Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma’ (Monterey cypress ‘Wilma’)

Botanical name

Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma’

Other names

Monterey cypress ‘Wilma’, Lemon cypress ‘Wilma’, Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest Wilma’


Cupressus Cupressus

Variety or Cultivar

Native to

Garden origin




Lemon scent when foliage is crushed or cut

Tree shape

Narrowly columnar, Tall, Upright


May cause skin irritation when handled.


RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit)

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Yellow-green in All seasons

How to care

Watch out for

Specific pests

Cypress aphid

Specific diseases

Cypress (coryneum) canker

General care


No pruning required unless used for hedging. As it is fast-growing it can be trimmed to keep at the required height. Trim new growth with sharp shears regularly to maintain shape of plant.

Propagation methods

Seed, Semi-hardwood cuttings

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Where to grow

Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma’ (Monterey cypress ‘Wilma’) will reach a height of 3m and a spread of 1m after 10-20 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, Coastal, Hedging/Screens, Low Maintenance, Resistant to pollution


Plant in any moist but well-drained soil in full or partial shade. Can tolerate hot sunny sites, but protect from strong winds. If used for hedging, plant 60-90cm apart.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral


Full Sun


North, South, East, West



UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5

Defra’s Risk register #1

Plant name

Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma’ (Monterey cypress ‘Wilma’)

Common pest name

Scientific pest name

Lamprodila festiva



Current status in UK


Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Impact (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

General biosecurity comments

Beetle that is native to Europe; whose larvae damage certain ornamental conifer species. Absent in the UK; so industry should source plants carefully and monitor for its presence.

Defra’s Risk register #2

Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma’ (Monterey cypress ‘Wilma’)

Cypress twig; borer

Argyresthia cupressella


Present (Widespread)

Likelihood to spread in UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Has spread following introduction; little evidence of significant damage. Stakeholder groups may wish to monitor.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read “Don’t risk it” advice here

Suspected outbreak?

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit:

Wilma Goldcrest Monterey Cypress foliage

Wilma Goldcrest Monterey Cypress foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 15 feet

Spread: 3 feet


Hardiness Zone: 6

Other Names: Golden Monterey Cypress


A very attractive dwarf variety with a tight columnar habit; bright golden with a lemony scent to the foliage; excellent when used as a color contrast in the garden or containers; can be maintained as a hedge

Ornamental Features

Wilma Goldcrest Monterey Cypress has attractive chartreuse foliage which emerges yellow in spring. The scale-like leaves are highly ornamental and remain chartreuse throughout the winter. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Wilma Goldcrest Monterey Cypress is a dense evergreen tree with a strong central leader and a narrowly upright and columnar growth habit. It lends an extremely fine and delicate texture to the landscape composition which can make it a great accent feature on this basis alone.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. Deer don’t particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Wilma Goldcrest Monterey Cypress is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Vertical Accent

Planting & Growing

Wilma Goldcrest Monterey Cypress will grow to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for xeriscaping or the moisture-conserving landscape. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in poor soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species.

Growing Lemon Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest Wilma’)

The lemony fragrance and golden yellow-to-chartreuse coloring of this Dwarf Evergreen make it an outstanding choice for containers.

LIGHT: Indoors, Lemon Cypress should be close to a window where it will receive at least 6-8 hours a day of direct sun.

TEMPERATURE: Plants prefer cooler temperatures of 55-65°F. Water when the top 1-2 inches of potting mix is dry to the touch. Be sure not to over water, which can lead to problems with root rot.

FERTILIZING: Fertilize just once a year, in early spring, using a balanced fertilizer with a 10-10-10 formula.

CONTINUING CARE: Lemon Cypress can spend the summer outdoors in a sunny location. If you live in Zone 7 or warmer, you can grow it outdoors year round. Move it outdoors after danger of frost is past. If you wish to keep it in a container, repot every 4 years, using a fast-draining soil mixture. To plant in the ground, choose a site that is protected from cold, harsh winds. Although it prefers full sun, it can tolerate some light shade. It is not fussy about soil as long as it is well drained with a pH of 6.6 to 7.5. It will grow to 6-8ft in 10 years with a width of just 1-2ft, having a narrow columnar habit. Pruning is seldom needed, although it can be gently shaped in spring if necessary.

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Wednesday – June 25, 2008

From: Allen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Transplants, Watering, Trees
Title: Decline of indoor lemon cypress
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I received a lemon cypress as a gift. I have kept it indoors in bright light and tried to keep it moist. When I received the plant the foliage was soft and now it has become brittle and dry even though the soil is moist to the touch. What am I doing wrong and is there a way to save it???


