Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
|Full – Partial|
|Moist – Well Drained|
|Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’|
Trees, especially those of the dwarf varieties like the hinoki cypress, provide outstanding diversity to your home garden or when being used in commercial landscape designs. When you don’t have the space for a tree that can grow to impressive heights, the dwarf version is the next best option. Smaller sizes allow you to use them in places that you may have never considered to be an optimal place for a tree. Do you have an empty corner of the garden you simply don’t know what to do with, or maybe an expansive lawn that looks barren and uninteresting? Planting the hinoki can create the visual appeal that makes your space distinctive and inviting.
Chamaecyparis obtuse is native to the islands of Japan and can be found throughout that country’s wild and mountainous interior. The branches of this beautiful dwarf tree produce glossy vase-like cups of scaly foliage that seem to overlap, furl and unfurl around one another to create a swirling fanned appearance. The hinoki has often been compared to undersea coral reefs for its shell-like similarities. Its moderate size, only reaching up to six feet at maturity and four feet in diameter, will allow you to plant multiple trees throughout your outdoor living space and create a natural sanctuary filled with the beautiful and seemingly random shape the hinoki cypress takes on. Hinoki also produces adorably small brown – and sometimes red – decorative cones. This is an evergreen conifer that will stay green through the changing seasons, offering a burst of gorgeous green even on the bleakest of winter days. When planning your landscape design the hinoki is one you will want to be sure to include, as there are not many trees that can surpass its beauty.
Hinoki cypress like to live in locations that have a similar climate to their native habitat in Japan, and are best suited for locations in the USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. This variety can tolerate the extremely cold winters found in Fanny Township, Minnesota, which can fall as low as -30° Fahrenheit. However, because this species is extremely hardy and adaptable to many different types of weather it can do just as well in warmer locations like Georgia or even Texas. This tree absolutely loves moist, fertile soils that are well-drained. Locations that do not drain well or appear to be persistently wet are best avoided, to ensure that the tree is able to reach its optimal growth potential. It is also highly adaptable to many different soil types, from soft and sandy to even harder clay based soils. Hinoki is also tolerant of a variety of pH levels. It has a strong root system which will allow it to settle in to its permanent home with minimal stress to the plant. Hinoki cypresses love to soak up the sun. They thrive in locations that receive most of the day’s sun but won’t be troubled much if there’s some shade. This allows you more choice when deciding the best location to plant your tree and can free up other sites for different types of plants with different needs.
Caring for your hinoki cypress is going to be a relatively simple process that all comes down to your gardening preferences. Because the tree is like an unruly teenager and is quite happy to do its own thing, you can plant it and let it grow to its full potential with very little interference. Occasionally, due to this variety’s unruly branch and leaf growth patterns, the tree may experience bald spots. In order to rectify this you can use twine or soft string to tie new growth across the empty space and train the branch so that it fills in the gap. Even though the hinoki variety does not require any pruning to encourage its random shape, you will still want to remove any dead or dying branches. If you do decide to prune the tree it is best to do it between fall and mid-winter when the tree is in its least active period. In warmer locations, the hinoki will benefit from decorative mulch around its base to help maintain moisture and keep the roots cool. Once the tree has matured topping up the mulch will usually be unnecessary. Aphids really love this variety so you will want to be vigilant in order to prevent an infestation. Also keep an eye out for honey fungus. Early detection of these minor nuisances can prevent long term damage.
We are sure that the hinoki cypress is going to be one of the most beautiful trees you choose for your garden. Requiring little to no maintenance and being virtually problem free means that you will be able to focus on other design elements that can draw attention to and highlight this unique and one of a kind specimen.