Plant propagation can continue at almost every time of the year, the winter is no exception. This is especially true if you have a little space in your house to put your cuttings or can manage to manipulate them into interesting centerpieces! Leyland cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) is a common evergreen planting due to its fast growth and economic pricing. It’s a hybrid of the Montery Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and the Alaskan Cypress (Cupressus nootkatensis). It is mostly planted as a privacy screen but could be used as a evergreen focal point. Some people choose to limb up the branches to make the trunk more visible. They aren’t as highly recommended as Arborvitae due to occaissional ailments. Frequently they are planted too close together into poorly drained soil which can cause cankers and eventual dieback of branches. Other than that they are very attractive and relatively disease free landscape plants! For more on Leyland Cypress ailments including Seiridium canker, Botryosphaeria canker, and root rot diseases please visit this University of Georgia publication.
Propagation of Leyland Cypress
Last week I took 5 cuttings from several different Leyland cypresses. Leyland cypresses don’t produce viable seeds which means that cuttings are the most reliable method of propagation. I gathered 6-8 inch long semi-ripe stem-tip cuttings from branches that were mostly upright. Some evergreens take on the characteristics of the direction they are pointing so upright cuttings are important for an upright speciman. The picture on the right is an example of the cuttings I took. The cuttings are nice and green with no brown spots. The stems have hardened off somewhat toward the base and is still green at the top.
After I collected the Leyland cypress cuttings I stripped the lower 3-4 inches of all leaves. This area will be underneath the rooting medium (in this case sand). I made a small half inch cut into the bottom of each cutting to help them take up water.
Then I put the cuttings into a nice pot and watered. Hopefully in 6-8 weeks I’ll see some signs of rooting and I’ll transplant them into pots with potting soil. All that is left to make them presentable for the Christmas season is to add a merry red ribbon around the pot!