For general information on this plant, we are quoting from another answer on the same plant:

“The Lemon Cypress is a cultivar called Goldcrest, or Golden Crest, of Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress). You can read more about the tree from Plants for a Future, and from the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Here are some intructions for outdoor care from ShootGardening and you can find care instructions for indoor Cupressus macrocarpa at and from the TopiaryShop.”

Just at first glance, the problem you are having sounds like transplant shock. Did you move the plant to a new pot? Was it watered, but with good drainage, on a regular basis? Even if it stayed in the same pot, a sharp change in environment, such as from full sun to shade, or from outside to indoors, can cause transplant shock. For instance, the “mother” plant of this cultivar, Monterey cypress, grows naturally only in a certain part of California, which is pretty different from Collin County, Texas. Or it may have been moved from a regularly-misted greenhouse, to a truck, to a sales floor, to your home, with not much interim care, and be exhausted.

The other alternative, which we hope is not the case, is that it was already diseased when it was purchased or that it has root damage. Sadly, plants are often “forced” into attractive growth or bloom to make them easier to sell, but there is not a sufficient root system to support this growth. This plant is also susceptible to canker that kills the tree, especially if it is grown away from the cool sea breezes. We’re going to assume (hope) that it’s transplant shock, and try to help you save the plant.

First, no fertilizing. That’s usually the first thing people do when a plant is having trouble, douse it with fertilizer. Never fertilize a plant under stress. Next, trim off a lot of the upper part of the plant, 1/2 to 1/3 of the upper structure, only taking care to leave as many leaves as possible, for nutrition. Then, to make sure that there really is moisture around the roots, we like to set the pot in a basin or tub with 2 or 3 inches of water. If your pot has good drainage and good potting soil in it, this will cause water to slowly move upwards in the soil by osmosis. You’ll know it’s happening because you’ll see the water level dropping in the tub. Now, take it out of the tub and let it drain and drain. (Better do this on the porch, all that water might not be good for the floors.) After that initial wetting, try to give it a good dose of water (still making sure it’s draining well) every day to every other day. The reason you do the initial soaking of the soil is that water will shoot right through very dry potting soil, and be gone down the drainage hole, leaving the roots thirsty.

Will this save the plant? Sorry, no guarantees, but it’s better than watching it droop itself to oblivion.

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Valuable Tips on How to Care for a Lemon Cypress Tree

Native to California, the lemon cypress tree is known for its greenish-yellow foliage and fresh lemony fragrance. Gardenerdy provides information on lemon cypress tree care.

People with sensitive skin should be careful while touching the needle-like foliage of the lemon cypress tree; handling the plant can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.

The lemon cypress tree is a cultivar of the Monterey cypress, which is native to Monterey Bay located on the coast of central California. Monterey cypress belongs to the Cupressus genus, macrocarpa species, and Cupressaceae family. The lemon cypress is also known as the Gold crest cultivar, and gets its name from the characteristic strong lemon scent that it gives off when anyone brushes against the leaves or crushes the foliage. This evergreen coniferous tree can be grown indoors as well as outdoors.

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This coniferous tree can attain a height of sixteen feet in its natural habitat. However, there’s also the option of keeping a dwarf lemon cypress indoors. The maximum height of a dwarf lemon cypress is usually three feet. With their greenish-yellow, needle-like foliage and conical growing habit, these trees work wonderfully as topiaries. The fresh lemony scent is an added advantage. If you are thinking of keeping a lemon cypress or dwarf lemon cypress as a houseplant, or want to grow a lemon cypress tree in your garden, you need to be aware of its growing requirements, such as its ideal planting site, preferred soil type, watering needs, soil requirements, pruning season, fertilizer, diseases that it might be susceptible to, etc. The following sections will tell you how to grow and care for this plant.

