Plant of the Week: SOFT SERVE® False cypress

September is upon us. Since we started the week in August, I feel like we’ve got until Saturday to continue our summer ice cream habit. Even if soft serve isn’t your favorite frosty treat, it does make for a nice Chamaecyparis (AKA false cypress).

Soft Serve® false cypress, both the original (top left) and Soft Serve® Gold (top right) have graceful habits and soft fern-like branching. They are quite desirable in the landscape with both color and texture appeal.

Although false cypress is called an “evergreen,” their foliage can range from gold, dark green, yellow, lime, blue, and silver.

Soft Serve® Gold is a burn-resistant gold variety, whereas the original Soft Serve® has bright green foliage flecked with silver-blue on the underside.

Both of the Soft Serve® varieties are hardy in USDA 4-8 and will grow in full sun or part shade. They are cold hardy, but as with other false cypress it’s a good idea to shelter them from strong wind, especially in the winter. They can dry out in winter winds, causing the foliage to die back.

Although you can grow them in part shade/sun, their colors will be more pronounced when sited in full sun. They’re adaptive to most soil, although they’ll be happiest with moist, neutral, well-draining soil.

Either Soft Serve® variety is a good alternative to dwarf Alberta spruce; They grow about 6-10′ tall and maintain a nice pyramidal form. They are quite elegant plants.

The end of summer?

Not quite. The days are noticeably shorter, but midsummer days in Michigan are unreasonably long anyway. The weather is pleasant, and Lake Michigan is still warm enough for swimming. Yet fall is just around the corner. That means it’s time to plant!

If you’re wondering what to plant, there are some good suggestions in an article we submitted to the GardenSMART TV website called Five, Fabulous Shrubs for Fall Planting. Of course, you can always contact us, too, and we’d be happy to make suggestions that fit your specific gardening needs.

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