In the world of dwarf evergreens, some plants stand out. They combine one or more distinctive features with a special charm that makes them unique. Collectors go to significant efforts to grow these plant to maturity, and love to show them to admiring garden visitors. Koster’s Hinoki Cypress is such a plant. Rarely offered, and always desired, this dwarf conifer has the perfect blend of neatness, character, and beauty to win hearts.
There is just something so perfect about the Koster’s Hinoki Cypress that everyone who sees it wants one. It is slow-growing, adding just 3 or 4 inches a year, so it takes a little patience to see it mature. In 10 years it will be about 2 feet tall, and a little less across, making a charming upright mound of foliage that will delight you.
Perhaps it is the delicate, shell-like sprays of foliage. Perhaps it is their softness and perfection, or it could be the distinctive light olive-green foliage. Whatever it is, this plant has great charm, and always attracts attention. If you have a small garden, or intimate areas in a larger one, then you can do no better than add this little charmer to your collection. It will never outgrow the space you give it, and it fits into those small pockets that can be so difficult to fill with a worthwhile plant.
Appearance of Koster’s Hinoki Cypress
Koster’s Hinoki Cypress grows into a mounded shape, a little taller than it is broad. Like all conifers it never stops growing, so that after reaching 2 feet tall in 10 years, it will continue to grow, so that it could eventually reach 5 feet tall, and almost as much across. Such a venerable plant commands the awe and admiration of both conifer collectors and lovers of natural beauty. The foliage for most of the year is a rich olive-green, neither dull or garish. In spring the new growth, outlining each fan of soft foliage, is brighter green, and in cold weather a reddish or golden sheen may spread across the leaves.
The branches fan outwards in sprays, and layer one above the other as the plant grows upwards. Like most conifers, Hinoki Cypress has two kinds of leaves. Young seedling trees have narrow, needle-like leaves that spread outwards around the stems. These protect young plants from being eaten by deer or rabbits. In older plants the leaves are scale-like, clinging tightly to the branches. Koster’s Hinoki Cypress has adult leaves, so it has a soft feel, just as it has a soft look. The leaves live for many, many years, and the branches are green right to the ground, even on old plants.
Growing Koster’s Hinoki Cypress
Plant this tree among other dwarf evergreens in a garden bed. A collection of these fascinating plants will be a constant source of interest. Use a group of them as an accent. An isolated plant is a perfect addition to an Asian-themed garden design. For small gardens, or if you garden in planters, this is a very valuable addition, since it won’t become too large, and it will live for years and years in a container.
Hardiness and Location
Koster’s Hinoki Cypress is easy to grow anywhere from zone 4 to zone 8. It will thrive in a sunny place or be happy in light shade. It grows well in any perfectly ordinary garden soil, just so long as it is well-drained. When newly planted it should be watered once or twice a week, but once well-established it will tolerate the dryness of a normal summer. It will do best in an enriched soil, with regular watering.
Caring for Koster’s Hinoki Cypress
Use a fertilizer for evergreens in spring, to encourage healthy, sturdy growth. This plant is normally not bothered by pests or diseases, so it needs no spraying or special care at all. Do not trim or clip it, as you can destroy the unique shell-like quality of the foliage sprays. Just let your plant develop naturally into a mature specimen of the highest quality.
History and Origins of Koster’s Hinoki Cypress
Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) is a large forest tree native to Japan. Wild trees can grow to be 100 feet tall, but in gardens we usually grow forms with unusual characteristics, rather than the wild tree. It is not a true Cypress tree, so it is sometimes also called False Cypress.
Koster’s Hinoki Cypress began as a seedling tree. It was spotted in 1915 growing at M. Koster & Son Nursery, in the plant producing region of The Netherlands, around the town of Boskoop. It was selected for its attractive foliage and dwarf habit. It soon became popular and was distributed throughout the nurseries of the world. It has always been regarded as a unique and top-quality evergreen, and we are pleased to have found an excellent source of this beautiful garden plant.