Lemon Cypress Tree: Quick Facts

Lemon Cypress in Pots

  • Scientific name: Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’
  • Also called: Monterey cypress ‘Goldcrest’, Lemon cypress, Lemon Scented Monterey Cypress
  • Genus: Cupressus
  • Variety or Cultivar: Goldcrest
  • Plant Type: Evergreen, Coniferous
  • Leaf Type: Needleleaf
  • Height: 10-15 feet (Grows up to 15 meters in height and a spread of 4 meters after 20-50 years)
  • Spread: 2-3 feet
  • Growth Habit: Narrow conical
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10
  • Soil: Sandy, chalky, loamy, clay
  • Soil Requirement: Well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: Acidic, neutral, and alkaline
  • Light Requirements: Needs full sun to thrive; cannot survive in shade
  • Watering Requirement: Drought-resistant plant that requires medium watering; can tolerate maritime exposure
  • Rate of Growth: Moderate to fast
  • Propagation methods: Seed, Semi-hardwood cuttings

Seeds of Cupressus Macrocarpa

  • Maintenance Category: Low
  • Fruit Season: Fall
  • Fruit color: Black
  • Foliage: Golden-yellow
  • Fragrance: Lemon scent when foliage is crushed or cut
  • Tree shape: Narrowly columnar, Tall, Upright
  • Award: Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit
  • Susceptible to Diseases: Yes
  • Specific Pests: Cypress aphid
  • Disease: Cypress (coryneum) canker
  • Pruning: Regularly required when used for hedging

Conditions Ideal for Growing Lemon Cypress

First of all, you need to decide whether you want a dwarf lemon cypress variety for keeping indoors, or a lemon cypress tree for growing outdoors. The dwarf variety/cultivar called Wilma Goldcrest, which is a mutation of the Goldcrest cultivar discovered in Holland in 1987, can be propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings. It can grow up to 6-8 feet, with a spread of 1-2 feet. However, lemon cypress can be grown from seeds. Here are some pointers for growing and caring for a lemon cypress tree.

Light Requirements

The lemon cypress needs a location that will get ample sunlight. It must be noted that problems can arise if this evergreen tree is grown in regions that have extreme temperatures. It is more likely to thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 7-10. Less care is needed if the plant is grown indoors. This plant does well in cool, sunny areas. It will do well in a place that gets at least 5-6 hours of sunlight daily. So, if you have placed it in a pot or container indoors, then keep the pot near a big south-facing window that receives ample sunlight. When placed indoors, this evergreen tree prefers cooler temperatures. So, even five hours of sunlight through the window will ensure that the foliage doesn’t lose its color.

During winter, you can use a UV light to ensure that the light requirements of this plant are fulfilled. After the danger of frost has passed, place the plant where it will receive partial sunlight. Thereafter, reintroduce the plant to full sun gradually. So, if the weather is warm, the pot can be placed outside so that the plant can get partial sun. During the winter, place the plant indoors. Always remember to gradually transition plants from indoors to outdoors and vice versa. The ideal temperature for growing a lemon cypress tree outdoors is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soil Preference

This tree can tolerate soils with pH ranging from acidic to alkaline. Soil can be sandy, loamy, or chalky. It can even grow in clay. While it can grow in all types of soils, it will not survive if the soil is not well-drained. It prefers soil that is moist and well-drained. In order to prevent the roots from getting affected by root rot due to water-logging, sand can be mixed with the soil.


While the soil needs to be moist, it should not be waterlogged. During the first growing season, you will need to water the plant at least twice a week. Test the soil with a stick or skewer to find out if the soil is dry, wet, or moist. You need to ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out between watering. Water the tree if the soil has dried out. The frequency of watering could be reduced during the winter. Plants that are grown indoors need to be watered more frequently than the ones growing outdoors.


You definitely need to use a 20-20-20 fertilizer before the new growth appears in the spring. Fertilize with the standard, slow-releasing fertilizer that has an equal amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium once a month. You can also supplement the soil annually with turf fertilizers that contain other nutrients such as magnesium, boron, copper, and zinc.


If this plant is used for hedging, it will need to be pruned regularly. It will have to be trimmed to maintain the required height. Use sharp pruning shears to remove the sucker branches and the errant branches that are growing in the wrong direction or making it difficult to fertilize the tree. Since lemon cypress has a conical habit, trim the tree as per its natural shape. Trimming should be done every week during the summer.


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Lemon cypress is susceptible to coryneum canker, if it is grown in a region that is hot and dry. Also, when grown outdoors, it is prone to an aphid infestation, which can cause extensive damage. Therefore, steps must be taken to control the infestation in the initial stages.

The lemon cypress tree is a popular ornamental plant due to its vibrant foliage that gives off the scent of fresh lemons. It is the recommendation of the Royal Horticultural Society to use this tree as an architectural accent or a low-maintenance hedge or screen plant. Moreover, it is a low-maintenance plant, especially when grown indoors. If you are growing the plant in a pot, then make sure that you repot the plant every two years in a pot that is at least an inch wider than the previous one. Lemon cypress can grow very well when you provide it with the ideal conditions that it needs to thrive. However, do watch out for aphids, as they can cause considerable damage.

