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PlantFiles: Arizona Cypress, Smooth Cypress, Smooth-barked Arizona Cypress
Cupressus glabra 'Carolina Sapphire'

Family: Cupressaceae (koo-press-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cupressus (koo-PRESS-us) (Info)
Species: glabra (GLAY-bruh) (Info)
Cultivar: Carolina Sapphire

Synonym:Cupressus arizonica var. glabra

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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6 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Mar 20, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This cultivar is said to be bluer and faster growing than 'Blue Ice'. Requires excellent drainage in eastern N. America.

Dirr says in the humid climate of the southeastern US these are at best short-lived. Better long-term performance in western N. America, where it can reach 40-50'.

Positive kfore On Mar 20, 2015, kfore from Lillington, NC wrote:

I planted 2-3 foot tall trees in 2006. Now well over 20 feet tall!
Have had only one problem and that was bagworms last summer. I didn't think carolina sapphires were known to have insect problems, but this may be due to an over planting of Leyland cypress in my neighborhood, may also be the result of my own negligence of not spraying with horticultural oil late in the winter.
I moved to a new house in the same area with absolutely no plants on the lot and 3 carolina sapphires were my first purchase. They are fast growing and wonderful at screening undesirable views. They make a beautiful blue backdrop to other lower plantings. They are very fragrant, but don't have the typical pine smell.
These are beautiful, fast growing trees that don't seem to be weak due to the fast growth. I had to hunt out this species 9 years ago at a specialty nursery. This year healthy plants were easy to find at Lowe's. Don't shy away from the very small one or two gallon plants. They are economical and grow much faster than the bigger ones.

Positive Fires_in_motion On May 19, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is an astoundingly gorgeous tree. I'm talking beauty of a jaw-dropping, "Are you kidding me?"-inducing nature. The tips of the leaves are a frosty blue, and the bark is a sexy, shiny, orangey brown. The branching structure is a gorgeous conical shape, with just a tiny bit of "floppy" character to make it not look like a fiberglass Christmas tree. It almost looks like a geyser of light blue paint shooting up from the ground, perpetually frozen in time for all to admire. Almost every plant buff who sees it will swear that it's a juniper, as I did when I first saw it; it still kind of boggles my mind that it's a cypress. Its varietal name, 'Carolina Sapphire,' leads many people (even nursery owners around here) to believe it is native to the Carolinas, when in fact it was just "developed" at Clemson University in South Carolina. (In other words, some dude or dudette there took a cutting from a really blue specimen of Arizona Cypress and propagated it, and then patented it.) (At least I'm pretty sure it's patented, but I could be wrong.) I would like for its name to be changed to something that is less misleading, such as 'Arizona Sapphire' or 'Arizona Blue.'

Mine was bought in summer of '09 on a total whim and immediately planted in the front yard, where it survived a very harsh winter a few months later without losing a leaf. (Well, they're more like little rubber erasers than "leaves," but I digress.) Then I unceremoniously dug it out and dumped it in a big plastic pot, where it has sat for over a year with no complaints at all. Today I planted it in a different spot in the front yard in order to reward the little guy for being so patient and adaptable to my whims, and for surviving the last year on the "wall of death" (landscaper slang for the west-facing wall of a house, which heats up like a furnace each afternoon). The tag when I bought it stated it would get to 8 feet tall, and PlantFiles says 12 feet, but I have read it gets more to 50-80 feet, if not taller in the wild. And that's in very sandy, nutrient-poor Arizona dirt, so I imagine they will get much larger in the rich Mississippi River delta soil that we have here. Thus I'm a bit apprehensive insofaras its eventual stature is concerned, especially since I planted it about 15 feet from a power line. And I couldn't bear to top a tree with such beautiful conical structure. ("Topping" is tree cutter slang for the generally evil, and sometimes illegal, practice cutting the top off of a tree, generally in order to make it branch out laterally and hence stay shorter.)

