Every garden should have some unique and interesting plants in it – the sort of plant that makes visitors go, “Wow, what is THAT!!” These are the plants that get remembered and mark your garden as special. They are also the plants that you will find endlessly captivating, and love to see grow and change from youngsters into extraordinary mature specimens. Many of these plants can grow too large for small gardens, but if you don’t have a lot of space, and want something truly amazing, yet easy to grow, and needing no special care, then the Chirimen Hinoki Cypress is exactly the plant you want.
The Chirimen Hinoki Cypress looks, frankly, like it came from the dinosaur age, or perhaps stepped out of an alien spacecraft. This unique plant forms a twisted, upright cluster of stems, which in 10 years will probably be 18 to 24 inches tall. Older specimens have grown to be 3 feet tall, and in exceptional plants, up to 6 feet tall, after many years. It has a spread of about two-thirds of its height. Perhaps it is best described as a green sea-anemone, with many twisting ‘tentacles’ rising upwards from the ground. Each branch is thickly encrusted with tiny leaves, creating a crinkly texture. The overall coloring is jade green, with younger growth more yellow-green, increasing the richness of the look of this plant. Older plants may grow cones along the branches, which are first green and then brown. These are small, perhaps ¼ inch across, and grow in irregular clusters, adding to the alien look of the plant.
Growing Chirimen Hinoki Cypress Trees
Place the Chirimen Hinoki Cypress in a focal position in your garden, where it can be appreciated. It is ideal for an Asian-style garden or courtyard of any kind, placed by a boulder, or in a prominent position for meditative viewing. Of course, it is also a terrific talking point as part of a collection of evergreens, and it is also just perfect for all kinds of containers and planters. A great idea would be to use an attractive bonsai dish, and hey presto – instant exotic bonsai tree, that needs no fancy trimming and pruning. No matter how and where you grow this plant, it is going to be a huge conversation piece, and you will love owning this very, very special bush.
Planting and Initial Care
The Chirimen Hinoki Cypress will grow almost everywhere, from zone 5 to zone 9. Since its parent plant usually grows in zone 4, this plant should too, but choose a sunny, sheltered spot. In most areas it will grow in sun or light shade, and some afternoon shade is beneficial in the hottest parts of the country. It will grow in any moist, well-drained soil, and grows best in richer soils. Once established it will easily cope with normal dry spells in summer, but attention to watering will give you the best results.
Some fertilizer in spring, and again in early summer will be appreciated, and the annual growth rate will be between 1 and 4 inches a year, depending on conditions in your garden, and your local climate. This plant will normally not suffer from pests or diseases, it needs no special training or pruning to develop its bizarre and wonderful appearance, and it is easy to grow.
History and Origins of the Chirimen Hinoki Cypress
The Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) is a tall forest evergreen that grows in Japan. Because it is not a true cypress tree, it is also often called false cypress. Wild trees can be well over 100 feet tall, and it is an important source of lumber in Japan, where the high-quality wood is used for temples and palaces. Unique and unusual forms have been collected for centuries in Japan, and for over a hundred years in the West, since it was first introduced to our gardens. We know very little about the origin of this particular variety, but it almost certainly was found in Japan, perhaps as a unique branch growing on another dwarf variety of the Hinoki Cypress.
It appeared simultaneously in the 1990s in the West at two nurseries, Oakdene Nursery in England, and Cedar Lodge nursery in Australia. It was introduced into America by Stanley and Sons nursery, Boring, Oregon, at the very beginning of this century. This double introduction might account for why it has two names. The most widely used is ‘Chirimen’, which is the name of a type of crêpe fabric made from silk and used to create kimonos. It is also sometimes called ‘Habari’, which is the Japanese name for a scalpel, perhaps because the branches are long and thin.
Whichever name we use, this fabulous plant is very hard to find, and we are so excited to be able to offer it to you. You can be absolutely sure that we will sell out very soon, so order now while we can still send you this unique and exotic plant.