The world of evergreens is a large one, full of beautiful and unique plants. Among the many, a few stand out, as ‘must-haves’, and the Confucius Hinoki Cypress rocketed right to the top of everyone’s list when it first arrived on the scene. Three decades of growing has only confirmed its outstanding nature, and this is a tree that richly deserves a place in every garden across the country. Rarely have we seen a tree that checks so many boxes for garden suitability. Ideal size for large or small gardens – check. Easy to grow in most places – check. Free of pests and problems – check. Strikingly beautiful and eye catching – double check. The list could go on and on, just like this tree will endure in your garden and be a life-long favorite.
The Confucius Hinoki Cypress forms a small, bushy, upright tree that looks a little like the familiar White Cedar (Thuja). While the branches of Thuja grow with little pattern, on the Hinoki Cypress they form attractive fans and whorls, spreading outwards in an eye-catching way. This effect gives tons of character and charm to this tree. In the Confucius Hinoki Cypress there is the added beauty of golden leaves, so that each branch is green deeper inside the tree, and sparkling gold at the ends, giving incredible depth to the form of even a small specimen.
Growing Confucius Hinoki Cypress Trees
A mature Confucius Hinoki Cypress Tree will stand out among everything else in the garden. In winter the tips of the branches take on a bronzy-red tone, adding even more depth to the effect. Then in spring the new growth is vibrant gold, bringing the freshness of a new season to the garden. Unlike many other golden evergreens, the golden color does not fade significantly during the summer, so the tree is always bright and interesting.
The Confucius Hinoki Cypress grows steadily between 6 and 10 inches a year – an excellent rate of growth for dwarf evergreens. In 10 years it will be perhaps 5 feet tall, and 2 feet wide, and you can expect a mature tree to reach about 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Make sure you give it enough room to mature. Put annual flowers, or some perennial flowers, around it when it is smaller, rather than shrubs, so that you can easily remove them as it grows. The whorl effect of the foliage becomes more pronounced with each passing year.
Planting and Initial Care
Plant your Confucius Hinoki Cypress in a sunny or partially-shaded location in your garden. In hotter areas a little afternoon shade will be beneficial, keeping the golden leaves unblemished. It will grow best in more fertile, damper soil, so add plenty of rich organic material to the planting site, especially if your soil is sandy. Place a rich mulch over the root area in spring, keeping it free of the trunk and foliage. Water well each week during the first growing season, and after that during episodes of dryness.
In warmer regions remember to water during dry winter periods too. Otherwise you need to do nothing to your tree, as it is free of any pests, diseases or other problems. Do not trim it with shears, as this will destroy the unique whorled pattern of the foliage. Instead, remember to allow enough space for it to mature, and then you can enjoy the graceful natural beauty of this remarkable tree. If you do need to remove some parts, cut back neatly to a side shoot.
History and Origins of the Confucius Hinoki Cypress Tree
The Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) grows as a wild tree in Japan. It is a large forest evergreen, growing over 100 feet tall. The name ‘Hinoki’ means ‘fire’, referring to the reddish color seen on the tips of the foliage in winter. The tree is used as high-quality lumber for construction of temples and palaces. It is not a true Cypress tree, so it is sometimes also called the False Cypress tree.
This tree is rarely grown in its natural form outside Japan. Instead, many varieties have been discovered, and these are the forms usually grown. The variety ‘Confucius’ was found as a seedling tree, growing at the Duncan & Davies Nursery, in New Plymouth, on the north island of New Zealand. This is New Zealand’s oldest nursery, dating back to the 1890’s, with a rich heritage of special plants. ‘Confucius’ was found in the early 1980’s. It has been distributed in North America by the famous Iseli Nursery, in Oregon, renowned for its own developments, and for introducing the best of the world’s evergreens to American gardeners.
Buying Confucius Hinoki Cypress Trees
With such a complex history, and unique character, this tree must be carefully produced from stem pieces from plants whose identify has been carefully verified. This is exactly how our plants are produced. Cheaper plants will not be this lovely form, but some inferior variety, and cheap seedling plants grow large and tree-like. Avoid disappointment by choosing only the real thing – it’s our guarantee. This tree is relatively new, and still only available from a few growers. We are privileged to have access to some top-quality plants, but only in limited numbers. We know that this sought-after tree will sell out rapidly, so don’t hesitate, and order now, as we know it will be gone by the time you return to our site.