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Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest Conifer

Available Sizes to buy online All Prices Include VAT Height Excluding Pot:
60-80cm (1ft 11-2ft 7)

Pot size: 3 Litres

Plant ID: 4547 64
Click to view photo of this size

Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest Conifer

This image displays plant 60-80 cm tall.

Height Excluding Pot:
60-80cm (1ft 11-2ft 7)

Pot size: 3 Litres

Plant ID: 4547 64
Was £25.00 40% Off – Now £15.00

Was £25.00 40% Off – Now £15.00
Height Excluding Pot:
80-100cm (2ft 7-3ft 3)

Pot size: 10 Litres

Plant ID: 4548 64
Click to view photo of this size

Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest Conifer

This image displays plant 80-100 cm tall.

Height Excluding Pot:
80-100cm (2ft 7-3ft 3)

Pot size: 10 Litres

Plant ID: 4548 64
Was £45.00 40% Off – Now £27.00

Was £45.00 40% Off – Now £27.00
Height Excluding Pot:
1-1.25m (3ft 3-4ft 1)

Pot size: 10 Litres

Plant ID: 4549 64
Click to view photo of this size Was £50.00 40% Off – Now £30.00
Height Excluding Pot:
1.25-1.50m (4ft 1-4ft 11)

Pot size: 12 Litres

Plant ID: 4550 64
Click to view photo of this size Was £75.00 40% Off – Now £45.00
Height Excluding Pot:
1.5-1.75m (4ft 11-5ft 8)

Pot size: 20 Litres

Plant ID: 4551 B 64
Click to view photo of this size Was £90.00 40% Off – Now £54.00
Height Excluding Pot:
1.75-2m (5ft 8-6ft 6)

Pot size: 18 Litres

Plant ID: 4784 64
Click to view photo of this size Was £105.00 40% Off – Now £63.00
Height Excluding Pot:
2-2.25m (6ft 6-7ft 4)

Pot size: 25 Litres

Plant ID: 4536 64
Click to view photo of this size Was £140.00 40% Off – Now £84.00
Height Excluding Pot:
3-3.5m (9ft 10-11ft 5)

Pot size: 90 Litres

Plant ID: 4537 64
Click to view photo of this size Was £400.00 40% Off – Now £240.00
Height Excluding Pot:
3.5-4m (11ft 5-13ft 1)

Pot size: 70 Litres

Plant ID: 8109 64
Click to view photo of this size Was £595.00 40% Off – Now £357.00

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Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest or Monterey Cypress Goldcrest
Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest, to give it its full botanical name is a variety of Monterey Cypress. These evergreen trees are treasured for their narrowly columnar shape, decorative appearance and finely textured young foliage. This particular cultivar is best known for its bright golden yellow foliage that retains its vibrant colour all year round. Introduced to the United Kingdom in 1947 by Treseder Nurseries in Cornwall, the Monterey Cypress Goldcrest has been widely grown since then.

The foliage of this conifer grows in dense ascending sprays, its scale-like leaves borne on rounded stems. Apart from its naturally occurring chartreuse colour, the lush foliage is noted for having a lemon verbena scent when crushed. The Goldcrest cultivar produces small round cones once established.

Height and Spread of Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest
In 10 years, Monterey Cypress Goldcrest can grow to be 2.5 metres high with a 1.5 metre spread. Its ultimate height is around 12 metres, so make sure to account for its maximum size when choosing a location in the garden.

How Hardy Is Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest
A Californian native (named for Monterey County), this cultivar is fully hardy throughout the United Kingdom. For its reliable performance in the garden and marvelous features, Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest was honored with the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by Royal Horticultural Society.

How To Use Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest
Versatile and striking at the same time, this evergreen conifer will fit in wonderfully in any garden. Suitable for hedging and / or for evergreen screening, growing in containers or isolated planting, the Goldcrest cultivar lends itself well to various uses. Since its narrowly columnar natural shape and dense foliage make it a good choice for a hedge, this golden conifer can be used to introduce bold strokes of vivid colour to the landscape.

How To Care For Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest
Generally undemanding, this variety needs to be planted in full sun to thrive. Choose a spot in the garden that is sheltered from cold, biting winds. It will grow in any soil, as long as it is well-drained. No pruning required unless it is used for hedging purposes, in which case trimming and shaping are encouraged.

Lush foliage and elegant form make this cultivar worthy addition to any landscape. Ideally suited for mass plantings, this Monterey variety looks equally striking when planted on its own. You may also be interested in Cupressus Macrocarpa Goldcrest Topiary.

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