Chamaecyparis thyoides, known by a number of common names including white cypress, Atlantic cedar or swamp cedar, is a columnar evergreen conifer with a steeple-like crown that typically grows with a straight trunk to 30-50' (less frequently to 90') tall. It is native to freshwater swamps, bogs and wet woods along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida and along the Gulf coast from Florida to Mississippi. It is the State Tree of New Jersey where it may be seen growing in large pure colonies. Scale-like adult leaves and needle-like juvenile leaves are a soft blue green. Yellow pollen-bearing cones are found at the stem ends. Seed bearing cones in clusters emerge purple but mature to brown. Mature bark is reddish brown. Wood has excellent resistance to decay and has been used for a number of purposes including boat construction, shingles and posts. Easily grown in average, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Thrives in moist, fertile, peaty-sandy soils. Tolerates some wet soils. Hardy in zones 4-8.
Growing Instructions for the Atlantic White Cedar
The seeds need to be planted when received or stored in a refrigerator until they are planted. The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. 2. Put the mixture in a ziplock bag. 3. Put the bag in the refrigerator and leave it there for 180 days. 4. Fill a container with a good quality potting compost. 5. Sow the seeds ¼ of an inch deep. 6. Water the soil so that it is moist but not wet. 7. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.