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Lemon cypress bonsai

Do you want a plant that smells heavenly while adding charm to your house? then lemon cypress bonsai is what you are looking for. Its yellow-green needles with lemony aroma are their most attractive characteristics. 

Lemon cypress or Cupressus macrocarpa, is a variant of the Monterey cypress. They can thrive indoors and are considered one of the easiest cypress species to cultivate. Proper care will give these beauties a chance to flourish more and in this article we will examine the requirements for this fantastic bonsai.

Lemon Cypress Bonsai Quick Facts

Scientific nameCupressus macrocarpa
Native to North America, California
HeightOutdoor natural habitat trees grow up to 16 feet tall.
Plant typeEvergreen perennial
LeavesLemon-yellow leaves with citrus fragrance.
LifespanTen to fifteen years indoors (longer outside)
Flowering timeSpring
FruitLike pineapple
CultivationMainly for bonsai
SymbolismA mighty reminder of life and death.
UsesOrnamental and natural fragrance. 

Lemon Cypress Bonsai Care Guide

Lemon cypress needs a lot of water and sun. They also need low organic soil. Let’s learn them in detail;

Lemon Cypress Bonsai Watering

It’s important to have a reliable watering routine for lemon cypress. This plant is particularly thirsty and requires frequent watering to flourish. To stop the soil from drying out and contain moisture, it’s a good idea to make a watering timetable for your tree. If you forget to water it regularly, you will notice the needles turning brown to yellow and losing their lovely fragrance.

To assure you’re giving your tree the right amount of water, it’s helpful to use a moisture meter to check the moisture level of the soil. It will guide you in determining when it’s time to water your lemon cypress. 

Learn more about Watering a bonsai tree.

Lemon Cypress Bonsai Temperature Tolerance

The lemon cypress is a resilient tree that can defy temperatures down to USDA zone 7. But, when growing it as a bonsai, it has to be protected from temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to colder temperatures will cause needle loss, browning, and yellowing. 

Once the outdoor temperatures drop below the mentioned, you have to bring your lemon cypress bonsai indoors. Find a bright spot for it near windows facing east or south to provide plentiful sunlight.

During the winter, try to keep a temperature of approximately 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. This will imitate outdoor conditions while keeping your bonsai secure. 

Warmer months are easier to care for as they handle temperatures up to eighty degrees Fahrenheit, even more than that in some cases. 

Right Placement for Lemon Cypress Bonsai

To make sure your plant has healthy growth, it requires a generous amount of sunlight. Finding a spot with full exposure to sunlight is compulsory, as it is quite sensitive and won’t tolerate shady areas. For indoor lemon cypress bonsai, you can place the tree near a south or east-facing window. So that, it can acquire at least 6-8 hours of sunlight every day, regardless of the season.

Outdoor lemon cypress bonsai can handle full sun as well, so you can unhesitantly place them in a sunny spot. This will provide the warmth it needs to flourish. In case the tree receives sunlight from only one side, remember to pivot the tree pot regularly. So that it can stretch properly from all sides. 

Repotting Lemon Cypress Bonsai

These trees have strong growth, especially in the root, so repotting needs to be done relatively early. The pot you will use to re-pot should have large drainage holes as proper drainage is important for lemon cypress. To re-pot;

  • Add pebbles at the bottom of the pot. It’s not necessary if you are using a terracotta pot, as these pots can let the air get into the roots while it drains well. 
  • Fill the pot with fresh bonsai potting mix.
  • Remove the tree from the old pot, by soaking the soil thirty minutes before taking them out. You can take the opportunity and prune the roots with a bonsai shear
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    , fortunately, cypress roots are tender and prune easily. 
  • Place the newly pruned tree in the pot and add more potting mix and gently tap it to set it in place. 
  • Provide water and sun regularly. The tree usually takes a few weeks to get habituated to its new home. 

Best Soil for Lemon Cypress Bonsai

It’s important to be careful when choosing the soil for your lemon cypress tree, as planting it in overly nutrient-rich soil can cause issues. The lemon cypress is naturally acclimated to poor, sandy soil that drains nicely. This type of soil should be low in organic matter. The reason behind this preference is that the tree’s slow growth is matched with the development of its roots, helping it maintain strength against strong winds. By avoiding overly fertile soil, you can assure that the thin and narrow tree will not blow over by strong wind.

