Winter interest should always be a high-priority when choosing plants for your garden, since winter can be such a ‘dead’ time and the profusion of spring and summer flowering plants can easily leave us with bare branches or plain green at the dullest time of the year. This is particularly true in the cooler parts of the country, where winter-blooming plants seen further south are an impossible dream. Winter foliage color from evergreens is the main source of winter color, followed by berries and fruits, but most winter foliage on evergreens is limited to yellow, silver-blue or gray.
So something different is sure to be a big hit and the Red Star White Cypress delivers a very different color punch. As the cold of winter arrives the normally blue-green foliage of this tree turns a lovely plum-purple, with bronzy overtones, adding richness to the garden view and really glowing on a sunny day, or against a snowy backdrop. As an added bonus, the flush of new spring growth is blue-gray in color, making your tree look like a different plant entirely, before turning blue-green for the summer.
The really good news about the Red Star White Cypress is that it’s not a one-hit wonder, but also a great work-horse around the garden – one that has been strangely overlooked by many gardeners. If you have damp, low-lying spots, or water in your garden you are probably a little frustrated by all the plants that want ‘well-drained’ soil. White cypress hails from swamps and wet-lands, so here is a plant that loves to have its feet in the mud, although it is perfectly happy in normal garden soil and conditions too.
If using native plants in your garden is also something that appeals to you, then you are on solid ground here, because white cypress (Chamaecyparis thyoides) is an American native tree that is actually the state tree of New Jersey. From Maine to Georgia and also in Mississippi, it is found in swampy and wet areas, mostly not too far from the coast. The natural tree is a bit large and ungainly for gardens, but the Red Star White Cypress is more compact and grows to 5 or 6 feet in the first years, eventually reaching 20 feet in height, compared to the 90 feet that is seen in wild trees. It is much denser too, upright, and it forms an irregular cone half as wide as it is tall. The foliage is slightly prickly and looks a little like a juniper or even heather. It does not look at all like the wild tree, or even like a typical cypress, and grows slowly, so it will not overwhelm the garden. These improvements have turned an ordinary wild tree into something worthy of a place in any garden.
With these unique features this plant can only be grown from stem pieces taken from correctly-identified mother plants. Cheap seedling white cypress will have no resemblance at all to this attractive tree and will only be a great disappointment.
The Red Star White Cypress makes a lovely specimen in a garden bed, or as part of your foundation planting around the house. Plant them singly or in groups of 3, or 5, to make a great impact in the garden. Because it is evergreen this is also a good choice for a screening plant in a wet location and it will develop into an excellent barrier, as long as a lot of height is not needed. Planted among deciduous flowering shrubs it will add density and structure to your beds and really shine in winter when the other plants are leafless.
Plant your Red Star White Cypress in a sunny location to develop the best winter colors – sun in fall is especially important for that, but otherwise it will fit into any garden without problems. Although a great choice for wet soil, around a pond or along a stream, it will be perfectly happy in ordinary garden soil of most kinds and is surprisingly drought resistant too, once well established in your garden. There are no pests and diseases that attack this plant and the prickly texture will resist deer.
If you are looking to liven-up your garden in winter with some unique colors, as well as add a very attractive, upright, easy to grow evergreen to your garden, then the Red Star White Cypress is a great choice. This unusual plant is not often available for sale, so demand is high. Our stocks are limited, so order now or risk missing out on a very special plant that will really give your garden a boost.