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seattlegardengirl

How do I care for my Lawson Cypress 'Treasure Island'?

seattlegardengirl
13 years ago

Hi all,

I just got a lovely little Lawson Cypress "Treasure Island" from Sky Nursery. They are being sold as novelties for Christmas along with a lot of other small trees, but I would like mine to survive past the holidays if possible. How do I care for this guy? I can't find a good website explaining its care, so if anyone has a link to one that would help a lot. He is inside at the moment. Can I keep him here, or should he be moved to the balcony? I'm in Seattle, zone 7b. We just had a bought of snow, buts all gone and temperatures are in the low 40s during the day right now.

Thanks!

Comments (12)

  • Embothrium
    13 years ago

    As with other living Christmas trees the key is to keep the plant in a cool and bright area. Would be best to have it outside for all but a week of time this month. But do not let the pot freeze up like a brick, should more Arctic weather come.

    And when dealing with it after the holiday do put it in soil with excellent drainage, either in a larger, more frost resistant container or in a final planting site in the ground. Lawson cypress is a martyr to rotting of the roots by water molds, puddling and heaviness around or in the rooting environment are to be avoided at all times.

    Infested specimens reach a point where the whole top goes brown and dead in short order, due to the full functioning of the root system having been destroyed.

    Seattle etc. is in USDA 8, zip code zone finders or any other sources putting us in 7 are wrong. 0-10F is the average annual minimum temperature for USDA 7, not the absolute minimum temperature or any other version. True Zone 7 gets below 0F on occasion, just as we sometimes get below 10F here in Zone 8.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    13 years ago

    it is not a houseplant.. and will die if kept in the house for any extended period ...

    balcony??? ... do you have any mother earth to plant it in??? ... if you do.. i can explain how to keep it indoors for a month.. but then free range it outdoors ...

    tell me more about your space and we can go from there ...

    ken

  • Embothrium
    13 years ago

    Yes, it has the specific soil requirements of perfect drainage and no infestation of the site with water molds throughout the life of the planting. Some local patches I've been to have seemed to be a bit low-lying and funky for trying a plant with these vulnerabilities. In fact, the original P-Patch sits in a former wetland and after many years can still be seen to be built from a peaty or muck-like soil. You might do better to put your new specimen in a large pot or tub, keep it with you there at your dwelling.

    Especially if you give up your plot or move to another area later.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    13 years ago

    conifers are trees... and trees are NOT houseplants.. simply by definition.. even bonsai is better off outside ...

    i see no reason why you could not make it a balcony plant.. and simply bring it in now and then ...

    i dont really claim any expertise on potted conifers.. but you will need a high drainage.. low peat potting soil ...

    I DO NOT KNOW IF THIS IS A GOOD TIME OF YEAR TO REPOT IN YOUR AREA ... perhaps bboy can help there ...

    the trick on the balcony.. is to allow the sun on the plant.. but protect the pot from the sun ... wild fluctuations of temps on a black pot.. can cause root damage ... so if you put your pot inside a decorative clay pot ... so that there is an air buffer .. and lower soil heating.. you may get away with it ...

    in my frozen great white north.. what would kill it indoors is insufficient light [especially with the newer windows which block UV light] ... and lack of humidity from the forced air furnace ... among a lot of other things ...

    if you were to repot.. you might want to look into a cactus mix .... lots of sand and large chunks of bark and low peat .... which allows most water to run out ...

    err toward the side of a dry soil .. over a wet tropic soil like most houseplants prefer ... this is not a plant you would be watering every few day ... MAYBE every couple weeks ...

    but the bottom line.. you only have a few bucks invested.. have fun.. love it up.. but dont be surprised if you fail .. so what.. you had some fun ...

    ken

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    13 years ago

    I grew 'Treasure Island' in container for a number of years.....as I have done with many dwarf conifers, mostly Chamaecyparis. In fact, I sold it and its container when I moved from my old garden just down the road from Sky and downsized to a much smaller residence. Too many containered plants to move :-)

    It could be a very nice addition to a balcony garden. Find an appropriately sized, freeze resistant container and good potting soil. I like Gardner & Bloom acid mix, which is recommended for conifers and J. maples and should be carried by Sky as well. I agree with others that this little guy should be indoors for the shortest possible amount of time and when inside, kept in the coolest location you can manage. Conifers indoors, potted or cut, can dry out in the blink of an eye and once that happens, they're toast. Keep well hydrated but not soaking.

    I use a slow release fertilizer - like Osmocote - with all my container plants when potting up and again once or twice a season thereafter. During the growing season, check watering needs carefully - frequency will depend on weather and the size of the container. The G&B potting mix is very durable and has an excellent texture for good drainage, which is essential to prevent the root issues bboy refers to.

  • firefightergardener
    13 years ago

    Can someone educate me why plants need sun in Winter while they are dormant? Aren't they covered by 30-90 feet of snow in the wild?

    Thanks,

    -Will

  • Embothrium
    13 years ago

    Where would a tree be under 30-90 ft. of snow?

    An advantage of keeping leaves all year is you can still photosynthesize even when it is too cold for new stem growth. Evergreen plants are not dormant during winter, in the same way as deciduous ones.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    13 years ago

    hey will

    you have lots of pots around there.. any duplicates???

    put one in a closet.. or the dark cool basement.. and let us know in spring ...

    we fear that a frozen pot [MI].. or a dormant plant [WA] .. not get too dry in winter .. ergo we suggest an ice cube or some snow on the media..

    it follows.. as noted.. that the plants can come in and out of dormancy during the winter... as the temps fluctuate up and down..

    it would SEEM to follow then .. that they would use sunlight here and there ...

    i would hazard a guess.. that a babe completely covered by snow.. which in my z5.. is the best insulator ... would remain completely dormant all during the time it was covered ... but then.. i usually dont get 60 to 90 feet ... lol .... in other words.. there is some brightness under the snow .... its not a black out ...

    ken

  • Embothrium
    13 years ago

    A pine in Michigan is keeping leaves all winter for the same reasons as a cypress in WA. Fundamentals of plant function and cultivation don't vary regionally. The immature roots of plants will still freeze in pots wherever they are, what varies is the minimum temperatures for different species. If the soil inside a pot gets colder than a particular kind of plant can take, it will be damaged whether it is in Michigan or WA.

  • firefightergardener
    13 years ago

    There are plenty of small noble fir and doug firs up at our ski resorts here in Washington that are under 30-90 feet of snow each Winter. I would assume these either struggle badly or get enough light before/after the snows to survive?

    No real duplicates to speak of Ken, at least not yet - I usually give away, plant or trade any duplicates I have in my pot collection. I'll take your word for it!

    -Will

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    13 years ago

    what also varies.. is what is used for understock ...

    i seem to recall gary gee suggesting that he was trying to use hardier rootstocks here in MI to zone push [with the same scion wood] .. as compared the the OR guys ... and having some success with such ..

    but that is the extent of that brain cells memory ...

    i ran across this in the rose world ... when i mail ordered some foo foo roses from a FL producer ... i dont think the FL understock lived past thxgvg ... oh well.. live and learn ...

    i am still trying to visualize a 90 foot tree sticking out of snow.. now there would be a cool before and after pic ... probably need a GPS to find it, and recognize it ... now i see why that might come in handy ....

    ken

    ps: i think the OP's lawson is rooted though... based on how cheap they are ... so we digress ...

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