How to Guides for Lemon Cypress Bonsai

In the following steps, you will get a detailed guide to pruning, wiring, fertilizing, and cultivating lemon cypress bonsai. Lemon cypress bonsai styling should take place during early summer or spring to maintain its dwarf size and heavy growth. Here’s an in-depth guide:

How to Prune Lemon Cypress Bonsai

  • The trees can be trimmed selectively by removing damaged and unwanted branches. 
  • The new growth can be trimmed out as soon as it starts to branch out. But, if you do it too early there’s a chance new shoots will die back when fall comes. 
  • Root trimming is as important as branching, as the roots grow thick and quickly, but it can be done during re-potting. First remove the dark, thick, and mushy roots and then shorten the entire length. 
  • Be its branches or roots, never prune more than 1/3rd of the actual size. 

Learn more about Pruning

How to Wire a Lemon Cypress Bonsai

  • Use an aluminum training wire to wire your tree. Training wires are much safer than plant ties as long as it’s not wrapping over the branches too tightly and strangling them. 
  • Start wrapping around the base of the tree at a forty-five degrees angle. Wrap individual branches as well. Don’t go overboard with the wire to avoid any possible harm. 
  • Once, the wire has been wrapped, bend it carefully to your preference, if the bending is not transpiring easily, you can it little by little every two to three days at intervals. 

Learn more about How to Wire a Bonsai Tree Branch

How to Fertilize Lemon Cypress Bonsai

These plants’ cares are not exactly low-maintenance but in terms of feeding them, it is. These plant doesn’t require periodic fertilizer.  They need fertilizer one time a year, but during that time you need to feed them proper nutrients. Fertilize them during spring or early summer when the needles are popping out. 20-20-20 NPK is sufficient fertilizer for a whole year. Water thoroughly after providing fertilizer so that the roots can get it easily. Watering after fertilizing will also save the plant from fertilizer burn. 

Check this detailed guide on How to Fertilize your Bonsai Trees the Correct Way

How to Grow a Lemon Cypress Bonsai

A gradually growing plant from scratch is the most rewarding view for a plant lover. It’s best to grow lemon cypress bonsai from seedlings and cuttings. They are effortless and here’s how to do it.

How to Grow Lemon Cypress Bonsai from Seed

  • Lemon cypress came from wetland areas and swamp soil, so mimicking the same kind of environment is important for the germination of the seeds. 
  • Even if you are planning to place your bonsai outdoors, this whole process should be performed indoors. 
  • To bring the seeds out of their dormancy state, they needed to be chilled. To do that, take two wet paper towels and place the seeds between them, and kept them in a refrigerator for at least one month.
  • After they are thoroughly cooled and soaked, they are ready to be transferred into a small container. Use rich bonsai soil and place each seed almost 0.6 cm deep in the soil. 
  • Soak the water thoroughly until it is moist, but not saturated. Set the container in a warm place, with a temperature between 21° and 24° Celsius. Place them near the south-facing window to ensure it’s getting plenty of indirect sunlight. The germination procedure will take around a week to a month. 
  • When the seedlings are about 10 to 15 cm tall it’s ready to re-pot in their permanent home. 

Check this detailed guide on How to grow a bonsai tree from seed?

How to Grow Lemon Cypress Bonsai from Cuttings

Lemon cypress doesn’t give the same outcome as the mother plant in terms of features when they are cultivated from seeds, so many preferred cuttings for propagation. The ideal time to propagate lemon cypress is in the winter. To propagate;

  • Cut a four-inch-long branch from the mother plant with a sharp knife.
  • Take the leaves out from the bottom half of the cutting and pot it in rooting hormone after moistening the cuts. 
  • Prepare a moist, well-draining potting mix, make a hole with a pencil, and place the cuttings.
  • Cover the pot with a plastic bag without touching the plant.
  • Place the pot in a warm but not under direct sun and keep the soil moist. 
  • You can gently tug the cutting, if it’s hard to move, meaning the rooting has begun. Place it in a sunny spot and continue with your regular routine. 

Common Lemon Cypress Bonsai Problems and Solutions / Diseases & Pests

Lemon cypress is known as a hardy plant, but it still can be a victim to some pests and fungi. 


Alternaria parasites can be devastating for plants year after year. They attached themselves to the seeds and affect leaves and then stems little by little till it’s left bone dry. You have to be cautious with continuous irrigation as they reproduce quickly.  To identify Alternaria look for brown spots on the tree.


First, you need to isolate the infected tree and spray fungicide on the infected parts. Clean the fallen leaves from the soil to limit spore spreading. 


These small creatures appear in the nodes of the tree. They live there and use their mouthpieces to suck the sap out of the tree, causing an absolute stunned growth. 


Insecticidal soap or oils works best on aphids. Oils like neem oil and petroleum-based horticultural oils can be used as well. They primarily kill aphids by smothering them.

Lemon Cypress Bonsai Images

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