The Tree Center


Sungold Sawara Cypress

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Sungold'

1 Review

Sungold Sawara Cypress

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Sungold'

1 Review


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Sungold Sawara Cypress is a great low-maintenance shrub for any gardener, and will bring vibrant yellow/gold color to the garden. It becomes a lovely mound of pendulous thread-like foliage, a little wider than it is tall, and it always looks neat and trim – needing no attention to stay that way! Not only that, this beauty is hardy to minus 40, so even in the coldest areas it is a great choice. It reaches about 3 feet tall in 10 years, with a spread of 4½ feet, but in time it will grow taller. It makes the perfect foundation plant, or at the top of a wall, along a driveway or beside a door. For those places it is an ideal choice, filling the space while never growing too tall and blocking windows. It also does well in planter boxes and large pots.

  • Neat mounded shape with a broad spread
  • Yellow to gold foliage brings a bold splash of color
  • Winter-hardy to minus 40 with no burning
  • Great no-care-needed plant for busy gardeners
  • Thrives in any sunny spot in any garden

Choose a sunny location for the Sungold Sawara Cypress, to develop the best yellow and gold colors. In light shade it will still grow, but the foliage will be more greenish. Almost any soil will suit it just fine, as long as it is not constantly dry. It needs no clipping, and normally pests and diseases don’t bother it. It will never become bare at the bottom or untidy at the top – instead it will always look great, no matter the weather or the season.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-7
Mature Width 4.5
Mature Height 3
Soil Conditions Average
Sunlight Full Sun
Drought Tolerance Moderate Drought Tolerance
Zones 3-7

The ideal garden plant should be interesting, different, and cheerful – yet also need little care, be adaptable to different soils and conditions, and be problem-free. That can be a tall order, but with the Sungold Sawara Cypress it’s a certainty. This beautiful evergreen forms a compact mound that is perfect for foreground planting in any location, from around the house to out in garden beds, or among rocks and walls too. With its thin, cord-like foliage in showy shades of yellow, gold and bronze, this is a high impact plant with low impact on time and trouble.

Over time this bush will grow slowly, and it will be about 3 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide after 10 years. Eventually it may reach 8 feet in height and over 10 feet wide, but if it ever becomes too large a simple trimming will not only keep it within almost any size-range, and it encourage lots of new growth awash with bright color.

Growing Sungold Sawara Cypress

All that the Sungold Sawara Cypress asks is for its rightful place in the sun, otherwise the color will be more yellow-green, but if that is available it is not fussy about what type of soil it is planted in, although a fertile and moist one will suit it best. Once established, plants will shrug-off normal summer dryness with no problem. This is a plant that will grow best in colder areas. It is hardy to minus 40 degrees and finds the South and California a little too hot. This is fine, because northern gardeners are exactly the people who have more limited choices. So no matter how cold it gets where you garden, the Sungold Sawara Cypress can handle it without difficulty and will thrive on the cooler, damper springs and summers too.

Part of what give this plant its special qualities is the foliage. The branches are long and thread-like, as well as being arching and pendulous. So the profile of this plant is soft and rounded. As it grows the stems arch above each other and spread outwards, so it is always wider than it is round, and always an attractive mounded shape that needs no trimming to keep it looking neat and tidy. The real plus though is the color, which is a great yellow to gold shade over all the plant. The new growth is the most strongly colored and later in the year it will turn more lime-green, especially if not in full sun. This means you see more change through the seasons. adding variety to even the simplest planting. In winter the foliage may turn an interesting bronze color, but unlike other similar plants, it will not burn or brown.

Uses in Your Garden

Because of its slightly pendulous habit, even old plants still have foliage right to the ground, so this a great space-filling plant in any situation. It looks terrific planted at the top of a wall, where it will begin to hang-down a little, and a pair will frame a door or an entrance beautifully. This is also a very useful plant for planter boxes and much less work than annual plants. It will always be colorful in a planter, and it will remain compact for many years, needing nothing besides water and the occasional feeding with liquid evergreen fertilizer.

History and Origins of the Sungold Sawara Cypress

The natural form of this plant, the Sawara Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera), is a large tree native to Japan, where it will grow 100 to 150 feet tall in the forests. The wild tree is rarely cultivated outside of perhaps some parks or very large gardens. The wild tree looks quite a bit like the Lawson cypress, an American native tree found in northern California and Oregon. Many forms of the Sawara cypress have been collected, including a number with thread-like foliage, which is a feature of the Sungold Sawara Cypress. These are sometimes called ‘forma filifera’. This tree originated as a seedling grown by Gordon Bentham, from Victoria, British Columbia around 1965. The seed came from an older golden Sawara cypress called ‘Filifera Aurea’.

Our trees are grown from stem pieces genetically identical to that original plant, and they have all the features of it, including its resistance to winter burn. Because this is such a popular tree, demand is high, so order now and enjoy the Sungold Sawara Cypress in your own garden.

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Sungold Sawara Cypress

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Sungold'

1 Review