimmed.
The foliage is short, triangular needles closely spaced along the stems. In wild trees this kind of ‘fuzzy’ foliage is only found in seedlings – older plants have smooth, scale-like leaves. This variety retains that spiky, juvenile foliage throughout its life, giving it a unique texture. The spring and summer foliage is a soft blue-green, but the colder weather of late fall and winter turns it to a dramatic and bold purple-plum. The difference is so striking it might as well be a different bush.
This bush is perfect for color contrast in the winter garden, as well as being an attractive green ball in summer. Plant it anywhere, such as in front of dark-green evergreens around your home, or out in beds among flowering shrubs. It looks great among rocks and gravel, perhaps with other evergreens of different forms, like low spreaders and tall columns. With its tolerance of wet ground it is a good way of getting that special ‘conifer look’ beside a pond or stream. It can also be grown in pots and planters.
This tough shrub is hardy in zone 4 and all through zone 8, so it can be grown in gardens all across the country. It does not grow so well in areas with hot and dry summers, such as the southwest, but thrives in coastal areas with humidity, and in areas with cooler summers and regular rainfall. Plants in pots will survive year-round outdoors in zones 6, 7 and 8.
Grow the Heatherbun White Cypress in full sun for good results – shade will make it flop open and look unattractive. Unlike most conifers it prefers damper soils, and it grows well even in wet ground, and in places with poor drainage. It grows in both acid and alkaline conditions, and is happy in any ordinary garden soil that isn’t too sandy and dry. It only has moderate resistance to drought and it is best to keep it well-watered during hot weather.
This bush is rarely bothered by pests or diseases. It can be trimmed as wanted, avoiding trimming during hot weather and late in the year. An annual spring trim is best, once the new growth has matured. Untrimmed plants may split under the weight of winter snow. To prevent this run some strings inside the bush, connecting the main stems and pulling them together slightly. Be careful not to tie them tightly around the stems – allow plenty of slack in the loops.
Often known as southern white-cedar, swamp cedar or Atlantic white-cedar, this plant, Chamaecyparis thyoides, is not a cedar, but a relative of the Hinoki and Sawara Cypresses, so Atlantic white cypress or simply white cypress are better names. It grows naturally along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Georgia, and also around the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Mississippi. It is a tall tree about 80 feet tall, with feathery foliage. It grows in wet areas on coastal flat lands. Although it has been around for a long time, and it’s very popular, we have no idea where the variety called Heatherbun came from. It is also sometimes sold as ‘Purple Heather’.
This unique bush, ideal for wetter parts of the garden where other conifers won’t grow, is outstanding for winter color, yet rarely available. Take advantage of the great stock we found, but order now – our supply is limited and will sell out very soon.