Totem cypress: what is this tree like and what care does it need?

Have you ever heard of the totem cypress? Do you know what kind of cypress it is and how to care for it? It is one of the plants with the greatest bearing and presence, used above all for paths or to divide and create a blanket of privacy between houses.

But what do you know about this plant? Below we talk about it and we give you the keys so that you can take care of it in the best different way. Shall we start?

How is the totem cypress

Cypresses Source_ Plantyserv

The totem cypress is also known as Cupressus sempervirens totem or Italian cypress. And this last name refers to its origin, since it is widespread in the meadows of Italian Tuscany. In fact, in that country they are often used to delimit entrance paths in mansions. And is not for less.

You are going to find a cypress that has a columnar and compact shape. It grows vertically and gradually widens until it becomes quite a large and beautiful specimen. (but it does not develop branches that make it expand in width, but only in vertical.

It is quite slow growing, although the only thing it achieves is that its price is usually higher than with other cypresses. And it is that getting specimens that are quite large and already developed implies that many years have passed to achieve itand hence it is more expensive than in other plants of the same species.

Another of the characteristics of the totem cypress is that it barely develops seeds. That is to say, it will have very few balls from which to extract seeds, hence they hardly stand out and maintain their aesthetics.

In the case of the leaves, these are needle-like and intense green., hence it attracts a lot of attention in the gardens, and even having it in a pot. Although the ideal would be to have it planted in the soil so that it could develop properly.

Totem cypress care

These trees provide privacy to your spaces Fuente_Plantamus

Now that you know the totem cypress a little better, Would you dare to have it in your garden? It is true that we are talking about a cypress, and therefore you have to be careful of the roots and that they are not in areas where they could damage surfaces or even foundations, but beyond that, it is a plant that does not cause many problems. On the contrary, if you give it the care it needs, it will grow very well, slowly, but well.

And what are those cares? We talk about them below.

location and temperature

As we have told you before, the totem cypress is a plant whose best location is outdoors. That implies that it will be better planted in the ground than in a pot.although you can have it in it (although it will not grow as much as it should).

As for its location, this will depend on the weather you have. For example, if you live in an area of ​​extreme heat (and warm-temperate climate) It would be preferable if you placed it in a partially shaded area.especially where the sun did not hit the hours of greatest incidence.

If, on the other hand, you live in an area with a cold climate, you can easily put it in full sun.

Regarding the temperatures, as long as they do not fall below -10ºC, it will resist you quite well., and the same at the opposite end, supporting the high ones. In addition, you can place it near the sea or in areas with high salinity, because it also adapts and works well.


Like many other plants, the totem cypress needs a draining substrate. Actually, much more drainage because it does not tolerate waterlogging at all and one of the ways to prevent it (besides watering little), is for the soil you use to have extra drainage so that water does not accumulate.

It is not excessively demanding with the type of soil that you should give it, so it will be fine if you give it universal soil with some extra drainage.

Of course, in a pot you will have to transplant it every five years or so, or when you see that the roots begin to appear from below.


Variety Source_ Plantamus

If you have read all of the above, you will have noticed that the irrigation demanded by the totem cypress is not abundant, nor is it frequent. It tolerates drought well once it is used to it. (if you just bought it, it is normal that it does not).

So water only when you see that the soil is dry enough. You don’t need to water much, just enough to nourish it.


Although the totem cypress is not a plant that requires a subscriber, if you give it to it, it can stimulate it, at least during the first years, since you will help it reach a meter in height more quickly. For it, From spring, apply a granular fertilizer around the trunk.

Keep in mind that we are talking about a fertilizer that will last over time, so once you add it, it will be more than enough. Now, if you notice that it is being consumed quickly, you could apply it again a month up to a maximum of three times.

Plagues and diseases

Do not trust the totem cypress because, like other cypress trees, it also has many pests and diseases that can kill it.

Among the most important pests are the white mealybugas well as the dry of the cypress or the borers.

In the case of diseases, most are related to excess water, but Phytophthora can also act, which affects the tree sap.


Finally, in terms of reproduction, the only way to do it is through seeds. A technique to be more successful when it comes to germinating is to take the seeds in winter, put them in a container with peat and humidity, and put them like this in the fridge (they need to go through a cold period to get ahead later).

Having a totem cypress in your garden can help give it a more majestic appearance while maintaining the privacy of your home. You just have to be careful with what it needs and arm yourself with patience since it does not grow as much as other cypresses. Do you dare to plant it in your house?

Totem cypress: what is this tree like and what care does it need?

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