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Italian Totem Pole Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens Pyramidalis) 1Italian Totem Pole Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens Pyramidalis) 1Italian Totem Pole Cypress TreeItalian Totem Pole Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens Pyramidalis) 2

Italian 'Totem Pole' Cypress

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The details

Cupressus sempervirens Pyramidalis

120-140cm Pot Grown Plants
  • Evergreen. 
  • Extremely narrow, upright 
  • Used for structure, rather than security
  • Max. Height: 20m
  • Pot Grown Delivery Only: All Year.
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£ 29.99

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Cupressus sempervirens 'Pyramidalis' (Stricta Group): Pot-Grown Italian Cypress

This narrow, upright, slow-growing evergreen is often compared to a pencil, exclamation mark or totem pole. It is mostly planted for its vertical architectural value, whether in rows, at the corners of formal geometric designs, or at the centre of swirling circular ones. It could be planted side by side as visual screening, but Leyland Cypress is better to make a solid hedge.
Italian cypress looks its best clipped formally into a narrow tapering column to 6-7 metres tall, planted far enough apart to show off the individual trees.
They can grow to 20 metres.

Browse all of our ornamental shrubs or hedging plants.

Delivery season: Cypresses are delivered in pots year round, when in stock. Bare-root delivery: only November-March.


  • Suitable for pots
  • Very narrow, pointy habit when young.
  • Ideal for maintaining as a neat cone to about 7 metres
  • Unmaintained trees get more cigar-shaped with age.
  • Not used for barrier hedging. 
  • Height: 20m
  • Soil: Fertile, well drained
  • Evergreen
  • Wildlife friendly
  • Drought tolerant

Growing Italian Cypress

Any well-drained soil in full sun - avoid planting in waterlogged conditions. It will keep its neatest, most upright form in a fairly sheltered location with an annual trim to tidy straggly leaves; 6-7 metres is a good height to maintain with a pole-mounted electric trimmer or with a ladder and long-handled shears, which is the purists' method. Trim regularly from young to maintain structure. A hardy tree, it will also tolerate heat and drought.

In Your Garden Design

Italianate design has dominated the way we think about how gardens should look since the 16th century: create a formal backdrop against which a softer planting scheme can shine. Few plants symbolise the elegant and romantic concept of the dream Mediterranean garden like a clipped Cypress, standing out as a tall, sophisticated punctuation mark in so many of Italy's classic gardens, paired with box and other formal hedging plants. Soften with rosemary bushes, or blue-flowering nepeta.

Many garden designers, such as Italian-born Arabella Lennox-Boyd and Somerset legend Penelope Hobhouse, who created a garden for the Queen Mother at Walmer Castle and worked with Audrey Hepburn, cite Italian garden design as their major influence.

Good news, everyone: this look can be recreated in your own patch of green at home, small or large, giving you something tall and evergreen to look at year round! Use C. Pyramidalis to line driveways, paths, pool areas and patios to create year-round definition; it is excellent at hiding drain pipes and other less attractive essential elements, and is slim enough to work in small spaces.

Did You Know?

The Italian cypress has been declared a top tree to add to a property's value in America. Research doesn't show whether the same rule applies in the UK but certainly having a tidy, well-maintained front garden is regarded as a good selling point, according to the Home Owners' Alliance.

Planting Instructions

Most well drained soil. It needs close to full sun. 

Prepare your site before planting:
We strongly recommend improving the ground in advance of planting day. Destroy the weeds first: nettles, brambles and ground elder are tough and weed-killer is the best way to remove them. Then dig the soil over; remove rocks, roots and other rubbish. Mix in well rotted compost or manure. If your soil is rich, you don't have to dig it over, but killing all the weeds is still necessary.

Remember to water establishing plants during dry weather for at least a year after planting. 
You will also need to weed around the plants. Watering should be thorough, so the ground is soaked. Let the soil almost dry out before watering again. Watering & weeding will be necessary for at least a year after planting.
Like all evergreen plants, Cypress is active and needs moisture in the ground throughout the year. This means that your establishing plants need to be watered in the winter when they are planted, if the weather is dry.

Planting Accessories:
Prepare your site for planting by killing the weeds and grass with Neudorff WeedFree Plus.
We recommend using Rootgrow whenever you plant trees & shrubs.

Hygiene & Diseases:
Dead, damaged or diseased wood can be pruned off as soon as it appears.
Disinfect your pruning tools between every cut if there is any sign of disease.
Burn or dispose of any diseased material, do not compost it.