It is said to be susceptible to the fatal ganoderma fungus in very wet climates, unfortunately. So plant it on a sandy mound if you live in the rainier parts of the planet, and basically never water it after it's established. Yes, it is from Arizona, but from the info I have been able to glean, it only grows near rivers and lakes, so it does like a good amount of groundwater, hence why I think it can be adaptable to the Southeast. In other words, if you live in a DRY climate, plant it close to water; if you live in a WET climate, plant it as far away from water as possible. Simple. How this tree has not yet taken the California/Nevada region by storm is beyond me.

Yesterday I bought another one, an absolutely flawless 5-footer, on sale for a shockingly low 10 bucks in Pierre Part, LA. I will keep it in a pot for a few years and maybe plant it out. Did I mention this is an absolutely incredible tree to keep in a pot? It has a great "natural bonsai" look to it, without any trimming.

As with any glaucous (silvery blue) plant, situate it in front of trees with dark green foliage for maximum "pop." Luckily, mine will have a few Live Oaks as its backdrop, so it will look ridiculously blue.

According to Wikipedia, "Arizona Cypress, particularly the strongly glaucous var. glabra, is widely cultivated as an ornamental tree. Unlike Monterey Cypress, it has proved highly resistant to cypress canker, caused by the fungus Seiridium cardinale, and growth is reliable where this disease is prevalent." For more about this tree's taxonomy, particularly its distinction from Cupressus arizonica, see It points out "The wood of this cypress is exceedingly durable in an unprotected state; even the sapwood bas great durability exposed to weather and soil. Cabins built of the logs forty years ago are still in a good state of preservation, while fence-posts and corral poles show but little decay after twenty years' exposure. Marked durability of this wood is in contrast with the wood of Cupressus arizonica, which is not particularly of lasting quality." And The tree attains a height of from thirty-five to fifty feet and a diameter of eighteen to twenty inches."

Positive palebo7 On Dec 13, 2010, palebo7 from Dallas, TX wrote:

Cupressus glabra or arizonica 'Carolina Sapphire' is far and away one of the most commented on plants in my garden, due to its' silvery blue foliage. I planted my first 6, planted as 15 gal 5'-6' ht, in fall 2007, as a screening mass to hide my neighbors unsightly roof ( our house sits about 50 feet from the property line and 10-12 feet above the neighbors). In Dec 2010 they are more than double in ht, and have completely filled in. Seems to be very drought tolerant.
The only bad issue is a huge wets snow fall Dallas received in winter 2010 and the branches were heavily stressed and required going out to shake of the snow - I'm sure ice damage will be hazardous.
They, along with Nellie R Stevens planted at the same time, are the backbone to a perennial test bed. My fave contrast are the Malvaviscous drummondii 'Pam Puryer', Pink Turks Cap and a Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' Mimosa with the Cypress.
I also have the 'Blue Ice' var but has been planted long enough to comment, although I feel it's as nice.

Positive Lakeside3 On Dec 14, 2008, Lakeside3 from Jacksonville, NC wrote:

I purchased three 'Carolina Sapphire's' early spring 08, they stood three feet ht. and looked scronny, now it is winter 08; they have quickly filled-in and grown four inches taller. During the summer in zone 8, facing southwest the Silvery-Blue hue of the foliage is incrediable, but as winter rolls in the colors fades to a sea-green as these pictures will reveal.

Positive scotjute On Mar 6, 2008, scotjute from Moody, TX wrote:

This tree is drought resistant once established. Insists on well-drained soil. A nice addition to the yard, and can become a very striking tree.

Positive Hase1 On Apr 22, 2005, Hase1 from Denton, TX wrote:

I'm a little confused now. The tag that came with my plant said: Cupressus arizonica "Carolina Sapphire" so is mine now a Cupressus arizonica or a Cupressus glabra. If it's the same plant, please see my remarks under C. arizonica.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Holbrook, Arizona
Prescott, Arizona
Huntington, Arkansas
Anza, California
Dunnellon, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Savannah, Georgia
Natchez, Mississippi
Belmont, North Carolina
Okatie, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Nashville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Denton, Texas
Montague, Texas
Moody, Texas
Sherman, Texas
Newport News, Virginia
Langley, Washington

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