Leyland Cypress Fast-Growing Drought Tolerant Landscape Screen Plants


Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii) is a very fast growing tree that grows tall and thin, making them perfect for privacy screen plants in the landscape.

Leyland cypress and Dog
Leyland cypress and Dog

These plants can grow four to five feet in one season!  Their columnar shape helps them fit in along the back of the border or between houses.  The top is a bit thinner than the bottom.

They are also drought tolerant once established; usually after the second year.  These trees are evergreen.   Their upright, long branches have flattened greenish blue leaves similar to other members of the cupressaceae family.  

Their trunks are reddish brown with a pretty silvery quality. Their shape is similar to Italian Cypress, except much wider at the bottom.  

A mature tree can reach up to 60 feet tall and up to 10 feet around.  Older trees seem to have less foliage at the bottom.

Leyland cypress can take full, hot sun to part shade.  These trees are a hybrid between Chamaecyparis nootkatensisi and Cupressus macracarpa.  They grow best in USDA Zones 6 to 10A or Sunset Zones 38 – 24.  

Best spacing for Leyland cypress plants is about 10 feet apart.  Mature trunks can measure up to two feet in diameter, so plan accordingly.  If you plant them too close together they become more susceptible to root rot.  Deep, infrequent watering will also encourage deep roots.

If you cannot wait until their sides grow together, put something in between them as a screen until they grow in.  If you need a thinner plant that is still a fast grower and tall screen try Italian cypress.