PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Leyland Cypress (Cupressus x leylandii)

When asked for a fast growing evergreen plant for screening, Leyland Cypress usually is one of our first answers. It will typically grow 3-4 feet per year with regular watering. Its deep green evergreen branches are held firmly upwards at 45 degrees to the straight trunk. We always think they look like they’re thrusting their arms up & shouting “YES!”. Or maybe that’s just their way of looking attractive so we humans propagate more of them.

Around the Puget Sound they typically grow to 30-40 feet tall in a neat, taller-than-wide triangle. Leyland Cypresses can be pruned quite a lot. You can keep them sheared to a specific height and can trim the sides to keep them from taking up too big of a footprint. But remember, they grow fast, so you need to stay on top of the pruning each year.

Leyland Cypress is a pseudo-natural hybrid. In the late 1800’s an British aristocratic plant-fancier put an Alaskan Cedar and a Monterey Cypress in a room together. Having nothing better to do, they got it on. He planted the ensuing seeds and named them after himself. So, two trees who normally would never have met on their own, hooked up because a human made an effort to introduce them. Like most hybrids, Leyland Cypress cannot reproduce on their own, but we humans like them so much, we clone them by the millions.
True story (essentially).